Monday, January 23, 2012

Bounty Hunting

 We're not sure if our carrots will be very long, but there are several bunches of them—
so even if they're shorties, we'll be able to enjoy them for multiple meals. 

Two weeks ago, Mr. Wonderful and I watched a show on Food Network called The Big Waste, wherein chefs Bobby Flay, Michael Symon, Anne Burrell and Alex Guarnaschelli were tasked with creating gourmet meals out of food that was on its way to the trash. We had no idea just how much food gets thrown out in this country simply because we as Americans have come to expect every morsel of produce, meat, bread and dairy to be 100% perfect and unblemished when we buy it. I think the statistic in the film was somewhere around 40% of food produced on our soil.

Our broccoli is blooming like a superstar. In addition to the crowns, there are little individual
babies popping up along a lot of the places where stalk meets leaf.  

As we watched the chefs visit markets and pick-your-own-food farms, we were amazed at how the tiniest of flaws could send a completely edible piece of food to the garbage. When you grow your own food, that does not happen. There's a totally different mindset when you go into your garden vs. when you enter a grocery store. In the garden, you want to make the most of every possible thing you've grown. You're proud of what you've cultivated. You want to reap your own bounty and you're not going to let bugs or blemishes stop you! I just picked a bunch of spinach this weekend that was riddled with holes from earwigs. It's going to taste exactly the same and maybe on some karmic level, it's good I let someone else enjoy my food before I got to it.

 Last year's strawberries struggled a bit against animals and bugs, but we're hoping to enjoy
a nice crop of them this year.

I grew up in a family of DIYers, so it's in my blood to want to try to do stuff on my own and decrease my dependency on other people and corporate America. My parents have always grown all sorts of goodies in their backyard. My mom made my prom dress and almost tackled my wedding dress. And I don't know if my dad has ever set foot in a car wash. When I was 16, he taught me how to give my Ford Escort a professional scrub in the comfort of our own driveway. Mr. W (who made another batch of his own bread this weekend) is totally wired the same way as us Hetheringtons. I think I shall keep him.

 Oh spindly lettuce, why do you break my heart? We're not sure why
the lettuce doesn't want to grow this year. We've been picking it anyway,
as its paper-thin leaves are still packed with vitamins.

Mr. W's and my desire to do out best to become urban farmers and homesteaders may have been part of what pushed me to add another movie Forks Over Knives to our Netflix queue. It looks at nutrition in this country and around the world and draws the conclusion that we would all be a lot healthier if we tended toward the vegan diet.

Now, we're not planning to give up our beloved proscuitto, short ribs, cambezola, coffee ice cream or any of the other meats, cheeses and non-vegan delicacies we regularly eat. But we're hoping we can be more mindful in our food consumption, trying harder to buy locally-sourced items and naturally fed, humanely treated animal products, plus plan better so we don't throw away as many leftovers and uneaten food.

We also agree that we want to to increase the amount of vegetables we consume. And we're pretty darn happy we can start that end of things right in our own backyard.

The rogue tomato plant continues to be my favorite thing in our backyard.
The fact that it's producing in the middle of winter is something
of a miracle.


  1. I think it's harder to overlook blemishes in the store, because we question where they came from. Was it some little bug? Or was the whole bundle dropped on the freeway? And so on? When we see blemishes in the store, it's easier to set them to the side because we fear the reasons why and because there's usually something better sitting right next to it!

    I think it's great the two of you are trying to be more conscientious about your intake of food and where it comes from. The more of us who strive to be like you, the more we can call into question our food sources and whether it's helping or hurting its consumers!

  2. Now if we could only find a place to keep the mini cow and sheep so we can make our own cheese.

  3. Nilsa - That's a really good point. We also don't know what other shoppers are doing to stuff before we get to it - or wear their hands have been. All the more reason to grow our own!

    Mr. W - Why do you have to be so dreamy all the time with your sexy talk of livestock and dairy products?

  4. Uh...and by "wear" on my reply to Nilsa, I meant "where."

  5. I can't wait to hear that you've switched to raw milk!

  6. Hunner - We're lactose intolerant when it comes to straight milk, so we'll be sticking with soy for now!

  7. I look forward to when I can grow more of my own food. I'd be much more willing to get over a bug if it was a backyard bug than a bug from who knows where!

  8. Alright now you two are one step closer to our diet! Let's go to dinner.

  9. if you get a mini cow that makes soy milk and sheep, I'm moving in!

  10. I saw both "The Big Waste" and "Forks over Knives"... I'm right there with you! Except I have a distinct knack for killing any green living things in my purview.


Well, whatdya think?