The harvest is on and I cannot pick the vegetables fast enough to keep up. Although I try to stagger my planting times, every year it seems that everything ripens at once. At the moment, we have wax beans, green beans, cucumbers, potatoes, carrots, zucchini and onions ready for harvesting and eating.
We have been eating several servings of vegetables at each meal and I keep trying to come up with different ways to slice, dice, chop, spice and serve them to the family. My kids are pretty picky eaters, however, and their contributions towards vegetable consumption is limited. Nonetheless, I just keep reminding them to, “Eat your vegetables!”
As any of you that grow your own food already know, produce picked fresh out of the garden and prepared the same day bears little resemblance to store-bought food. It really is quite unbelievable.
Consider potatoes, for instance. I have always rejected suggestions of growing potatoes because they are so inexpensive in the store and why would I bother? We went ahead anyhow and planted them for the first time this year. Over the last week or so we have started harvesting some to eat. They are tender, moist, and flavorful! Butter is no longer a necessary topping (but it is still really, really good). We never imagined home-grown potatoes could be so much better than those purchased in the store.
And then there are the carrots. I planted scarlet nantes and rainbow mix carrots this year and their sweet, mild flavor far exceeds the woody and sometimes bitter carrots we usually purchase.
So, we will continue to enjoy these fresh flavors from the garden as long as possible. I will do my best to harvest, prepare and preserve our home-grown vegetables during our short growing season here in Minnesota. Then, in the dead of winter, when I am at the grocery store buying produce, I will try to ignore my memories of these summer flavors and console myself with thoughts of next year’s garden bounty.