Every year, we make the trek to Greenbluff, Washington, or to U-Pick farms in the Spokane Valley, to load up on fresh fruits and vegetables. Each time, I’m inspired by the farmers that put their heart and sweat into their crops, who take such obvious pride in what they grow. I’m also overwhelmed at the variety and perhaps get too excited reading the signs along the road.
“Oooh, this one’s got peaches, corn, and watermelon!” I say as if I’ve never before seen vegetables, like corn is some sort of exotic creature.
“This one’s got scapes and Azomite…What the hell is a scape? And what is Azomite?”
So, of course, we have to visit the farm to find out. A scape, I found, is a garlic sprout. I’ve actually grown them unintentionally when I’ve left garlic bulbs in my fridge a few months too long. Azomite is a mineral powder used to grow nutrient dense foods. It’s like potting soil on steroids – all natural, organic steroids.
The object for this particular trip was peaches. I’m not sure if there is anything that transports me to my happy place faster than a tree-ripened peach. One bite and a burst of juice drips down my hand and my chin, and I don’t even care that I look like an escapee from the nearest mental health facility. I jumped at the chance to go U-picking for peaches.
I’ve been known to go overboard on my trips to the U-pick farms. Yes, it’s true, my eyes have always been bigger than my stomach, and my good intentions have always outweighed my ability to polish off my fresh finds before it’s time to pick again the following summer. In fact, I may still have peaches in my freezer from last year (shhhh). This year, though, I showed restraint. Just the peaches would be coming home with me, plus three cucumbers and three summer squash. I spent the rest of the time wandering the tempting rows of organic beets, kohlrabi, Swiss chard, squash, beans, and every other vegetable you can imagine. Classical music played softly in the background as I explored the farm. Health and wellness were such prevalent themes that this sign, posted at the front of the Strawberry Hill farm, seemed almost unnecessary:
In our prepackaged and processed food culture where real, just-picked-fresh food isn’t available to so many people, I realize what a privilege it is to have this abundance so close to home. Personal gardens, urban community gardens like P-Patches, and family farms are vitally important not only for the food they supply, but for the spiritual nourishment they provide as people work with the planet for sustenance. I hope these family-owned farms never get squeezed out by housing developments, industrial parks, or agricultural juggernauts, that they remain so future generations can learn what real food is and where it comes from.
Do you grow a garden, contribute to a P-Patch, or have access to nearby U-Pick farms? If so, great! If not, you should give it a try. And, if you end up doing as I did and buying 20 pounds of peaches, please let me know just what on earth you did with them all.