I live in hickville. Not total hickville, but close enough. It has its perks. Low crime, good schools, and neighborhoods with gingerbread-style houses made for storybooks. And stunning scenery too. Actually, our lake makes my town a big tourist area in the summer. That, and also the rich agriculture of the region. Summertime brings with it a bounty of rolling green fields, soft grassy pastures and homegrown fruits and veggies, juicy and ripe, in every color of the rainbow. You can pick a tomato and eat it whole like an apple. You bite an ear of corn and it tastes like sweet heaven.
I relish this farmer’s paradise, the way it tells me every June, Summer’s here, slow down already. I try to instill this appreciation into the kids by bringing them along to our weekly farmers’ market or a country roadside fruit stand, by stopping at a U-pick berry field with promises of strawberry shortcake that night, by tending a little garden of our own and watching it come to life.
When they know where their food is coming from and have a hand in bringing it to the table, it suddenly becomes much more attractive to them. Who knew they’d be begging for more cherry tomatoes and raving about yellow squash? Not to mention the at-peak fruits…Melons, peaches and raspberries dripping with natural sugar. With this stuff in the house, thoughts of candy perish.
The way I see it, supporting locally-grown food is a win-win situation. Healthy? Check. Educational? Check. Good for the wallet? Check. Environmentally friendly? Check. I make a day of picking and storing berries, and I’m not only stocking my freezer, but also my kids’ bellies…with delicious goodness borrowed directly from nature. And, I’m filling their childhoods with happy memories of summer.