Backyard Vegetable Garden: Winter Harvest

Some of my most distinct summer memories are centered on our backyard vegetable garden. My two sisters and I would spend most mornings out there (under duress) yanking out weeds and mulching around the plants and grumbling about how early it was and how much we hated weeding. In July and August, however, when the corn and strawberries and tomatoes were ripe, when the cucumber and melons were perfect, and the pumpkins were starting to turn orange…well, then it wasn’t nearly so bad. The harvest part was a mixed bag. Yay for delicious food from the backyard! Boo for hours and hours juicing and smooshing tomatoes then packing them in mason jars to can.

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This Arizona move has been the first time I’ve had a little place for a vegetable garden, really, anything more than a pot on the shared porch or kitchen windowsill, actually. And I sure pleaded for somewhere to try my hand at a few vegetables. Mr. Blue Eyes came through with some beautiful garden boxes in the backyard; we planted last March with some delicious success, and I re-planted for a “winter” season this fall. The cooler weather in November and December has really done wonders for my little plants (and also for my heat-hating soul). In the last few weeks I have gone into the backyard a few times a week for a double handful of tomatoes, or a couple one-gallon ziploc bags of lettuce, and to check on my cauliflower and snip some herbs for dinner. To be 100% honest, these little moments in the dirt have been, without question, the only real happiness I’ve felt from being outside since my move to the Valley of the Surface of the Sun.

A little recap of my gardening adventures the last few months:

Zucchini, yellow squash, cozelle: I’m not sure what the problem was, exactly, but these usually prolific producers would flower and start tiny baby squashes, then when they’d get about finger-length, they’d stop growing and wither and die. Then blossom again and repeat the whole process. I need to do some research into this, because, uh, who can’t make zucchini grow AT ALL!? Don’t worry, I have some successes to make up for it.

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Carrots: I planted these kind of on a whim, grabbing the seed packet as I waited at the checkout counter. I could have planted about five more rows and been completely thrilled with the outcome. These grew well, the leafy tops were so pretty, and the TASTE!? Lawsy. Real carrots are sweet with a little zesty spice to them. They are best eaten right after they are picked (I haven’t perfected the storing technique to keep them crisp). I truly don’t think I can ever go back to those bags of baby carrots, all whittled and slimy and the size of your thumb…they just…no. Real carrots 4evah!

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Tomatoes: I didn’t actually plant tomatoes, but I had three volunteer plants from some dropped seeds this summer. They have truly been going crazy, I pick a double (or triple!) handful of tomatoes every few days and Mr. Blue Eyes and I pop them like candy, they are so delicious!

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Let’s Talk About Lettuce: I was a little hesitant to plant a bunch of lettuce, but it has been so amazing to have in the backyard! I planted about a dozen spinach plants, and another dozen “variety” pack of 6 different types of lettuce, and one curly kale plant. From those plants I get two or three one-gallon ziploc bags PACKED with leaves every week. I take lettuce to neighbors and friends, I add spinach and kale to everything, I have to try and figure out how to get more salad in my diet. It has been glorious! I will definitely repeat this plan for next year, and I’m going to add some chard as well. Eeep!

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Green Beans: I love fresh green beans for dinner, I steam them a few minutes and then top with butter and salt. I think I have had these for dinner at least once a week for…months. So it would only make sense to try and grow some in the backyard, right!? Uh, well, turns out, it takes a LOT of space to grow enough green beans for dinner. I was able to get enough from all my plants for about one meal with a (small) side of green beans. I think next time I’ll use the space for something that produces more.

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Cauliflower: Mr. Blue Eyes and I eat a lot of cauliflower, we use it as a rice substitute once or twice a week, and between the two of us can eat a whole head in one sitting. I steam it, roast it, boil it, rice it, dice it…the works. So when I saw a pallet of cauliflower starts at the nursery last fall I immediately popped them in my cart. The leaves are almost as long as my arm, and sure enough, one perfectly round cauliflower is at the center of each plant. I picked my first one this week and it was a delicious roasted side! I’ve got seven more than are still growing (I want them about 10″ across before I use them) and I cannot wait to spend the next few weeks using cauliflower from the backyard! (CAULIFLOWER!? WHO KNEW!?) I think I’ll try broccoli next year as well!

A few weeks ago I planted a bunch of peppers, some chard, and brussels sprouts, and in another few weeks it will be time to do my “summer” planting. I am still harvesting tomatoes and lettuce and green onions regularly, and waiting for the cauliflower. The peas were planted too early (meaning, it was too hot, not it was too cold, such a weird shift for me) and next year I’ll try them a little later to see if they’ll grow better. I’ve been keeping notes on my little plants and am so excited to try to get another round of vegetables out of my backyard! One point in the Pro Arizona column: multiple seasons for vegetables. (Big, Fat “WTF!” in the Negative column is that the summer season is 9 months of triple-digit temperatures. Nope, not exaggerating.)


Backyard Vegetable Garden: Round Two

Before the full heat of the Arizona summer hit, Blue Eyes and I did a lot of work in our backyard: he built me some vegetable garden boxes, and we poured a patio, and planted trees and tomatoes and peppers and squash, and Blue Eyes filled in the last patch of gravely dirt with delicious grass. Honestly, it’s been so hot for so long that we haven’t used the backyard much, but now that we are finally (crossing fingers) past the days of triple-digit temperatures, it’s time to truly enjoy the backyard that we have built.

And, it’s also time to plant Round Two of our vegetable garden. The hellacious heat of the summer withers most vegetation by July, but you can replant in late August and early September for a November bumper crop, and that is exactly what I did. Several weeks ago I carefully tucked a fresh batch of seeds and plants into the soil and within a few days they started popping up with sprouts and new leaves. (I also planted a few flowers among the veggies because, well, because I can. And I like flowers. Basically.)

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My plants have been in the ground for almost 3 weeks now and they are growing like crazy! Meanwhile, I’m still harvesting butternut squash and eggplant that I planted back in March. My backyard is like my own little farmer’s market right now, and I love it more than I can truly say. I planted zucchini and yellow squash and cucumbers and cozelle, a stripey squash native to the Southwest.

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Another box is full of kale and cauliflower and carrots and green beans (the green onions didn’t make it…sad face). I think that little rebel plant on the right is a sunflower that never germinated in the spring…I hope that is the case!

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I filled up an entire box with a new batch of herbs, and the few that survived the heat have been putting out new leaves like crazy. I’m glad I didn’t pull up the basil sticks, they are lush and green again with new little starts filling in some of the dirt patches.

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I just planted a whole box of spinach and beets and peas and lemon cucumbers, and I can’t wait to see them poke their little green heads out of the ground.

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People keep telling me that “Arizona actually has really cold winters…” but I just do not believe it. I was here last year, and I ran my air conditioner every. single. day. But, if I can eat fresh-from-the-garden spinach and snap peas thru January I will, perhaps, not complain quite so much about the weather.

I’m already making plans for the spring, I want way more tomatoes, several tomatillos, some jicama, and another forest of peppers. This vegetable garden may just keep me sane thru my years here in Arizona.


Arizona Summer vs My First Vegetable Garden

This is my first experience with an Arizona summer, and while I am halfway though it, I am sooo over the heat. I have managed to make a solid dent on my Summer Bucket List, which has been good. I could complain about the heat forever, but I am trying really hard to complain about focus on other things.

So far my biggest complaint obstacle thru the insufferable Arizona summer is the cabin fever. My long history of skin issues (cancer, cancer, cancer) means I can’t just slap on the sunscreen and hop in the pool all afternoon to beat the heat. I do go to the gym several times a week just to get my body moving a little without having ankle-to-wrist-plus-hat coverage, and that has helped quite a bit to combat the feeling of being trapped in an (air conditioned! yay!) cage.

Mr. Blue Eyes built me some fantastic garden boxes in our backyard revamp, and I filled them up with seeds and tiny vegetable plants and hoped they’d make it. It’s been a bit of a learning curve: my yellow squash and zucchini have died; a crazy-even-for-here heat wave withered my peppers and herbs (123* F?!? ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!); the birds have had a heyday with the tomatoes, pecking them to pieces. BUT! we rigged up some shade to protect most of our little plants and I found some bird-repellant holographic tape to scare the birds away.


In the last few weeks the butternut squash and watermelon bed has gone crazy with trailing vines all over the place and about a dozen squash and four watermelons all growing nicely under those broad leaves. In the last two days I’ve picked FIVE tomatoes and the one remaining bell pepper, and there are some darling baby eggplants that will probably be ready to pick next week.


I am ridiculously happy about my little plants, it’s been fun to watch them grow (and frustrating to watch them wither and die) and has given me something to look forward to, as stupid or silly as that sounds. I have been doing some research, and apparently you can replant several different things in mid-August and get a second harvest in October or November, and lettuce and spinach and peas do really well over the “winter” months, so I’ll be trying that, for sure. We always had a very big vegetable garden while I was growing up, and I know how to keep veggies alive…but the climate here is VERY different from my Rocky Mountain hometown. Hopefully I’ll have a little more success moving forward!


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At home with Harriet: the backyard before & after

When Blue Eyes and I moved into this house the yard was kind of a disaster. Whoever lived here prior to us moving in was, well, generally pretty disgusting. The house had been empty for over a year, and whoever flipped it didn’t do a super thorough job of getting rid of the grossness. In the yard, they decided to just put gravel in most places, with one very VERY sad palm tree in the front yard, and a couple of new palmy-frondy plants in the back. The real estate listing photos mostly showed a newly cleaned and possibly resurfaced pool, the rest was literally just crushed rock. We have a lot of property, but with this kind of, um, “xeriscaping” it was completely unusable.

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Prior to tackling the backyard (the front yard will be next year…or the year after) I did a lot of research on different types of trees and plants that do well in the blistering desert heat, and how to keep flowers and vegetables alive through the endless summer. I also decided to look at Google Earth and see if there was any evidence of what the previous family had as far as landscaping.

Um….that was a mistake. Our yard was, without question, the grossest one in the neighborhood. The gravel that I really dislike is a step up from the scruffy dirt and weeds and the drained, yellow-puddle-left-in-the-bottom swimming pool.

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Yep. The worst in the neighborhood. There are a couple of enormous shade trees in this image that have all been cut down for reasons I cannot imagine. WHY!? STOP GETTING RID OF SHADE TREES! THIS IS THE VALLEY OF THE SURFACE OF THE SUN! SHADE = NECESSARY!!!

Blue Eyes and I definitely had our work cut out for us. We went back and forth on the backyard. He wanted low maintenance, I desperately wanted a patch of grass. Without it, I knew I would never go outside. We compromised with a small patch of grass, several raised boxes for vegetables and what-not, a new patio, and a handful of trees.

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The trees went in first, a Willow Acacia on the west side to eventually shade my office window, a lime tree, pomegranate tree, and grapefruit tree. I am ridiculously excited to see tiny baby limes and grapefruits on those citrus trees! We will have a very, very small harvest this winter, like, maybe three or four grapefruits and about a dozen limes, but I am thrilled about their future! Ditto the pomegranate, which had gorgeous flowers but lost it’s fruit due to moving-stress.

Arizona Backyard Gardener_Grapefruit_feistyharriet_May 2016Baby grapefruits

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Tiny baby limes!

Blue Eyes spent several weekends building me a solid set of four raised garden boxes. I filled them up with seeds and veggie starts and am anxiously awaiting the day the green tomatoes are ripe and the peppers and zucchini are ready to be picked. The squash and watermelons won’t be ready until later in the summer (that is, if they don’t roast to death first). I have been picking basil, rosemary, and oregano leaves every few days to add to my kitchen experiments. Those tiny little veggies bring me a ridiculous level of happiness. We planted mid-March, but next year I think I’ll start them as seeds inside about Christmas time, there isn’t really a frost here, so I could probably plant in February and be juuuust fine. (Garden tomatoes in early May? YES PLEASE!)

Arizona Backyard After 3_feistyharriet_May 2016The tomato patch!

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A few weeks ago we had a break in the already blistering summer heat, and with weekend temps in the 70’s and low 80’s we decided to pour the patio. Now, Blue Eyes is a civil engineer and things like “pour a concrete patio” don’t scare him. I was super nervous. It was just going to be the two of us, and the patio is….not small. As he was doing the math and adding up the number of bags of cement mix we’d need…I started to genuinely question if we shouldn’t just hire it out. Blue Eyes made a few calls, our large gate to the backyard was just a few feet too narrow to get the smallest cement mixer truck through. So, we were back to the DIY route.

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We rented the largest cement mixer Home Depot has (you need a pick-up truck to pull it) and ordered four pallets of cement mix: 60 pound bags, 56 bags per pallet =  THIRTEEN THOUSAND POUNDS OF DRY CEMENT MIX! And then some. Hoooooo boy. We dug up the gravel, and the weird brick stripe in the center of the back yard, and pulled the weeds and leveled the ground as much as we could. Blue Eyes built the frame we’d use to keep the wet cement contained, and we set our alarms for ridiculously early the next morning.

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To make a batch of cement you dump two 5-gallon buckets of water into the mixer, and 13 bags of cement mix. A few minutes later it’s ready to go, you dump that mix into the wheelbarrow and trundle it over to the soon-to-be-patio. Dump, spread, smooth, repeat. And repeat. And repeat. Each batch made about three heavy wheelbarrow’s full of cement, and we made batches all damn day. ALL damn day.

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Dump, spread, smooth, repeat.

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We finished up about 3:00 in the afternoon, both soaked with sweat and concrete water, flecks of cement in our hair and embedded in our skin. Truly, Blue Eyes took the brunt of the damage, I can lift a 60 pound bag, but I can’t lift it to my shoulder and dump it into a spinning cement mixer. I tried, bless me, I tried, but I nearly fell in to the mixer, or got my arms caught in the paddles, and it just…no. I hoisted and opened and filled and mixed, but Blue Eyes is the one who, literally, did most of the heavy lifting.

Our patio is not perfect, we are not professional patio pourers, but it is the exact shape I wanted, it will be lovely with big pots of flowers and some pool chairs and maybe a black and white stripey umbrella for a little more shade. I have plans for twinkly bistro lights and, after the heat of the summer, maybe one of those little fire pits and a couple of chairs.

That same week a load of sod was delivered for the rest of the backyard. Blue Eyes finished up the sprinklers and laid all the grass himself. We rigged up some shade cloth to shield the south-west facing garden beds from the Arizona sun, and my little vegetables are still going strong. (We still need to finish off those boxes, they’ll get a layer of mortar on the front so you don’t see the cinderblock seams, and finished off with flat wood planks along the top.)

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We have a real backyard! One that we can use for at least most of the year. Heavy on using the pool side during the summer/daylight hours, and the rest during the not-as-sweltering part of the year (so, November-January). I will be slowly adding more plants and pots and things, but for now? I’m going to kick back with a very cold drink and enjoy it.

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Mr. Blue Eyes deserves a standing ovation and a pony ride for all his hard work. I tend to dream up mostly doable things, and he usually figures out how to make it happen. That man is a dream boat, I tell you.

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Confessions of a Bookaholic: Eating Locally

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Over the last couple of months I have become more and more interested in eating locally, meaning, eating fruits and vegetables that have been raised and farmed responsibly and sustainably close to my home. There are a lot of people that put a lot of rules on what all of those things mean, but for me, it’s not a hard and fast dictum, but more a general premise to shop and eat by (by which to shop and eat?). Mr. Blue Eyes and I eat a lot of vegetables in the first place, but other than some browsing and occasional purchasing at the summer farmer’s market in Salt Lake, I’ve never made much of an effort to eat locally grown vegetables or organic vegetables. I was pretty satisfied with, you know, eating vegetables.

However, living in a valley that receives 300+ days of sunshine every year and only the occasional hard frost, I feel like I have a lot more flexibility and more options on my fruit and veggie shopping. I did some research, asked friends, and read a lot, and finally found a CSA that I hope will work out. My first delivery is this week and while the grass-fed meats were more expensive than my local grocery, the veggies are really about the same price. (Yes, I’ve been doing the math, keeping receipts and a spreadsheet and everything.)

I read a handful of books about eating locally, my favorite, Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food, by Megan Kimble (review below) made the idea of eating locally and unprocessed foods seem relatively easy. There are farms that grow edible foods in enough variety to create a menu every week right here in the Phoenix valley. She talks a lot about moving to unprocessed foods, and, by default, that often means local because processing is required for transportation of most things. She isn’t a zillionaire, she doesn’t have an inherited family farm, she just, you know, did a ton of research and made a few lifestyle changes. Lucky for me, her research is local to me too; she lives in Tucson, just 90 minutes south of me.

I also read Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver, and while the idea of my moving to Appalachia (where it’s already GREEN without pumping the Colorado River dry) and living on a farm is certainly tempting, it’s not going to happen. (Also? Kingsolver LEFT Tucson for Appalachia…Tucson must be a hoppin’ place!) I love that she and her family were able to eat primarily food from their own yard or the backyard of neighbors and the farms of vendors at their local farmer’s markets. I am kind of obsessed with this idea, actually. The radical notion of eating whole foods, not genetically modified foods, not ultra processed foods, but ones that were picked a day or two ago and can be purchased at a manageable price. Sure, the farm idea is nice too, but it also comes with a CRAP TON of effort.

Now, I realize that not everyone lives in a place that sustains year-round farming, I get that. I’m not advocating for militantly standing by a set of rules written by someone in completely different geographic and agricultural circumstances than you are. But, the idea of joining a CSA, or frequenting the farmer’s market on the regular is something I can get behind.

Author Wendell Berry spells out a list at the end of his book of ways one can be a more responsible eater/food consumer. The first four components are: 1) Participate in food production, grow herbs in your window or a bunch of veggies in the backyard, appreciate the time and effort it takes to cultivate edible foodstuffs; 2) Prepare your own food, instead of relying on pre-packaged meals; 3) Learn the origins of the food you eat, buy food produced closest to your home; 4) Deal directly with a local farmer whenever possible, I think this means by farmer’s market shopping, or even being familiar with the farmer who distributes your CSA portions. That is advice I can totally get behind. Gold star, Wendell Berry.

In addition to the books reviewed below, here are a few additional recommendations if you’d like to whet your appetite on local eating, unprocessed eating, or–in general–better eating (I’m sorry! It was a horrible pun! But necessary because when will I have that chance again!?:

I have a GoodReads shelf for books about food, the food industry, and cookbooks too.

A NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: Following are short book reviews, the first two are books I loved (also mentioned above), the next three books are interesting–okay, two are interesting, one involved a lot of eye-rolling–but not super great. So if you want to stop reading now I totally get it. But! Before you go, I’d love to hear about any backyard vegetable garden attempts! Or CSA successes! Or farm-to-table eating! And if you’ve got nothing, please admire the BABY BELL PEPPERS and BABY LIMES that are currently growing in my backyard! Meeep!

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Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food, by Megan Kimble (4 stars). I literally could not put this book down and finished it in under 24 hours. The whole premise is that Megan decides to spend a year not eating processed foods, or, mostly not eating processed foods, and/or eating mostly not processed foods.* Her rules are a little loosey-goosey at first, although as she learns more about food processing–from vegetables to milk to meat–she firms them up quite nicely. I love that she lives in the arid Southwest, I feel like I can totally relate and even try some of her tips. I also love that she does not make a gazillion dollars, she makes $18,000 per year as a single woman and grad student living on her own. Yes, she eats a lot of fairly plain food, but her point is that even with a small income we can make better choices about what we eat and where it comes from.  I think it fitting that somewhere in-between starting and finishing this book I actually planted seeds in my new vegetable garden (photos of said garden’s progress in this post), and selected a CSA to tide me over until my little garden starts producing tomatoes and zucchini, squashes and peppers. Quite convenient that many of the vendors she interviewed and facilities she toured are local to me, so I cherry-picked off her research much more than I normally would be able to on a book about better eating choices.

As for the memoir part, I’ve read reviews complaining that Megan is just some privileged white girl who hasn’t had enough experience with hunger or lack of choices to write a worthwhile memoir about it. Well, frankly, I am also a privileged white girl who has very, very rarely gone to bed hungry, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to learn to make better, more informed choices about what I put into my body, and to do it without spending a gazillion dollars.

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Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, by Barbara Kingsolver (4 stars). There are so many things I loved about this book! Basic idea: Kingsolver and her family leave Tuscon for a large farm in Appalachia and decide to spend a year eating only what they can grow on their own land, or purchase from local farmer’s markets/farming neighbors. Now, the first obvious problem is that we all don’t and can’t have 20 acres of fertile ground in a rain-rich area of the country. However, that doesn’t mean that we can’t do better about making a shift in our buying choices to buy more local produce, dairy, and meat. Kingsolver’s husband and daughter both offer essays throughout the book on politics and recipes, respectively, and I ignored the political ones and skimmed the recipe ones, frankly, neither have near the skill at writing that Kingsolver does. I really did love so much of this, despite knowing that I will not be able to replicate her project. I loved heard more about heritage seeds and the many many varieties of vegetables and fruits that are no longer in commercial production/are only available through seed saving farmers. I also signed up for a heritage seed catalog and am already planning what I’ll do with my garden boxes for the fall/winter (a legit growing season here in Arizona).

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The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World, by Michael Pollan (3 stars). I wanted to love this book more than I did, I mean, it starts out quoting Darwin for heaven’s sake, it is RIGHT UP MY ALLEY. And, to be fair, I did appreciate the research and history Pollan discusses about the apple, the tulip, and the potato.  However, Pollan LOVES apples and I’m only kind of “meh” about them, and Pollan doesn’t seem to really care that much about tulips and I LOVE them (my wedding bouquet was tulips and tulips only). So, Pollan and I kind of got off on the wrong foot to start with, he anthropomorphizes both to a spectacular degree but in the opposite way that I would, so…yeah. I do appreciate the discussion in the potato section about genetically modified foods and the difference between Big Agra and small organic farming. One of his four sections is about cannabis, and while he did bring up some interesting bits that are relevant now with all the political discussion about making marijuana legal in so many states, the history and benefits of cannabis is not really my jam.

Bringing it to the Table, by Wendell Berry (3 stars). I’m not sure what I was expecting, but not exactly the contents of this book. The first 100 pages are essays written by Wendell Berry over the course of 30+ years that focus on Farming and agriculture and the ills of agribusiness (and, though not specifically mentioned, the enormous factory farms and the way companies such as Monsanto and Cargill have drastically altered farming in this country). This section was a rough go and was hard to enjoy and relate to, in many ways it read more like an economics textbook. The next 80 pages are essays about individual farmers, and this section was–by far–my favorite. I loved reading stories about people who continue to farm small family farms and continue to produce in healthy, responsible ways and make a living at it. I particularly loved stories about the Amish and their hyper-responsible farming traditions. The last 50 pages are about food, but Berry only has one published essay about food, so the rest are excerpts from some of his fiction books that deal directly with farm-to-table eating, typically by a farm family and assorted guests. I love reading about farming, farm-to-table, sustainable and responsible agriculture, shopping local and CSA stuff, all that. But I feel like–especially in his Farming section–I bit off more than I was interested to truly chew. (MORE BAD PUNS!)

Coming Home to Eat, by Gary Paul Nabhan (2 stars, maybe only 1). I love the idea of eating local (obvs, and if you’re still reading this post, gold star to you), however Gary Paul Nabhan takes his year of local-eating to an extreme that I just couldn’t identify with. He lives in Arizona (Yay! Like me! Maybe I can get some tips!) and decides that “local” means “native to 100 miles around my home.” Not cultivated, but NATIVE. Ok, so, this means he spends his year eating cactus flowers and weedy greens he picks from public lands and–literally–roadkill. He does also grow a garden full of plants that are native to the southwest, and he raises a couple of turkeys, and I think that overall his version of local is a cool idea in theory, but I also think that I would starve if I had to subsist on rattlesnake road kill or hunted neighborhood quail and salads made from weeds and flower petals. It’s just…it’s not sustainable. For one guy, sure. But not for more than that. Nabhan relies heavily on techniques and methods he learns from Native Americans on reservations around Tucson (MORE Tucsonites!), and I completely respect their ways, but again, it is not sustainable for more than a small group. There are REASONS the southwest was sparsely populated until the invention of air conditioning and automated farming sprinklers. As is, the land cannot sustain the numbersof people who now live here.

Nabhan spends a lot of time arguing the health benefits of eating the diet that is local to your ethnic nativity (so, ethnic Italians in Italy or a diaspora are healthier when they eat like ancient Italians because that diet and their genes have adapted together) …but, um, he’s not Native American nor are his ancestors from the Southwest. He’s Irish-Lebanese and the seeds he brought from his family’s ancestral home in Lebanon couldn’t grow in his Arizona backyard garden.  So his year of eating some other group’s local/native foods should not have done anything for his health outside the general best practice of eating organic and farm-to-table, cutting out the Monsanto’s and Cargill’s of the world.

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