Gardening Nana: Farm to Table or Plot to Plate
Writer / Nancy Craig
Photographer / Julie Yates
The terms “farm to table” and “plot to plate” are used to describe fresh, organic and locally grown foods. I have to laugh when I hear these terms because I grew up on a farm, and that was just the norm. We grew our own vegetables and raised chickens, pigs and cows. Now my gardens are mainly flowers, so I like to visit the farmer’s markets where I can get all kinds of local produce.
My great–nieces and nephews are used to eating fresh fruits and vegetables year-round, and no matter the season, blueberries and corn are in the grocery stores. We do grow some of our own vegetables and fruits. The twins found it special to be able to pick the blueberries that we grew — those do taste the best! The boys like growing their potatoes, beans, carrots, zucchini, squash and pumpkins.
Gail Gibbons has written several children’s books, and I like her book “The Vegetables We Eat.” Her books are always easy to read, colorful and informative. This book describes how botanists group the different kinds of vegetables by what part of the vegetable is eaten. There are eight groups: leaf, bulb, root, tuber, stem, flower bud, fruit and seed. Zucchini and pumpkins are fruit vegetables while beans and corn are seed vegetables. Carrots are root vegetables, and potatoes are tuber vegetables. An onion is a bulb, and celery are stems.
My great-nephews, Max and Eli, like sweet corn and rely on their friends who are farmers who share their crop. The boys’ parents freeze the corn, but of course, it is more fun to eat it on the cob. The twins, Lindsey and Lauren, will help me eat the Nasturtiums that we grew this summer. The flowers and leaves of the Nasturtiums make a salad spicy and colorful. My daughter, Ann, likes to make herbal teas with lemon balm (Melissa officinalis). Ann has her own edible flower and herb business in Colorado.
Eat healthy and enjoy your plates and tables full of garden plot and farm fresh produce this month!