In my opinion there is nothing quite as satisfying as harvesting the fruits of our labors. It gives me a feeling of confidence, that if I had to I could provide my family with sustenance in hard times. Many years ago my young children helped me with the garden and I used this quality time to teach them that food doesn't just grow on the shelf in the grocery store. That people had to work hard to bring forth such goodness and we should be thankful for their efforts.
People ask me why I bother growing vegetables and fruits that I could easily pick up at Harry's or even the local grocery store. First and foremost, I don't consider this work. It's a hobby and a passion. I know it sounds hokey, but watching a seed turn into a plant that gives forth fruit - well that's just amazing to me. I like knowing how my produce was grown and that they have no pesticides or other chemicals in them. I like picking tomatoes just before we eat them or munching on a crunchy kosher dill that I made in my kitchen.
Life can be overwhelming in many ways. Working in the garden slows time down a bit. The simple tasks of weeding, pruning and picking produce seem to make my life a little less insane. I won't lie - I am thrilled by the look on someone's face when I serve them a tomato basil salad with fresh mozzarella and they swoon with delight. Sharing our bounty with friends, neighbors and even local restaurants makes me feel like I'm accomplishing some of my goals to make this a better world. Lofty, I know, but in my small way I'm making a difference in someone's life. My version of paying it forward.
Our summer garden is winding down with September right around the corner, but here in the south we can still grow things like peas, lettuce and spinach before the first freeze. Then I can spend the cold winter months planning my next garden, pouring through seed catalogs and searching the web for that perfect heirloom tomato I can grow next year. It's the little things in life, my friends.