• Joey 'Un-Tied'-There's just something about a southern tomato


    My grandparents (on both sides of the family) have always had a garden. Both of these men have passed away, but the memories haven't. I love thinking about both grandfathers checking leaves, pulling weeds, and bursting with pride as they put platters of vegetables on the table. They'd walk their little patch of dirt in the hot summer sunshine as they told me when I should plant, what bugs I should watch for, what mixture of what kept which plants the happiest.

    To this day, I smile whenever I smell a tomato plant (they absolutely have their own smell)....or hold rich earth in my hand....or see someone use newspaper as a mulching/weed tool.

    And there's definitely a different feel and taste to food when you've nurtured it, watered it, protected it, waited on it to ripen, and picked it with your own hands. Food tastes better when you know its story...even more so when you're a PART of its story.

    We recently planted our first garden. We researched the best way to use our limited space. Bought wood that's chemical free and designed to weather the element and built a special boxed area. Sought out some super-rich dirt and worm castings. Picked several varieties that we like. And are now trying to finish a protective enclosure (as I have an ongoing feud with a creative and evil army of chipmunks and squirrels and raccoons and possum).

    I want my kids to understand how it all works. What actually goes into putting food on the table. That there's more to it than walking through Kroger's or going through the drive-thru.

    I love technology and the creativity and production it brings to our lives. But I'm also entirely cognizant of the beauty of old-school values and the richness of something as simple as "simplicity".

    I can't wait to watch these tomatoes bud and turn into little green planets. I can't wait for them to get so big I think they'll burst on the vine. And I've grown to love that magical experience and wonder of watching them seemingly turn from bright green to a rich glowing crimson right before my very eyes.

    And I'll take my grandfather's advice: pick 'em a with JUST a little green left, set 'em on the kitchen window sill, and admire 'em right up until dinner.

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