WHEN YOU GET RID OF THE PRETENSION BEHIND THE LOCAVORE MOVEMENT, THERE’S STILL SOMETHING: It can save you money.
Here’s what the Raeses have grown this spring, summer, and fall: turnips, black beans, purple hull peas, cranberry beans, Flossy Powell beans, Delicata squash, zucchini, horseradish, onions, potatoes, kale, rhubarb, sweet potatoes, beets, broccoli, blueberries, umpteen kinds of tomatoes, and almost every herb you can name. (Note: This is an incomplete list.)
The Raeses also belong to a CSA (community supported agriculture) share from a local farm. What they can’t eat fresh, they freeze or can—Kat has an entire pantry filled with brightly colored mason jars. She pickles turnips and cans lentil soup and makes jam and even her own ketchup.
Raese said she got into canning because she couldn’t land a full-time job after finishing her Master’s in English at UT. Matt was (and is) still working on his Ph.D. in English, which meant their income was next to nothing—and Kat had nothing to do with her time. Once she discovered canning and then gardening, she says she found a way to channel her frustration at being underemployed into something productive.
Maybe someone should drop by the #Occupy protests and pass out copies of Square Foot Gardening.
I have grown tomatoes the past two summers (in containers, from seedlings that I bought). This summer I also grew one pot of sweet red peppers.
An admission: I have never once cooked anything with the tomatoes I have grown, unless you count slicing them up and making a tomato sandwich or caprese salad. Half the peppers I grew this year rotted on the plant because I had too many to eat. And that was from just one single sweet pepper plant.
Another admission: I have stopped going to the farmers’ market most weekends. Why? Because every time I go I spend $40 on produce that I then inevitably never have the time to cook. And I end up tossing those $4 oyster mushrooms and $3 arugula and $10 peaches in the trash. (Yes, I could freeze the peaches, but I’ve done that before, and I never eat them either. I don’t like frozen peaches, and I don’t like smoothies.) And every time I throw that rotten produce in the trash, I hate myself for not being more like Alice Waters. Or for not being more like Kat Raese. [My emphases]
Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. Aristotle