This was one of my favorite posts from 2016 and now, amid new seed catalogs and garden planning, it seems particularly well suited to this season:
My God, I love diversity.
Sometimes you go to a garden and the artichokes are purple, the tomatoes are orange, the beans are yellow and the corn is red. Oh, it is so lovely all companion planted and growing together! I live for it. I’m one of those people who finds the diversity of cultivars available absolutely enchanting.
I know not everyone is this way. I had a friend give me a pile of pink and orange tomatoes recently because her customers only wanted red. WHAT? I could not digest this information for days.
I remember meeting a friend’s mother and finding out she only ate beef, pork and potatoes and thinking she must have had the saddest life ever.
I thought I hated salad as a child because I thought the only lettuce was iceberg, which I find revolting. It turns out there are more than 20 varieties and counting that I adore. I eat at least two heads a day.
One of things that disgusts me about our industrial ag mentality is that of the list of things modern produce is bred to be, good tasting is not even a consideration. Of course, heirloom tomatoes don’t ship or keep well but for all our development of the new, can we not even put taste back on the table? On the other end of this, we have bred fruit so cloyingly sweet we have lost all nuance of other flavors.
So, gardeners, eaters, dreamers and advocates, let’s find the diversity, the color, and the flavor that is still available and let’s spread the love of real food.
Grow it, buy it, seek it, promote it.
Don’t wish for it. Work for it.
Have you ever tasted a Black Krim tomato or an Armenian cucumber? What about red okra, strawberry spinach or purple peppers? Have you wondered about the ancient grains that are becoming available or if yellow watermelons are sweeter? I have and it makes growing and eating food much a richer experience.
My son doesn’t like the thick skin on some cucumbers. I refuse to remove an edible portion of a piece of produce so he was dealing with it by eating the middle out of them. We started growing Armenian cucumbers and hold-the-phone, ya’ll! They are sweet, love our hot weather and have thin skins. I’m salivating thinking about them.
Cultivar diversity prevents infestation, insulates us against wholesale interruption of the food supply, improves health through the broad spectrum ingestion of nutrients and makes eating more interesting.
If you find yourself thinking you’d like to branch out but you don’t know where to start, I recommend these purveyors of fine seed. Request their remarkable catalogs today and be ready to plant a diverse and adventurous fall garden.
www.rareseeds.com (Baker Creek)
Already love to grow exciting veggies? Tell me what you now consider a must in your garden!
Chew on This
What is Happening to Agrobiodiversity? From the FAO
I found this as I was about to post and I could not, did not, say it better myself. Terra Brockman on biodiversity via the Rootstock website.
Happy eating, Katy