This morning I ventured out into my garden. I sat there for a while listening to the familiar buzzing of bees and enjoying the sweet morning melodies of nearby song birds with an occasional reminder by our farmyard rooster. The sun's rays warmed my cheeks as I nestled my toes into the cool earth beneath me. As I sat there, I noticed the biggest, bright red strawberry. It was perfectly ripened and, as I bit into the berry, I thought…there's no better way to start the day.
It's funny though. I remember as a child I didn't always appreciate these simple joys. I didn't enjoy the farmyard chores or all the extra responsibilities that came along with having a garden and a farmyard of animals that needed daily care. It seemed silly to me, as it would to many people, to put so much time and effort into growing something that could be easily purchased from the grocery store.
When I was about eight years old, my family took on the adventure of growing and selling strawberries. It was a lot of work to weed the four-acre plot and when it was time to start picking, the task seemed endless. Long days were spent out in the strawberry patch and at the produce stand, but at the end of the day, when it was time for homemade strawberry shortcake, I was easily reminded of the benefits of our hard work and dedication.
Over the years, I continued to build an appreciation for gardening and other sustainable practices. I expanded my gardens and planted new varieties of produce which I shared with friends and family. I began collecting my kitchen scraps and started to make compost. And, most recently, I have enjoyed learning how to preserve my garden's harvest through the processes of canning and wine making.
I discovered that growing my own garden provided my family with wholesome, chemical-free produce and herbs. I recognized and now appreciate the difference between the quality of what comes from a grocery store and the high quality of homegrown, homemade produce and goods. By preserving through canning and winemaking, I am able to capture and preserve those fresh seasonal tastes so that my family can enjoy them throughout the year.
Growing a garden, canning and winemaking are simple, low budget sustainable practices which are fun and very rewarding.
If interested in learning how to make wine or preserve by canning, workshops will be available upon request. Fun in the Garden workshops will also be available for youth and families. For more information, please contact Becky Cunfer of Evergrowing Inspirations at (484) 895-5189, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.