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Our First Summer Harvest

10 Aug

We must give more in order to get more. It is the generous giving of ourselves that produces the generous harvest. 
– Orison Swett Marden

Summer Straigntneck Squash, Jalapeno Peppers, Bush Beans, Green Zebra Heirloom Tomatoes, Black Beauty Zucchini, Red Brandywine Tomato, Yellow Pear Tomatoes, Rainbow Cherry Tomatoes, Green Onions, Sweet Dumpling Squash

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Farmer’s Market 8.6.11

6 Aug

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Colors of the Rainbow

3 Aug

Recently, I made a trip to downtown Salt Lake City, where my two 4′ x 20′ plots are located in a community garden. I weeded, trimmed and cut back plants to my absolute satisfaction. With the sun warming my skin, I looked over my plots with pride, taking in all the lush green, yellow, orange, red and pink. I lazily breathed in the earthy goodness. Why is gardening so therapeutic anyway?

The only plant ready to harvest was my Rainbow Swiss Chard. I carefully plucked the outer leaves off of my plants and I had an array of colors- red, pink, yellow, orange and green. I have never actually eaten Swiss Chard before, but I was told it is great for juicing, which I am an avid fan of. So, I thought I’d give it a shot. It is by far the easiest thing I have grown to date. I grew it from seed and it grew to maturity really quickly; 45 days or less. It was quite resilient with all the flooding rains and the opposing heat we’ve experienced this summer. You go swiss chard! Sadly, my spinach wasn’t blessed with the same tenacity.

I headed home with my surplus (seriously, I have a ton. If you want some, lemme know) of chard and began to prepare it. I enlisted Carter to help me with the washing and separating of the chard. He was marginally interested in the project- only because he had been the one to plant the seeds. We had an assembly-style operation taking place. I would inspect the chard (for damaged stems or worse- bugs!), wash the chosen chard and give it a quick shake. I would then pass it off to Carter who would blot the chard with a paper towel and lay it out nicely on a dry towel. Our system was very efficient and quite methodic. As I inspected, washed and shook, I would occasionally hear a snapping noise behind me. I noticed it the first few times and kept right on with my job. Eventually, there became a real rhythmic way to the snapping;  Snap-crunch-crunch-Snap-crunch-crunch-Snap-crunch-crunch

What the?

I turned around and to my sheer horror, I found Carter biting off a piece of stem off every. single. piece. of chard! What the?! What the?!

Now, let me just tell you- Carter is pretty much a carnivore. I have done my best to subtly impress my views on refraining from meat and eating a mostly plants-based diet. Let’s just say it hasn’t stuck. Or so I thought.

For some reason beyond my comprehension, Carter actually enjoyed eating swiss chard. So I didn’t interrupt him. I didn’t interfere into his exploration of this new vegetable. I didn’t shout, “You’re contaminating the chard!!” (I must admit, contamination always crosses my mind. I’m a bit of a germaphobe). I was simply content with the fact that if he CHOSE to eat vegetables, who was I to get in the way?

Perhaps because of his involvement in the gardening process (picking out seeds, preparing soil, planting the seeds, watering multiple times a week and finally, harvesting the chard), he saw more value and appreciation in this miraculous plant, and therefore, it appeared more appetizing.

According to Health.com, studies of after-school programs suggest that kids who garden are more likely to eat the produce they grow as well as the ones you put on their plate.

Here are some good ideas on growing a garden with the kiddos in mind and hopefully in turn, encouraging them to eat just a little more healthily.

Colors as vibrant as the rainbow helps too.

Pins & Needles

31 Jul

Acupuncture as healing?

This week, I had the pleasure of meeting Kim, a family member’s girlfriend from Korea. She is currently living in China, studying Chinese medicine.

What is Chinese medicine exactly? I knew it included some holistic or “alternative” approaches to medicine, but didn’t know exactly what it entailed.

According to Wikipedia (the source of all reliable information, right?), “Chinese Medicine refers to a broad range of medicine practices sharing common theoretical concepts which have been developed in China and look back on a tradition of more than 2000 years, including various forms of herbal medicine, acupuncture, massage therapy, and dietary therapy. These practices are a common part of medical care throughout East Asia, but are considered alternative medicine in the western world.”

Kim, as a medical student in China, receives both training in traditional Chinese Medicine as well as training and education in Modern Western Medicine. She shared with me that when she first began to learn about Chinese Medicine, she was intensely skeptical. But as she delved into this mystical world, she saw miracles occurring all around her and her colleagues. She is now a firm believer in Acupressure, Acupuncture (she cured her boyfriend’s injured back using this!) and certain forms of massage. She said, “I have a love for Western Medicine too. I believe in surgery. But I have even more love for Chinese Medicine”.

We do know that our nation specifically is over-medicated and over-diagnosed. We know there is a health epidemic in this country with obesity and other disease on the rise (a result of genetics or inherited lifestyle – I’m not sure). We also have more medication and technology than ever. So why do we have for the first time EVER a rising generation that has been predicted to out-die their parenting generation? I have my opinions (which I’ll save for another day) as I am sure many others have theirs.

I pose this question – is there some value to going back to the basics? To begin treating causes of disease and not symptoms? I realize there is quite a bit of controversy surrounding this topic but I wonder, who of you have tried alternative therapy? Did it work?

I blessedly have no prevailing ailments. I have had no life-threatening disease or injury. I periodically suffer from minor symptoms such as headaches and nausea (always a result of poor eating, I am convinced) which I will use essential oils to relieve. It has worked for me!

Please note that I am not condemning the modern medical world – I am grateful to live in a day when so many options are available for us.

What are your thoughts?