Ever since I was a tiny little girl I have enjoyed growing vegetable gardens. I look forward each spring to drawing out a plan of where each plant will go, and amending my soil with my own rich organic compost in preparation for planting. When the weather is warm enough, I drop the seeds one by one into carefully prepared rows or holes with much anticipation of the little green sprouts soon to come. I nearly squeal in glee when my first little plants bravely poke their green sprouts up into the cool spring air. I savor the moments of observing my plants, seeing how they have grown and are flourishing.
As much fun as the spring holds in the garden, that isn’t my favorite season there. My favorite season for gardening has always been that time from midsummer to fall which we usually refer to as harvest. It is the time of year when all the work pays off, and fresh organic fruits and vegetables are just outside my door. I love picking cucumbers and feeling the little prickles on the stems; I love plucking bright red and yellow tomatoes from their vines and knowing I will smell like a tomato plant for the rest of the day. I love enjoying fresh green onions in salads, soups and sandwiches, savoring that pungent taste that is so much richer than anything purchased at a store. I love picking blueberries for my breakfast, and fresh sugar snap peas for my lunch. I could go on all day, but I will spare you. Let me get on to my very favorite thing to grow and harvest.
For as long as I can remember my favorite thing to grow has been potatoes. Do I love eating potatoes? Not particularly. I enjoy them, but no more than any other food. The plants are not particularly beautiful, and they don’t smell good, or have any particularly interesting features. The thing I think I love about harvesting potatoes is that it is like a treasure hunt, and you never know what you are going to find. Will they be big or small?
How many will you get? What color will they be? Will there be any odd shaped ones?
I also love the experience of digging for them. Feeling the rich black soil between my fingers and reminiscing about childhood mud pies and sand castles. I don’t love what it does to my fingernails, but sometimes you just have to live in the moment, you know?
One more fun thing about digging for potatoes: I have never been disappointed with what I find. I don’t have any expectations when I set out; I simply determine to be happy with whatever I find, and to enjoy it for what it is. The big ones might be best for baking, but they are not nearly as good in soups and stews as the small ones are. The yellow ones are my favorite for just eating, but the reds make the most beautiful mashed potatoes if you leave some of the skins on. They all have a purpose. Sometimes life is like a garden of potatoes… you never know what you will dig up. So go live life, dig, and be pleasantly surprised when you find a potato. Be thankful, and if the potatoes you have are not suited to your recipes, then find new recipes and learn to enjoy them. 🙂