Even a foodie needs a night off

I have had a craving for roast chicken for the last week or so and tonight it has come to fruition.  I have given the complicated recipes a miss, and am roasting a chicken.  It’s not all easy-peasy (or even easy-broadbeany!) though, as I walked home through my village’s community garden tonight and picked some of the produce there.

Tonight’s offering consists of the following, all from the garden:

  • broad beans
  • purple, orange and yellow carrots
  • some special sort of garlic, the name of which escapes me (all I remember is it is French)
  • rhubarb

It meant that the carrots that were in the fridge went to Kippertastic the dog, and I got the nice ones!

Would you believe that the garden is going to seed because no one is picking any of this?!  My own abortive attempts at having 1/4 of an allotment were due to lack of time – but this garden is going to waste as people are not going in there and helping themselves.  

At the Monton Festival, I bumped into the people from Incredible Edible.  They have taken over a flower bed just down from the ‘main drag’ and have planted salad and veg plants there with a notice for people to help themselves.

No one seems to.

I was talking with one of the volunteers who runs our community garden, who had said to me ‘just go and help yourself’.  But this is easier said than done.  If you are a non-gardener, it is incredibly intimidating to ‘help yourself’ as you are not sure what to do – just harvesting alone is a mine-field.  Do you pull the whole thing up, do you twist, do you break…and if you take something, particularly from our community garden, are you going to be taking things that are ear-marked for the community luncheon or for use in Tideswell School of Food?  

I grew up with parents who gardened (and still do), and I know the basics of harvesting.  And still I panic.  The veg grown in the community garden looks different to what I am used to – it has no cellophane for a start, and isn’t on a plastic tray.

Perhaps we are not starting basic enough for some people with these initiatives such as Incredible Edible, or Tideswell Community Garden.  We need to get over the fear surrounding growing your own food, but we need to take baby steps.  Perhaps it starts with someone showing you how to pull rhubarb, or which bits to take of the Swiss chard.  If people are going to help themselves from such projects, then we need to take the fear away from eating produce straight from the ground.

Supermarkets have not just de-skilled us in growing our own food, we now need a field guide in order to work out how to pick produce that is right under our noses and ripe for the picking!


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