Today was a bit of a magical day. At first it didn’t seem like it, as I left for the office in the pouring rain, mentally going over my to-do list: lesson plans, research, planning for tomorrow’s garden club meeting, etc., but as I pulled past the Delta Dirt Garden I remembered something exciting. Today was the day that I had planned to harvest some of the carrots I’d planted back in my first few days of service in September.
While I had gardened before joining FoodCorps I could never remember planting something from a seed all on my own, putting it in the ground, watering it, and watching its progress over a few months until I got to harvest it. I’ve checked on these carrots, along with the other plants in our teaching garden, multiple times a week- weeding and watering and proudly smiling as the greens got larger and larger. I felt like a little kid, getting more and more excited as time passed, imagining the carrot root growing ever bigger under the soil, and having to restrain myself from digging it up just so I could see its progress. Today, however, I didn’t have to exercise that self-control because today was the day I finally could dig up a carrot.
I quickly ran into the garden, trying to dodge rain-drops to no avail, and carefully dug up one of the “Cosmic Purple” carrots with a huge grin on my face. As I pulled up the dark purple root from the earth it filled me with an amazing sense of accomplishment. After rinsing it off a bit I brought it inside to dissect- I wasn’t sure what color would be waiting underneath the eggplant-hued skin. Cutting open the carrot I discovered a yellow center bright enough to liven up the dreary day we were having. I tentatively bit into the carrot and have never tasted any vegetable so sweet- both in flavor and meaning. I don’t think I’ve ever been quite so happy eating a vegetable. Growing, harvesting, and tasting your own food is a magical experience that far exceed my expectations.
Knowing how this process made me feel as a service member in my mid-twenties makes me so incredibly excited to help young students have the same experience within the coming months. In our classes we’ve been talking about the science of plants and the science of nutrition, but what I’m looking forward to most is watching the kids experience the magic of eating something they grew themselves, just like I had the privilege of doing today.