We ate some very nice looking but poor tasting strawberries this morning. I think of all store-bought produce, strawberries have got to be about the worst as far as looking tempting but tasting bland - or worse, moldy even though I don't see any mold. In the winter I feel good about my shopping cart when it is filled mostly with produce, usually apples, oranges, bananas, scallions and broccoli. In the summer it is the opposite- I try not to buy any vegetables but occasional corn or avocados. There is always that tinge of guilt knowing how many fossil fuel miles are in most all our groceries up here. My excuse is my sanity, my health and that I'm feeding small children. My kids love bell peppers, cucumbers, peas. Noah is in a phase where he loves asparagus but is tired of broccoli and beets. Avery is the opposite, doesn't like the asparagus, but enjoys beets daily. If we were trying to eat just what is in season around here, or what we stored, it would be slim pickings. I'm out of our own onions, garlic and potatoes, beets, carrots and squash. We are down to bags of frozen kale, frozen broccoli, frozen vegetable soups and frozen tomato sauce, stewed tomatoes and canned green beans. We all like variety. We mostly prefer our vegetables fresh and lightly cooked. I guess it comes down to, while I aspire to grow a large portion of our own food, and while I would like to be able to be self-sufficient if needed, I'll be taking advantage of all the fossil fuel laden foreign looking produce while I can -especially while trying to feed children real food- and as many vegetables as possible.
Now, I'm dreaming of my own strawberry patch. Last summer we planted a three foot by fifteen foot bed of established Toklat perennial strawberries. I'm thinking that if my entire garden space was strawberries it wouldn't be enough. There are too many fruits I cannot grow here. Strawberries are not one of the them. We are just beginning to purchase and plant berries and fruit trees here. Last summer we bought an apple and a crab apple tree along with a couple plum trees. We also dug a trench and planted some Boyne raspberries. For this summer I've ordered some golden raspberry canes, a black and white currant bush, a couple Nanking cherry trees and a couple Saskatoon bushes. I'm trying venture into what should actually do well here instead of dwelling or putting my efforts into fruits that are marginal here. Mostly, I'm excited about strawberries. I wonder how I can keep the kids from eating them all before they even ripen? Cloth covers maybe?
On a side note, my son saw a picture in a kid's book of a cross section of a loaf of wonder bread, and he asked me what it was - he didn't recognize that it was bread. Avery pulled out some candy out of a pocket of Noah's old rain coat. I think it was leftover and forgotten from the parade last summer. I was able to take it away from her and quickly stash it, as she didn't know what it was - didn't realize it was candy. I am relieved that my kids are not obsessed with candy or junk food - yet.