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Friday, August 6, 2010

Free, Fresh-Fresh-From-The-Garden Bounty--Sharing is Priceless!

Nothing is better than fresh vegetables and fruits. I am sure I will get no arguments from anyone. Free is wonderful. Having someone else pick it cannot be beat! My friends, Charles and Jenny, gave me a gallon of figs, a mess of purple hull peas (two gallons), and a dozen, huge, juicy, delicious tomatoes. All was picked on the day I received it--Thursday! I am looking forward to tomatoes and peas today for dinner. Yay me!

Even though the food is free, I actually am giving them something I have in return. So, this is not strictly a barter in the sense that we struck a deal. Nevertheless, we are both benefiting from what we have to share.

I took them a jar of fig preserves from last year's harvest of figs. Today, they will pick up a carton of 18 fresh-from-my-hens eggs. Sharing works! Do you have friends with whom you share?

I love to trade for what I get rather than having to spend money. Even better is being involved in the preparation of my food. Sure, I can buy a bag of peas from the freezer in the store. I can go to the market and buy peas to shell. Either way, I have no connection to the food. Having friends share their peas makes the food seem better, more personal. Shelling peas from a friend gives me a feeling of connection and satisfaction even though it is work.

All the tomatoes are trimmed and sliced. Some were going to go bad by this morning. Figs are washed and are mixed with sugar in the refrigerator. The beans are in the refrigerator and will be shelled later today.

It is immensely satisfying to work with fresh vegetables and fruits. Being involved in the "production" of my fig preserves gives me control. I know these figs have never been sprayed with anything because my friends told me so. Besides canning things, I can watch my store of foods multiply for next winter.

Earlier in the day, I attended a dinner (free) at a church. I brought home the scraps from many plates for the chickens. Remember, I never buy food. Before the dinner a friend at the farmer's market gave me about two gallons of produce-beyond-its-time for my hens. Scraps of turnip greens, pinto beans, and cornbread were my four hen's dinner. There is none of the meat to give them. And, I did not think they would care for sauerkraut! Breakfast for them will be produce from the market.

Thursday was  a good day in terms of food! Today, I will pick crab apples and make my own pectin. The jelly I made from crab apples last year was not good. Well, it was too sweet for my taste. It seemed it had no flavor of its own. Has anyone had this experience?  If I remember correctly, I did not use all the spices that the recipe recommended. Maybe that was the problem? Maybe I can follow the recipe next time.

Are your food experiences good this summer? Isn't it wonderful when friends think of you and give you  produce? I don't care how much you have in the way of material things or an abundance of food, it is always a good experience when people share with each other. Sharing food is a nurturing act whether any of the parties involved realize it or not. So, let's share our bounty!

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