By: Paula Walter
The Johnson County Farmer’s Market will be opening before we know it. We are fortunate that we have a market that offers fresh vegetables of all kinds right in our own county. There’s a big difference between roaming up and down the aisles in a grocery store and having the farmer you know and see out and about in the community fill your shopping bag up for you with a selection of his homegrown produce.
My grandmother had a small garden when I was young, and for some reason it was a project she and my brother did together. I’m sure it’s because I didn’t do much but whine about how hot it was and couldn’t we wait until evening to go pick the vegetables. She probably didn’t want to listen to me wailing and complaining. I was much more of a chatter box than my brother, and it’s just possible she liked the peace and quiet of working in the garden alone.
Once those tomatoes were ripe, I was one happy girl. I ate tomatoes for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I ate so many my acidic level was wacky and the ring I wore had turned my finger green. It didn’t take my doctor long to figure out the culprit was the four or five tomatoes I consumed each day. Actually, truth be told, I probably ate more than that.
I’ve attempted a garden several times since we moved to Johnson County 10 years ago. We have deer that consider our property their home, and that’s okay. They were here first. It’s not unusual for me to get excited about how tall the tomato plants are this year and admire how healthy they look and then sadly discover someone or something had a feast while we were sleeping. It doesn’t deter me from trying, and I tie rags to the posts and throw dog hair around the base of the plants. It’s not much to look at, but I do try.
So you can understand my excitement at the opening of the Farmer’s Market this year. We love fresh food and it’s comforting to me to know who I am buying my food from. Actually, this year we are participating in a program where we have signed up to get a box of vegetables a week from a grower right here in Johnson County. I’ve debated back and forth on whether to get a box a week or a half a box. Luckily, our grower is flexible and we are starting out with a half a box. I think we will be switching pretty quickly to the full size box. You don’t think two people could consume so many fresh veggies, but we do.
I admire the hard work and dedication of our local growers. We aren’t just getting fresh eggs, produce and homemade jams and jellies, local eggs and delicious treats, we are supporting our friends and neighbors. The produce in our local grocery stores is good, but there is just something special about biting into a tomato that grew right here at home.
The market opens in just a few weeks. I hope to see you there!