Growing up, my family always bought their produce from the local grocery store. However, my grandmother did tend to a small garden in her backyard and I can remember how incredibly different her tomatoes were than the store bought variety. Not just how they looked, but how much better they tasted.
With GMOs, pesticides, and more plaguing our produce these days, I’ve taken the task of putting vegetables on my plate into my own hands. Aside from looking and tasting a whole lot better, there are a variety of benefits to reap from the Garden to Table , or Farm to Table, movement.
I never realized it before, but every time I went to the store I bought the exact same vegetables. My garden has introduced me to a wide variety of veggies I had never tasted before, as well as new variations of some of my favorites.
Instead of buying nothing but beefsteak tomatoes, white onions, and portobello mushrooms, I can enjoy enjoy varieties like chanterelle mushrooms and roma tomatoes. Plus, I can plant all sorts of squashes, broccoli, and even beets in the Fall. It certainly spices up my meals.
My garden has also introduced me to heirloom vegetables. The way mega corporations have grown vegetables over the years has lead to a decrease in their nutrient content. Heirlooms, on the other hand, have been passed down by private owners for generations, making them immune the flaws in modern day veggies and thus making them more nutritious.
Using different gardening methods like cover crops and integrated pest management to promote the health of my soil also give my plants a nutrient boost. It also feels good to eat healthy.
Ripe and Ready
Who hasn’t bought a vegetable from the store and had to wait until it was ripe, only to find that a few days later that it was brown. Commercial growers pick their crops early to give them a longer shelf life, which makes good sense for a supermarket, however, not always the most convenient at home. When you can pick your produce from your backyard, it’s available when you need it and nothing goes unused. Not to mention, nothing compares to picking fresh tomato or basil to use as an ingredient when cooking a meal.
Research has shown the side effects GMOs and pesticides can have on our health. Since I know what I’m putting in the ground and how I care for it until the day I pick it, and the only shelf life I need to worry about is the time it takes to get a vegetable from my garden to my table, I know that what I’m eating is at its best and free from harmful pesticides.This makes a garden grown at home a save haven from the likes of carcinogens and toxins.
Choosing to grow my own produce has brought a variety of benefits to my dinner table and the health of my family. If you’re property doesn’t have the proper space for a garden, consider container gardens on your deck, indoor herbal gardens, or shop a local Farmer’s Market for fresh produce. What do you like the most about the Garden to Table/Farm to Table movement? Have you noticed any other benefits that I forgot to mention?