Summer Vegetables

I absolutely love vegetables. Sometimes it strikes me as completely bizarre that anyone wouldn’t enjoy eating raw vegetables.

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We always had a huge garden growing up, something I truly miss about being home. There are photos of me at a very young age, sat on the ground in the garden, munching on a fistful of green beans. Every dinner when I was younger always had bowls of fresh, raw vegetables on the table. After dinner someone got the responsibility of filling the bowls with water to keep the leftovers crisp. I have endless memories of putting something in the fridge and it accidentally falling into a vegetable bowl, splashing water everywhere. We ate a lot of vegetables, and I continue to love them. I eat green peppers the way most people would eat an apple. Sometimes for lunch I take sandwich bags full of iceberg lettuce. I eat sliced tomatoes with salt and pepper and sliced cucumbers all on their own. Celery and carrots have never been my favorites, but oh I can gobble them up when there’s ranch dressing around. And there is very little in life that is better than a tomato you have just picked from the plant, warm from the sun with the tomato vine smell, or, indeed, a handful of dirty green (or yellow) beans.

I miss having a garden. It’s changed locations since I was little, to a drier and sunnier part of the back yard, rather than the sometimes swampy and shady half of the side/front yard. But nevertheless every year there are two very large patches of earth sprouting up beans and tomatoes and basil and zucchini and all manner of amazing produce. I love my apartment, but I would really love to have a place to grow things.

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Clockwise from top: Tomatoes, potatoes, onions, mangoes, grapefruit, lemons, limes, Rainier cherries, cherry tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, spinach, cucumbers, green peppers, chives, basil.

Pike Place Market, while a haven for produce lovers, is not exactly practical, either in location or cost. We buy almost all our vegetables exclusively from the grocery store, even in summer. There are no farm markers in the rural sense of the word, and definitely not close to the rural price point. I’d like to live closer to the earth in the future. My parents have an apple orchard that they rent: someone else takes care of the apples, we eat as many as we can all autumn. I’ve always thought it’s a fantastic arrangement. We have an old orchard, planted with several varieties. The trees at the front of the orchard, closer to our house, ripen first. Later and later in the season, the trees ripen further and further away. It’s a lovely progression. I actually didn’t know that this was common for old orchards until my supervisor at work mentioned that the same thing happened in an orchard near her childhood home in Pennsylvania.

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