Sharing Life In The "Sun"

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When I was young, one of the highlights of the summer was spending a couple of weeks on my own visiting my grandparents on their small farm in rural West Virginia. For me, it was a great adventure— stocking the dirt-floor root cellar, feeding the cows, gathering eggs, and, best of all, admiring the huge garden my grandfather planted every year. We hoed, tilled, weeded, planted and just about everything else you had to do to maintain and harvest the fruit and vegetables. In the early evening, we sat on the porch and admired the view of the land as the sun set on the hillsides reminiscing on some of the days exploits.

The visits also gave me the opportunity to learn to cook with my Italian grandmother. As many of you know, there’s nothing like eating vegetables that have just been picked.

Those days are long gone and my attempts at gardening are now restricted to a small plot in my back yard - room enough for a few tomato plants and a few herbs. The sprawl of Atlanta offers few expanses of land for large gardens. I am thankful and appreciative of the local farm community and the abundant farm-fresh produce found a numerous farmers markets located many places near my house. Most are small enterprises operating just a few days a week.

Seeing the variety of produce and tasting fresh that can never be found in a supermarket quickly reminds me of sweet long-ago memories.

This is why farmers markets and the local farm community are a vital part of our food culture. Shouldn’t everyone have the opportunity to have a wide variety of produce that is fresh? While maybe not everyone wants to be a part of the growing process, we should support the ones who do. When we lose the farmers and those who provide fresh food, we lose a part of our history and food culture.

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