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MORAN: Growing our own food has been lost from our culture

December 14, 2016 - 12:00 PM

Most people would not call working for free and living in a camper parked on a driveway a dream vacation. Maybe dream vacation isn't exactly how I would describe my trip, but I am thoroughly relaxed and full of joy and appreciation.

If you are living in the Okanagan and are truly serious about eating local and seasonal, you will be eating apples and drinking apple juice until strawberry season in the spring (unless you have a stockpile of preserves). I have cheated and left Canada for the winter, and now my local diet consists of citrus and fresh vegetables. Today I had a new experience. I harvested tree-ripened lemons and immediately pulverized them by hand and slammed back the juice. They are less acidic when properly ripe, much sweeter, and in this case, organic. Tomorrow I'll make lemonade.

The farm I will be spending the next three weeks on is called Los Cortijos. It is a small organic oasis in a desert of commercial farms. Los Cortijos is a short distance from the Mediterranean coast of southern Spain, where the southern and eastern coastlines meet. I am here thanks to a program called WWOOF (Willing Workers On Organic Farms).

In Canada, Spain, and other developed countries where growing your own food has been lost from the culture, many people are searching to reclaim the means to provide for themselves. The reasons for this vary. Some people want to save money. Others want healthier food options. Families want to have an opportunity for their kids to get in the dirt and experience a bit of nature in a garden, and sometimes a mix of all three reasons. Los Cortijos farm satisfies this need locally by renting out garden beds. There are a few set aside for the owners and volunteers like myself. I feel like a kid in a candy store when I am raiding the garden. Soups, salads, stir-fry, omelets, whatever I feel like making I simply go and harvest the appropriate ingredients. There are some delicious wild plants dispersed among the garden, my favourite is the wild beet. It does not form an edible root, but they leaves are similar to beet greens (but much, much better). I don't enjoy farmed beet greens but the wild beet is one of my favourite foraged edibles, in Europe or North America.

I have lots of spare time, a fully equipped kitchen, and unlimited access to fresh herbs and vegetables. If I need any meat, eggs, or cheese, all I have to do is ask. They will provide for vegetarians, but my hosts were ecstatic when I told them I wasn't one. Afternoons and evenings are spent cooking, reading, and learning Spanish from my hosts. My life is only getting busier and full of more commitments, I am extremely grateful to have the time to be here now. Now I have to come up with a tasty recipe for artichokes.

News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2016
InfoTel News Ltd

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