Saturday, May 30, 2009

Weighing our choices

We love kale, and right now it’s the happiest thing in the garden, covering about a third of one 25-foot bed.

The other night before bed we decided to pull three whole plants because they were shading some little broccoli. And here they are:

In two large pots of boiling water, we blanched it in about 8 batches, soaked it in ice water and strained and bagged it into this:

Altogether it took two (grown but very tired) people 45 minutes to 1 hour, 10 to12 gallons of water, and the natural gas of the stove to bring the kale from garden to storage, where it will use the energy of the freezer.

I like keeping track of garden input---water, our time, energy, and money---and output. Does it make sense to use all that water (which we then reused in the garden), the energy from the stove and freezer, and our time for 6 pounds of food that we could buy at the farmers’ market for maybe $12?

But then we have to figure the time and energy---fueled or not---to get to the farmers’ market and the fuel used to transport the food from farm to market, etc etc.

Obviously for us the answer is yes, it does make sense to invest the time, energy, and money required to produce our own instead of procuring someone else’s. We get unquantifiable pleasure and satisfaction from the relatively small but still revolutionary act of self-sufficiency that growing our own food represents. We benefit from slowing down and noting the growth that happens one day to the next. Our kids get to see us dig in the dirt, and so much more.

Next time, though, we’ll start processing before bedtime.

1 comment:

Susan said...

I love the last line, very well timed. I can imagine how good it feels to have that abundance in your yard--so much you have some to store!

We visited an exhibit at the Museum of Natural History called Written in Bone which included piles of rat, dog, horse and cat bones that starving Jamestown settlers resorted to eating during the Starving Time.

What a difference a freezer might have made for them.