So, when I started thinking about how I could have more control over my food and where it comes from, most people I spoke to and most books, blogs and magazines I read, naturally suggested that I plant my own vegetable garden.
We had a garden in our backyard when I was growing up. I have fond memories of going out there early on summer mornings with my sister and eating peas right out of the pod and of pies made from fresh rhubarb picked straight from the garden. They were delicious.
Planting my own garden was a fabulous idea! Except for one thing... I didn't have the space for one. So what did I do? What I always do when I have a problem... I called my Mom.
She told me that I didn't need to plant my own vegetable garden because I am lucky enough to have an amazing Farmers Market right outside my building. Twice a week. Year-round.
And, on top of that, I joined a CSA (more on that next week) and would be getting fresh vegetables, fruit and bread from local farms and bakeries once week.
My Mom was right. I didn't need to plant my own vegetable garden, but I still wanted to. She suggested I try growing some herbs. This seemed like a reasonable compromise since I have a terrace and enough space for a planter or two. Because I had never really grown anything before, my Mom walked me through the basics and sent me a few links (think gardening for dummies) to prepare me for my herb "garden".
That Saturday afternoon, I went to the hardware store and bought a plastic planter box, a metal holder and some organic soil. Then I stopped at the Farmers Market and bought chives, cilantro and sweet basil. I planted them when I got home and haven't really had to do much for them since. Lucky for me, herbs are very resilient and don't need much attention.
I use my cilantro in homemade guacamole and in my green smoothie.
I made homemade tomato sauce with my fresh basil (in my vitamix) and of course I use the basil in my green smoothie as well.
I put the chives on salads and on roasted vegetables. The other day, I cut a zucchini in half, drizzled it with olive oil and salt & pepper and baked it in the oven. Then I garnished it with a little parmesan cheese and fresh chives. It was soo good.
My favorite snack uses all 3 of my herbs. Wasa crackers with avocado, sliced tomato, lime juice and fresh basil, chives and cilantro. Yum.
Although I could just buy fresh herbs at the Farmers Market, there is something really satisfying about eating something homegrown. I like the idea that it goes from my "garden" to my plate in less than a minute... talk about fresh!