Little did I know those many years ago, that one summer evening when I left the dinner table to go spit out my green beans in the toilet, that I would ever find myself in front of a full plate of steaming, fresh, buttery green beans by choice. Well, today was that day. Back when The Facts of Life was on tv and Reagan was still in the White House, the mere mention of green beans would send my gag reflex into overdrive. Sorry mom, no offense!
My family didn’t grow them back then, so I can safely say that the turning point was when I picked some up at the farmers market in Longmont, Colorado a couple summers ago. How could I resist the “green bean lady” who would back up her truck and literally had a mound of green beans like you’ve never seen. It was something so unique to behold that I bought some and sautéed them up with tons of fresh garlic and olive oil to try and mask the taste. It worked and I figured I had made my peace with the legume.
Then came the vegetable garden last year.
I really enjoyed the novelty of growing these funny, purple string beans. Still though, I was dousing them with garlic and oil and frying the heck out of them. But, that was until today. My sister had a bumper crop this afternoon and if there’s one thing I am absolutely addicted to, it’s being able to pick my dinner from the yard and dine on whatever was harvested. There’s something magical in the fresh off the vine taste that you just can’t explain to someone who has grown up on that weird lima bean, carrot and corn mix from a can. It’s no wonder kids don’t like to eat veggies! How many in this country are actually lucky enough to have fresh veggies and fruit? And those little gelatinous cups of peaches from the grocery store don’t count.
So that is why today was a very momentous day; it was the day I ate a whole plate of plain, steamed purple pole beans (which are really a green bean) with nothing but a little salt, pepper and well, of course, some organic butter which made it a completely dreamy experience.
If you don’t have your own garden, plan for next year! It is so easy to set a pot of cherry tomatoes out on the patio or dig up a bit of sod and put in a raised bed. I’ve seen premade raised beds at Costco for as little as $49.98. And then there’s always your local farmer’s market. You can find one in most areas these days. Or how about joining a CSA. If you aren’t familiar with that, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Although each farm has its own particulars, they all usually have the same set up; you buy into the CSA and then you get a box of seasonal produce every week or so. It’s a fun and educational way to eat. I mean, how many times are you going to find black tomatoes or spicy, purple kohlrabi at the grocery store?
Eating local not only helps local businesses, it saves on fuel and also ensures you’re eating fresher produce. Even the smallest farm helps to preserve open space and natural habitats, so visit your farmer’s market frequently this fall before they close for the winter and see if you can’t make your dollars make a difference in your community.