Look around, and everything is ripe for the picking. It is harvest season: my daughter’s class has been studying seeds, and how things grow. This has led to some food adventures — cooking beets, squash, and carrots in class whereupon we parents arrive to pick up our children and find them, forks in hand, attacking a plate loaded with root vegetables and summer squash. It may not surprise you, but this brings me great satisfaction at seeing so many young mouths clamouring for fresh, home-grown veggies.
Last week I had the pleasure of tagging along on my daughter’s field trip to Bear Creek Community Gardens in Colorado Springs. A place where locals can rent 20 x 40 foot garden plots for the growing season, with organic gardening as a rule. To keep it real, weeds surrounding the area are even maintained by hungry goats that come to graze at the end of the season.
On this gorgeous autumn day, teachers Brenda and Cecilia took their class on an adventure to explore the plot they share within the community gardens.
The kids scampered about, picking at the ripe bounty timidly at first and then so boldly that everyone had to be reminded to keep their “harvesting” to the right garden.
Little hands cupped large tomatoes and devoured them entirely, they shucked beautiful ears of corn to find jeweled kernels inside.
They raced around a pumpkin patch sitting on the giant pumpkins just because they could.
They found ladybugs hiding on dill gone to seed, and small squash just the right size for carrying some place, any place.
I was reminded of how important it is that children see how food grows. To smell the “green” permeating the air from the stalks and vines all around. To taste what “picked ripe” really means. To have the sense of taste be an avenue to exploration and play. And it makes me wonder if all of the infamous little “picky eaters” of the world could resist tasting a golden heirloom right off of the vine? I think they would ask for seconds.
It was a good day indeed, and Sofia’s only complaint was: “we didn’t spend very much time at the gardens!” I think even all day luxuriating in such abundance would still be too short. Many thanks again to Brenda and Cecilia for sharing their little plot of food paradise with us.