So lets fast forward to a time and place where a casual love affair with the natural world becomes a passionate commitment, a dedicated lifestyle choice¦
Its winter 2001, it’s an ordinary day on an ordinary street where, in an ordinary house, two parents meet for an ordinary drink and a chat. At the time I was breastfeeding my youngest son with the intention to do so until he was old enough to drink cows milk. Again, I must profess that this decisions was as much to do with my desire for an easier life as it was the health benefits. My friend puts the kettle on whilst I entertain our babies and she calls out to me do you take milk?. And there it is in her hand, a milk carton with that word, scarcely seen on food packaging, printed in bold type¦ ORGANIC. And that folks, was the pivotal moment, the point of no return!
I asked her, why organic?. Her reply, regular milk is full of phlegm. Now if that doesn’t grab your attention and send you rushing off to investigate further, you clearly aren’t as food obsessed as me! So there it is, the entire household is now drinking organic milk and I began weaning my son using only organic baby food.
This snowballed into, well, if it’s not safe for the little one to eat conventional food why would it be safe for us to eat it?. Organic food at this point was a niche market and my weekly shop was getting expensive.
Solution? Grow your own food of course! Now here’s the thing, I’d only ever been interested in growing ornamentals. The only experience I’d had of home-grown vegetables was at farmers Pick Your Own which, let’s be honest, doesn’t really count and as a child it was really just an eating frenzy before the adults told you that was enough! I picked runner beans most summers in my Gran’s garden and then there was the one time my mum grew tomatoes. This I remember most clearly as having waited patiently at the insistence of my mother for the edible jewels to turn ruby red, my younger brother Carl took on the persona of Dennis the Menace one sunny afternoon and with great delight hurled the soft fruits at the house wall creating his very own Pollock. Turns out Carl didn’t very much like tomatoes!
Growing your own was definitely not fashionable, it had become a dying art. I, like many, have had to pick up vegetable growing skills largely through observing the results of my own trial and errors. As the successes started to outweigh the failures, I spread my roots into my next door neighbour’s garden. I soon found it was not enough and I bagged a growing space at the stables where I kept my horse. This growing space proved more challenging and did hinder further expansion¦ for a time.