A rainbow garden
May 5, 2012 / 5:00 am
I have been looking at the garden seed catalogues trying to plan out what we will grow this year in our wonderful garden, but it seems every year the dilemma of deciding becomes more difficult. It is bad enough I have to choose between beets and turnips or decide whether the extra space at the back is best for potatoes or squash – now I have to choose what colour I like my vegetables to be! (For those interested, the beet versus turnip debate is actually no contest, as the Chef does not like turnips, no matter what colour they are.)
I know we live in a world where technology allows for life to go at the speed of light, and traditions and old ways are meant to be expanded and revamped, but really, do we need to change the colour of our vegetables? Where does it stop??
Don’t get me wrong – I am not talking about Mother Nature’s variations, like green and yellow beans. A little bit of variety is a good thing – the spice of life and all that. Carrots were actually a few colours to begin with, 5000 years ago, with purple being more dominant. By the time they were widely available in Europe in the 17th century orange had turned out to be a more popular colour. However, in the first place, what is the point in having a funny-colored veggie if it doesn’t stay that colour when you cook it and in the second place, if the colour is only skin deep, does that even count? Aren’t we supposed to consider what is inside?? Such is the case with the purple carrots I have grown. Perhaps this is a sign that we should only eat food uncooked and unpeeled. (Certain trend-watchers would say this is a topic for another column!)
Part of me is intrigued by these fantastic foods. There is a Roald Dahl aspect to the idea of a garden that has an imagination of its own, like the Giant Peach or Charlie’s Chocolate Factory. You have to choose wisely to maximize your exotic efforts, as often it seems to take extra energy for the plant to produce a more unique product. Sometimes the Chef just smiles and shakes his head, but I enjoy the taste of lemon cukes and green zebra tomatoes. He did use some of our weird and wonderful tomatoes in his menus last summer, and he liked the striped Chioggia beets we planted. However, purple dragon carrots were most impressive in name, and orange cauliflower was just more difficult to grow than the white variety. Creativity is required when appreciating Mother Nature, though, and what would a garden be without a little experimentation?
I guess at the end of the day (or the summer) I should just marvel at it all – even the green vegetables that grow quietly in their rows. I suppose having a colourful garden plot is another way to salute individuality… and besides, can someone who, as a girl, liked to wear red and pink striped socks with her favourite purple jumper really judge what colour a carrot should be?
Read more Happy Gourmand articles
- A foodie kind of day in the Okanagan May 11
- A day in the life of an Okanagan foodie May 4
- Slow and sweet Apr 27
- Do you have to eat dirt on Earth Day? Apr 20
- Recipes across the miles Apr 13
- Haggis, neeps & tatties Apr 6
- Foolish food Mar 30
- Good food, good friends Mar 23
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