Archive for October 2nd, 2009

What really matters

By Tom Read

There's just one store-bought food item in this photo, namely the bell pepper in the foreground. It's not easy to grow such big peppers here on the cool coast because they thrive on sustained heat. But we like 'em in our salsa, and for now they're still relatively cheap and available through the industrial food system. That's a conscious compromise, eh?

There's just one store-bought food item in this photo, namely the bell pepper in the foreground. It's not easy to grow such big peppers here on the cool coast because they thrive on sustained heat. But we like 'em in our salsa, and for now they're still relatively cheap and available through the industrial food system. That's a conscious compromise, eh?

Texada’s almost ideal mix of mild temperatures, ample sun and just the right amount of rain this past month has given our garden a shot of warmth leading to lots of ripe tomatoes.  So today we turn our attention to converting our ripe Romas into salsa. Most of the ingredients will come from our garden; we will use only a few store-bought items. If we were to consider the amount of labour we’re about to expend on making this salsa, it wouldn’t be “economical,” but what matters to us is the satisfaction of creating a very personal taste of summer that will last us through the coming winter and spring.

Preserving our harvest is a deliberate act of resilience-building for our household. We know that the world around us swarms with economic, ecological and political stresses, but we pretend they do not affect us. After all, we live on an island! What matters to us at this moment is that a friend has loaned us her pressure-canner (we’re keen on trying this food preservation approach), while another friend has offered us an opportunity to glean more apples and pears. And all the while our garden and domestic animals are thriving.

I feel a sense of well-being by living in a place where the world’s problems seem far away. This feeling may be an illusion, but the accumulating supply of home-grown food in our pantry and freezer are real. From time to time I like to write about the politics and economics of Texada Island, but what really matters is being part of a network of friends here, and learning how to be more self-reliant.

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