Working Community Garden
Summer brings fresh food
K.C. Compton, Editor in Chief
Taylor Cole Miller
At this time of year here in our offices in eastern Kansas, I always feel like one of the luckiest of humans. Except for the heat, humidity, chiggers, ticks and mosquitoes, we have a delicious life here. And I do mean delicious.
I know there are people working in offices where no one orders chicks and ducklings by mail, where there aren’t any fresh eggs proffered in the break room, and where no one experiments with making varieties of crusty artisanal bread. I’m sure those offices all have their better points, but I’m glad I don’t work in one.
I’ve worked here long enough to recognize the rhythms of the year. Fall brings out the jellies, jams, canned tomatoes, competitive salsas (Oh, yeah? Let’s just see whose salsa is the spiciest…) and lots of recipes for "game day." In winter, we have occasional themed potlucks – a macaroni-and-cheese cook-off, an inter-departmental soup day – and plenty of sharing of other tempting treats.
But spring and summer are the times I like best because that’s when the garden talk begins, and the produce follows. Around our water cooler, there’s the usual talk of sports and television, but just as high on the list of topics is what heirloom seeds we are planting, whether garlic will grow in containers (yes, it will) and what might be wrong with my carrots. It might not be as exciting as the plot to the latest TV detective show, but to me, talking about how to improve the lives of honeybees is pretty compelling.
One of my favorite things about summer (the theme of this issue’s Heart of the Home section) is the Parade of First Tastes. In April, the first asparagus stalks rear their little heads out of the barely warm earth, then comes that delicious first bite of truly fresh asparagus from my friends’ farm. Following soon after are lettuce, spinach, strawberries, blackberries, peaches, tomatoes – one after the other in rapid succession as summer unfolds. And each time I savor the first of the season, I wonder if I’ve ever really tasted anything as wonderful before.