From seed to table. It sounds so ideal. And I suppose lots of folks could still meet this ideal, at least those with gardens during the summer in Western countries and for most of the year in the tropics. But so many of us now rely directly on the airconditioned groceries closest to home that it’s easy to forget what really fresh produce is like. Personally, I try to buy more and more produce from markets and farmer’s markets, but I still rely on groceries for some 20-25% of our vegetable and fruit consumption at home. Maybe the romance of picking your own produce has something to do with the appeal, but one really does forget how vegetables are supposed to look, feel and taste when they are quite literally, fresh off the vine. I distinctly recall my first experience with “growing our own” when I was just 5 or 6 years old… oddly, it was a strawberry patch in our front lawn in quezon city. Someone must have brought some strawberry seedlings down from Baguio and I was utterly fascinated with them, though I honestly don’t recall if we ever managed to coax a berry out of them in the Manila heat.
While I have seen and been on the sidelines of several home vegetable gardens over the past 30 years, I can’t say I really got down and dirty, and I would rather harvest than sow. :) But I do appreciate just how incredibly wonderful it is to pick the produce and cook it minutes later. These sitaw vines were planted in early May and had sprouted days after sown.
They quickly found their way up bamboo vines, aided by unusually wet weather for Cebu in May.
By the third week of June, flowers and little sitaw started to appear…
…growing what seemed like several inches a week…
…and I harvested this first bunch of sitaw or long beans last week (some 10-11 weeks after we planted them)! They were fantastic! Most dishes use sitaw as a filler or one of several vegetables… but when you have farm fresh sitaw, I like them best in adobong sitaw, where sitaw is the main ingredient, along with a little pork and the soy, vinegar and a little garlic if you like it. Yum.