It’s February, and I’m late for placing my seed orders again. This growing season, we finished harvesting our leeks, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts Dec. 15, under a blanket of snow. With the barn full to overflowing with thousands of pounds of organic produce, I thought we’d never sell it all. Wrong! The economy seems to be waking up, and there’s a consumer interest in buying local/seasonal sweeping faster than a Canadian mogul skier!
It seems like just a couple of weeks ago we put our crops safely away for the Winter, yet now I have to start seeding the long-season plants for the upcoming year already. This is part of the reason we need such lead times to accomodate chefs sometimes. It takes a minimum of 110 days to grow something like winter leeks and Brussels sprouts, and some varieties of seed are scarce. For both reasons, letting me know what you want in January is better than August!
But I digress. The point I was going to make has to do with the Winter Olympics. As I compile my orders for our season, I’m struck by the sheer abundance of flavours and varieties of delicious, healthy vegetables we manage to coax out of our farm each year. As the orders get sent, I have a mental picture of the landscape of my farm, and it’s cornucopia, as though it were nutritional potential enegy in a physics equation, waiting to be transferred to kinetic through the act of seeding, growing, and harvesting. My order coincides with the Winter Olympics, so my mind is also filled with the images of athletes finally getting the chance to compete in the sports they have trained so hard for. Some acheive success, some, not so much. Since mine is a food-based world, I tend to think about what these athletes are putting in their bodies to fuel their training regimen and help acheive their maximum potential on race day (well, we do know that at least 30 athletes put something in their bodies they shouldn’t have, and so got to watch instead!). The first competition I watched on television was the women’s mogul event, in which Canada took Silver. The first three commercials that aired were, I kid you not, MacDonalds, Coca Cola, and Kraft Dinner. I’m sure Tim Hortons was represented within the next two or three commercial breaks. If Wheaties cereal used to be called the breakfast of champions, what would the aforementioned diet produce in our athletic system? My guess is diabetics. Are we not sending a signal to our future olympians that’s as mixed as a triple sowcow? Julius Caesar said (I think), that an army marches on it’s stomach. Along with training, an olympian conquers on his stomach, so we’d better start focussing on what we’re putting in it, and I’m pretty sure it shouldn’t be something you can drive up to a window and have dumped in your car. We stopped having tobacco companies endorsing sporting events due to health perceptions, maybe we should look at the next least healthy industry, fast food?