Summer garden memories

The recent arrival of “Joe’s corn” at the Twin Springs Fruit Farm market triggered a discussion at our house of the vegetables we ate as children.  The two of us have very different experiences in that realm since one of us lived in the desert where there was no garden and little in the way of truly fresh produce in the stores while the other grew up in North Carolina in a family with a large garden so that veggies were a big part of the daily menu.  People laugh about the concept of putting a pot of water on the stove top to boil, walking into the garden, picking the corn, shucking it, putting directly into the pot and then taking it to the table; but that did happen on a daily basis when corn was in season.  And if you didn’t grow up with a father who dedicated a lot of his waking hours to tending and caring for his numerous tomato plants, your appreciation of that perfect, ripe tomato may not be as highly refined as some.

In contrast, gardens in the ‘suburbs’ outside of Las Vegas, Nevada were generally filled with rocks or cactus and therefore vegetables were found in the frozen food section of the grocery store or, in the case of several friends, on the store shelves … in cans. Dinners with Birds-Eye corn, carrots, peas, or green beans along with iceberg lettuce salads, a starch and a main course were the norm until we moved east. Needless to say, it was a bit of a shock to move to rural Virginia where the first order of business in the summer was to till the garden spot and plant our small collection of fruits and vegetables. If we were lucky enough to fend off the squirrels, raccoons and deer, we got to enjoy watermelon, cantaloupe, tomatoes, cucumbers, string beans… Most of the time however, these were rare treats and we continued with the frozen varieties.

Our love of farmers’ markets spans many years and different geographical locations, but in each case you quickly learn which farmers grow the things that appeal to you.  Even when we visit a multi-vendor market, we may buy tomatoes from one person, but corn from another.  Over time and with some experimentation you get to know who is growing that perfect tomato that appeals to you, or the juiciest peach, or the cantaloupe with the best flavor.

Today’s recipe is one we have been making for years, but it can only be made at the height of summer.  If the corn isn’t perfect and the tomatoes and green pepper aren’t at their peak, you should plan to fix something else.  Kentucky scramble is a fabulous brunch dish or at our house, a great dinner.  All those beautiful veggies plus bacon?  What more could you want?


Photo of Kentucky Scramble