September 28 2009, 12:09 PM
This summer, I was a partner in my first official garden. We've had a ton of tomatoes, a few squash, and enough spinach to feed a small country. Our carrots did okay, our tomatillos were adorable, and the birds took off with our sweet strawberries. For a first garden, it wasn't too shabby. When we'd bring home a backpack of fresh-picked bounty, we'd lay it out on the kitchen table and brainstorm meal ideas for the fresh ingredients. As satisfying as it was, I was impressed when I read that Colorado Biz managing editor Mike Taylor had taken his harvest to a new level by spending a month eating entirely from his garden. Beyond learning how to create meals from his crops, he saw some health effects, including nearly 25 pounds in weight loss and a considerably shrunken appetite. But, he experienced some downsides, too. As he writes:
"â€¦ the bigger hardship was the emotional aspect, the constant, lingering anxiety over whether I had enough food in the garden to last for a month."He also notes that he felt a loss of community; he would sip water while out with friends at dinner. Due to a failed soybean crop, he gave in midway through the month to supplement his diet with every-other-day protein shakes. While few of us have the resources to embark on such a project (I'd have to add chickens next year), his realizations are inspiring. Most of us eat more than we need, and most of us are capable of growing what we need in our own backyards. I came away from the article renewed to plan my meals around seasonal produce, which not only reduces my carbon footprint but often is much more affordable than the grocery store. Want to join me in eating seasonally this month? Check out this local crop calendar, which lists apples, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, lettuce, and squash among other produce as fresh and in-season during October.