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Acquiring a Taste for Fresh

"O taste and see that the Lord is good;" Psalm 34:8

When I was in college, a really good friend of mine preferred instant freeze-dried coffee to that made from freshly ground coffee beans. I did all I could to convince her of what she was missing. When she finally tasted freshly ground coffee, she made a face and said, “That just tastes wrong.” Many of us have become so accustomed to “instant” foods that fresh grown produce can literally taste wrong. While I agree that personal preference may often be at play here, there are also many of us who have just not yet acquired a taste for fresh.

When I began eating fresh seasonal produce, I immediately preferred the intense and bold flavor of the “real deal.” You will definitely notice a change in the taste of the greens and root vegetables coming your way. The spinach is more robust in texture and sweeter in flavor. The freeze lends sweetness to root crops like carrots, beets, rutabagas, and turnips. But it also spices up the spring and braising mixes.

With enough freezing weather, the voracious appetites of the caterpillars die a wintery death along with them. However, you will notice by the holes in some of your spinach leaves – evidence that the little green guys and gals are alive and well. If you find the spinach has too much caterpillar damage to suit a salad, chop up the leaves and throw them in soup or an omelet. If the braising greens pack too much punch, tone them down by roasting them in the oven with caramelized onions and garlic.

One of the things that amazes me about the winter season, is the way seasonal vegetables and fruits complement our nutritional needs. Autumn pomegranates are loaded with anti-oxidants and Winter citrus is loaded with vitamin C: both incredibly needed for protecting us from cold and flu viruses. Root crops abound in vitamins and minerals that keep us healthier. This week, in addition to your greens, you will be receiving cauliflower, brocolli, and rutabagas along with a few beets and carrots. According to Dr. Josh Axe, “Rutabagas are essentially a cross between cabbage and turnips, so they provide many of the same benefits. They’re high in fiber and a great source of vitamin C, with about 47 percent of your recommend daily intake. Additionally, they’re a high source of zinc, which plays a role in immune health, brain function, mood regulation, metabolism and protection from physiological stress, and help fight zinc deficiency. With a similar taste to turnips and white potatoes, they come out great when roasted and caramelized.”

If you are new to the world of rutabagas, check out the new recipe from Rachel Hanawalt at

Eating Crow and Having Some Humble Pie

You will also want to check us out on Facebook!! I know, some of you are wondering if I am “eating a little crow” (and choking on it) now that Wellspring Charitable Gardens has ushered me into the world of Social Media. Yes, I probably will have some humble pie ala mode after all the years of staying out of the Facebook scene and bemoaning the superficiality of making “friends on facebook.” Fortunately, I know most of you personally – and I love that!! But perhaps I will learn to appreciate the community of facebook friendships and eat some more crow as I learn the value of this amazing 21st century medium for communication.

Extending Gratitude

I want to give a huge “thank you” to Chris Leonard for his generosity of time and talent in the design and maintenance of our new website. We will be managing our Charitable Garden with some new technology thanks to his expertise and willingness to mentor me in the process. I will need to ask for your patience as we come on-line and make all the necessary adjustments.

Garden Reflection

As I reflect on the idea of acquiring a taste for fresh produce, I can't help but consider the spiritual parallels. Many of us were exposed to religion, but have we acquired a taste for the Lord? Have we settled for what others say about God, or have we been willing to "taste and see" for ourselves? Preparing and eating fresh produce takes time and practice but it is well worth the effort. Are we willing to take the time and practice to acquire a taste for spiritual truth that enlightens our spiritual eyes and ultimately satisfies the hunger of our souls? Lord Jesus, gives us eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to understand who You are. Amen.

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