I have a friend. His name is Brody. He lives in St. Paul. He likes to dig for treasure, zip line in his backyard, and putter around in his small garden.
He’s 3. He has an awesome life.
One day, Brody and his dad were weeding the garden and harvesting their cucumbers. Brody, sticking his red-headed self into the cucumber vines spotted the very last cucumber waaaay in the back. He carefully plucked the cucumber from the vine, correctly twisting the tube from the stem, leaving potential for future growth. Excitedly, he ran to his dad, yelling,
“I found one, I found one! Can I ask mom to make me cucumber cookies?” Before his father could say, “You betcha!” Brody tore through the backdoor, into the kitchen, where his mom and little sister Violet were preparing lunch. He carefully handed her the cucumber and requested his favorite cookies. His mom rinsed the cucumber as Brody danced impatiently around the kitchen, waiting for his cookies. She sliced the cucumber into thin rounds, and handed Brody his “cookies.” He gleefully ran outside, ready to enjoy his “cookies” where he grew them.
A little locavore and he doesn’t even realize it. During this locavore challenge, I often hear parents of young children complain about the struggle to get their children to eat vegetables. They share their tips on “hiding” the vegetables or covering them in a butter sauce or cheese, or other “kid-friendly” products. Whenever I hear these stories, I offer Brody’s recipe for cucumber cookies. Brody loves those cookies because he made them. He tended to the plant from seedling on up. Don’t mask the flavor of the vegetables, celebrate them! No land? Grow a small pot of herbs, go to the farmer’s market, and visit the Sprouts table (where we have a fresh local vegetable or fruit for the kids to try at each market), and pick out a vegetable with the children and prepare the vegetable with the herb! Visit a city farm (there are many, ask Growing Power or Growing Home at the market), join a CSA, or just make the outing to the market an adventure! Make some cucumber cookies!
Brody loves his vegetables because he’s invested in them and his parents take the time to encourage that investment.
Of course, this could just be that this little guy loves his vegetables. One night, Brody’s parents brought home pizza for dinner. With two working parents, sometimes dinner needs to be fast. Brody, while picking at his pizza, asked his parents,
“Can I have some carrots?”
His mother, on autopilot after a long work day, started to respond, “Not until you finish your piz—.” Looking at her husband, she realized what she almost said, started laughing, and cut Brody his carrots.