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Growing Up With a Gardener
In my Core author bio, I mention that I grew up with a father “with a green thumb the size of Texas”. But what I didn’t adequately explain is how my Dad’s garden would produce a bumper crop of something each and every summer.
We were a family of four and my sister, Emily, and I were so skinny that our Papa regularly attempted to fatten us up like we were show pigs. What I’m getting at is this: the four in our family couldn’t consume all that my Dad planted in and harvested from his approximately one acre garden. But that was the point. My dad grew veggies so that he could share them with friends and neighbors. And half my hometown.
There was “The Year of the Cantaloupe” which coincided with our road trip to Disney World. My sister and I sat in the backseat with all of our luggage, since the trunk was packed with melons. Dad had identified and mapped out family and long lost friends from Burkburnett, TX to Orlando, FL, who would be getting a fresh cantaloupe special delivery. What he didn’t plan for was the cloud of cantaloupe aroma (which is quite nice in reasonable doses) that overtook the car anytime we’d stop. Emily and I shattered world records for bladder control on that trip.
When Kelly, The Visualizer, first wrote about nostalgic marketing and Mackenzie, The Promoter, followed it up with her Blackberry Daydreams post, I was afraid this article might turn into a scroll-a-thon since fresh produce doesn’t pop up just once or twice in the playback of my childhood. It WAS my childhood.
Most kids have a lemonade stand. My sister and I peddled corn on the cob. We would even shuck it for a little extra green. Our teachers didn’t get apples, they got okra and squash. A bumper crop of tomatoes occurred simultaneously, yet not coincidentally, to “The Year of the Fruit Fly”. Adjacent to his garden was Dad’s strawberry patch whose little white flowers signaled the arrival of big red berries which became dozens of jars of the best strawberry jam I’ve ever eaten in my life (that was one food my Papa didn’t have to convince me to eat).
It just seems natural that I ended up in the fresh produce industry. I was raised to view fresh fruits and vegetables as “special occasion gift-worthy” and I still feel that way today. When I talk with second and third generation growers I hear repeatedly that they’ve followed in their families’ footsteps because it’s “in their blood” and I get it. Because it’s in mine, too.
Posted by The Health Nut (Brock Nemecek)