farm marketGardens are a way of life in Appalachia. Ours went from producing lettuce in May to potatoes in September. But the best time was July into August when we’d eat tomatoes, sweet corn, and green beans with new potatoes.

Of course, gardens take a LOT of work and time.

When we first moved to Western NC we met some of our neighbors and stumbled upon the BEST way to get good garden produce. Neighbors who over-plant.

That first summer I had access to all the tomatoes we could eat. There was also corn, squash of several varieties, and cucumbers. Another neighbor down the street grew greasy cut shorts (a type of bean) and tommy toes (grape tomatoes).

By the third summer, I had a row all my own in the neighbor’s garden.

Unfortunately, the combination of raccoons, other interests, and five ears of corn for a dollar at the grocery store eventually drove our neighbor out of the garden business. Now I have to go to the local farmer’s market and PAY for garden goods.

Of course, they’re worth every penny.

My last haul included broccoli, the first tomato of the season, green beans, squash, leeks, and cucumbers. In ADDITION to a pot of mint, bagels, a goat cheese and tomato tart, and scallops! That would be the UP side of the farmer’s market–there’s much more than fruit and vegetables these days.

Do you grow a garden? What do you absolutely HAVE to include in it?