View from the Garden: Why Keep Your Very Own Hamptons Garden

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Why would you bother to keep your own little organic garden at your Hamptons home when we have so many great farmers markets offering local, organic produce?

Nothing is more local or more reliably organic than food grown in your own yard.

There’s “fresh,” defined by the FDA as: “food is in its raw state and has not been frozen or subjected to any form of thermal processing or any other form of preservation…The following do not preclude the food from use of the term “fresh:” The addition of approved waxes or coatings; The post-harvest use of approved pesticides; The application of a mild chlorine wash or mild acid wash on produce; or The treatment of raw foods with ionizing radiation not to exceed the maximum dose of 1 kiloGray in accordance with 179.26 of this chapter.”

And then there’s the kind of “fresh” that only comes from a dewy piece of baby kale, crunchy with cellulose.

1 Flavor. Nothing compares to a freshly pulled-from-the-dirt carrot—not even the greens-still-on bunches of local rainbow carrots at our local farmers markets.

2 Nutrition. There’s been a tedious argument promoted in the national press recently—‘are organics really more nutritious than conventionally farmed foods? Really?’ In most cases they likely are. What’s certain is that organics are universally LESS TOXIC than so-called conventional produce.

3 Health and Vigor. You can hire a professional gardener to tend to your vegetables and herbs or you can do it yourself. Find the level of involvement that works best for you. Maybe you want to see to all of the watering. Maybe you want to weed every Friday evening to de-stress…

4 Choice. Can’t find your favorite variety of baby greens or enough shiso to satisfy your appetite? Plant it!

5 Beauty. Vegetable gardens can be every bit as lovely as flowerbeds. Use materials like wood, bamboo and stone to corral your bounteous crops and they will fit right into a naturally beautiful aesthetic.

6 Earth mothering. Coconut, for example, might travel 4,000 food miles before it reaches your kitchen. The carbon footprint of spinach from your backyard? Possibly just what fossil fuel it took to mail you the seeds.

7 Bragging rights. You know all about these.

8 Chattiness. When you garden, you always have news and insights to share with a wide age range of people of every economic status. Food is universal.

9 Classiness. In case you live in a McMansion under a rock here’s an FYI—just as it’s classier to drive an old, boxy Mercedes (or a Prius) than it is to buy a new BMW every six months growing your own is far more “money” than having exotic fruits trucked to the backdoor of your home.

10 Frenchiness. You get to use the fabulously French word for kitchen garden—potager—daily.

Stacy’s work has appeared in The New York Times, Fine Gardening magazine and SeedBroadcast Agri-Culture Journal.

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