As you know, gardening has been on my radar this year. I joined a community garden, and I’ve been fascinated as I’ve watched food—real, edible food!—grow on our plants. My friend Karmyn invited me to tour an organic farm today and I accepted. It was terrific.
First, let’s take a moment to marvel that a farm could be as close as fifteen miles from the city center. Who knew? We visited Suzie’s Farm in Imperial Beach, which is wedged into a space bordered by the Tijuana River Estuary, residential neighborhoods, freeways, and Mexico. Quite a varied intersection, but I find it charming that the farm has such different neighbors.
We arrived before ten and the sun already was strong. We threw on hats and grabbed our bags, as we’d been told we could pick our own vegetables. Our tour guide was a friendly woman named Leslie, who splits her time between the farm and the opera stage. Yes, that’s right. A natural combination! Well, why not? We all have different sides to our personalities, and having been a starving artist at one point, I can relate to the necessity of a side job. Leslie certainly has a passion for the many crops she showed us, and her enthusiasm made our adventure even more fun.
The number of plants we saw amazed me. The rows stretched out into the distance, meeting Eucalyptus trees and sunflowers. (The sunflowers are not merely decorative. The bees are attracted to the flowers, and they help pollinate tomato plants nearby. I love how much harmony there is in the natural world. Note to self: be more like bees.)
I love how plants sometimes throw us a curve ball. Most apples look the same, for example, but every once in a while you’ll get one that is an unusual twist on its usual form. Today’s surprise was an eggplant shaped like a gathered satin purse. I was in awe:
As our tour ended, we lugged our full bags back to our cars. I felt like I could start my own salsa-making company with the peppers and tomatoes I’d gathered. Instead, I gave some to our good friend Rosa. The rest may become pico de gallo to bring to our neighbors’get-together. Check out the bounty I collected:
Today’s visit is inspiring me to give more love to my plot at the community garden. I need to dig some coffee grounds and Epsom salt into the dirt. Maybe I’ll sing to it. Maybe I could get farmer Leslie to sing opera to my plants to help them grow. Either way, I’m excited. Seeing things grow just does this to me.