A short story — more like a description — of how I've come to appreciate organic fruits and vegetables today.
My parents uprooted our family from Precita off Cesar Chavez (once Army St) in San Francisco to the Victory Park neighborhood in Stockton. They bought a two bedroom bungalow with a big yard where they first planted an apple tree. Meyer lemon, orange, nectarine, peach, and plum followed; with two large garden boxes where tomatoes grew skyward and zucchinis crawled wayward with enough room for a squash to outgrow a dachshund. Everything was organic before I ever knew the word.
After I left for college, my parents planted new trees—ruby red grapefruit, pear, another apple, kumquat, Persian lime and others I can't remember. I only know what they bring me these days. I'm not there to see each tree from the nursery into the yard or to watch my father stomp on a shovel to break earth. I haven't crouched below the shade of an enormous squash leaf since I was a teen.
Careful! You just might get what you asked for!
I imagine someday I'll have a house with a yard and my son will argue against pulling weeds under the hot sun and I'll probably tell him like my dad told me, "Someday you won't be able to have fruits and vegetables that grow without pesticides. You'll have to buy your strawberries from the store!"
And maybe I'll get an arrogant reply like the one I mouthed back to my dad, "So what! I'll be living in the city so of course I'll buy things in a store. I'm moving to San Francisco when I grow up!" And that I did. Today I cringe at the thought of how hurtful my words were. My dad drove a taxi in San Francisco five days a week to afford our sunny life in Stockton, and only to enjoy it with us two days out of the week.
Thankfully, my parents still have their yard and they bring more food from their yard to me than I can finish. Fruits like these Persian limes, kumquats, Meyer lemons, and tangerines without the scary chemicals are expensive. And to think it was all once just a step away, into the backyard.
I love to cook easy, homestyle recipes for family and friends. In this blog, you'll find stories and recipes I've learned from families in China and other parts of the world.