I go to the store and I bring home a cantaloupe. I cut it open and scoop out the seeds. It’s stringy and sticky, like a pumpkin. Only not as fun.
I can’t do this without thinking about one of my old college pals. She hated cantaloupes. The site of the seeds made her dry heave. She’d run to the sink and act like she was going to throw up.
That chick should have been an actress, but instead, she grabbed for some rich guy who climbed the ranks of some big company. Friends tell me he takes long trips while she stays home and gets fat.
Anyway, she always said the inside of a cantaloupe reminded her of brains.
I hate this cantaloupe. It might as well be a hedge apple. You can’t eat them either – unless you’re a squirrel. And, they really do look like brains.
I don’t know when fruit first started tasting so bad, but it was when my father was still young. He told me stories about growing up in Southeast Texas. Fishing in the creek and picking blackberries and peaches. His eyes grew misty with all the changes.
Every summer, we take the kids out to a picking farm off old Route 66 where they pick peaches. Some years they taste better than others. It’s quite an adventure, really.
One day, I reached my hand up to grab a peach and discovered the locusts got to it me before me. My scream echoed through the orchard and my babies came running.
“What happened mommy?” they asked
In the same twang my father used when he talked about southeast Texas, I told them a cloud of locusts had a dinner party on my sweet round peach.
They laughed and sunk their teeth into the blush of summer.
“I haven’t paid for that yet,” I said. “You could go to jail.”
They giggled and spit out the pit.
Tower Gardens, Juice Plus+ and Future Growing
Someone should go to jail for what they’re doing to our fruit.
In a few weeks, my son Sullivan will turn 9. The passage of time is a sucker punch. I double over when I realize all that I have not yet done for him. I haven’t taught him the 66 books of the Bible or how to ice skate really fast in case soccer doesn’t work out.
This year, for Sully’s 9th birthday, I’m buying him a Tower Garden by JuicePlus+. It’s kind of feng shui, vertical tech garden innovated by a Tim Blank, a scientist and former Greenhouse Manager at Epcot Center.
Blank is the Founder and CEO of Future Growing and developer of Tower Garden®. He has young kids of his own and he invented this thing with them in mind. He knows how disconnected Generation Z is from harvest. He’s grown more than 100 different food crops from around the world and wants his kids to experience tasty food.
He’s actually doing business with Scissortail Farms out of Tulsa, which is utilizing patented Tower Garden technology. It’s great news for the local farm-to-table movement. Restaurant owners will be able to provide customers with year-round produce in spite of our horrible winters.
What I love about the Tower Garden is there’s no weeding and bugs aren’t a big problem. Maybe fruit will taste like it did when my father’s generation was young — when kids still ran through fields.
I can’t wait for Sully to grow his own bibb lettuce and kale. Cucumbers and berries. Maybe even watermelon and tomatoes. I wish I could give my son a real farm and fields to run through. The city has stunted him as it has all of us. This tape I cannot unwind. Will he ever grab a rope and swing across a creek. I am so sick of our grab-and-go living. Our flash frozen lives.
Tim Blank dreams of every family having their own Tower Garden. He say that kids who grow their own vegetables will eat their own vegetables. I believe this and I can’t wait to give Sully his Tower Garden and then just sit back and watch him grow.This post is an updated version of a commentary that aired on KOSU Radio, an NPR Station in Oklahoma City. Click here to listen to Watching Things Grow on KOSU.org.