I feel pretty confident in saying that, other than Arbor Day, Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
Of course, on Arbor Day you don't get a free pass to eat whatever you want (why do you think they call it stuffing?);
you really can't convince yourself to break out the expensive wine; nor do you have the excuse to sit on the couch
with your pants unbuttoned.
Truth be known, I kick myself every Thanksgiving because I should have kept a pair of my wife's pregnancy pants. You
know, the ones with the giant elastic waistband that can accommodate the ever-growing tummy full of baby (or thirds
on mashed potatoes). They would be borderline manpris," but I would still be comfortable with that.
OK, is it too late to change my mind? Don't get me wrong, I love an excuse to plant a tree. But I really love an
excuse to eat tons of tasty food, hang out with my extended family, plant myself on the couch and watch the Denver
Broncos (I'm appreciating trees more right now), be asleep by 8:30 p.m., and then wake up and go skiing.
That sounds awesome.
When I was planning today's dinner, I quickly realized that for 2010, I need to do a better job at planning and
planting crops in my garden that will store well enough that I can use them throughout the year. I still have enough
potatoes for mashers and apples for pie, but onions, garlic, Brussels sprouts, squash and green beans were not
planted, not canned, or not planted in enough quantity.
This dilemma is one that can also be extrapolated to the entire county. I have learned that there is a tremendous
abundance in our area - meat, fruits, grains and vegetables - but we can be at fault for not providing the means to
use those products well into the winter.
For fruits and vegetables, growers need dedicated space for storage, primarily in the form of refrigeration and root
cellars. Both cost money, are additional infrastructure and require additional care at harvesting.
It would be wonderful if we could centralize this storage, make products available for additional months and support
our agricultural community. Does something like this exist? Is it possible? Who would fund it? What about access to a
modern certified kitchen - complete with efficient appliances and space - where these growers (or others) could take
our local bounty and turn it into value-added products (juices, preserves, canned produce, baked goods)?
None of these ideas are new concepts and there are definite challenges involved, primary of which are space and
However, I will add all of them to my wishlist and would love input on how to make these things happen.
What we do have is the community - and that is vital. We have a community that has repeatedly demonstrated its
support for local agriculture and shown that we have the foundation of what makes communal storage and a communal
It's community. And ours never ceases to amaze me.
email@example.com or 382-6464. Darrin Parmenter is
director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office.