I love good food. For that, I must thank my father.
We are never so in harmony as when we are hunched over some new or exciting food, our identical dark brown eyes meeting over a celery root, a tiny tin of beluga, or a beautiful bite of fruit. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised then, that my decision to become an Urban Farmer began with a visit from my father.
I'd just finished reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, Barbara Kingsolver's account of her year-long experiment eating only local food. (What the book detailed best was the feast/famine aspect of living off local produce. An entire winter without fruit and then, suddenly, the ecstasy of cherries. How, after gorging on them for weeks, and reaching the point where you felt you'd never want a cherry again, they would be suddenly gone, not to reappear for 11 long months. And then...Peaches! And the cycle starts over. )
At any rate, the book was rumbling in my head as I watched my father prowl around my yard, searching for the perfect lemon to squeeze into his tequilita. I was proud that my yard had lemons that my father coveted, proud that despite my benign neglect, my yard was pretty and productive. That it could be prettier, I had no doubt. That it could be more productive, I was certain. And in that moment, watching my father grab his prize from a tall branch, I decided to make it so. Not that I had grand plans at that point. Just a single plan. A single, productive, and tasty plan.
As a sounding board, you can't do better than my father. He's very pragmatic. And though he bites his tongue, I can tell from the tone of his mildly accented voice when he thinks I'm going off the deep end with one of my crazy schemes. So I bounced the idea off of him.
"So, Dad," I asked, watching him slice into the lemon, "What do you think of me putting a chicken coop in my side yard?"
My father paused in his slicing, and turned those so-like-mine eyes in my direction. "Fresh eggs?" He asked, making a vague moaning sound. I knew what he was picturing. A visit, some time in the not-too-distant future. A simple meal. A blue plate holding a perfect soft-boiled egg, its orange yoke like a sun against the sky. Beside it, a small pile of sparkling kosher salt, and a wedge of crusty, buttery toast. He raised a knuckle to his mouth, and chewed.
I grinned and nodded. "Yep. Fresh eggs."