There are plenty of reasons to have them of course; but one particular point has been on my mind the last few days.

Along about September, I am begging for a frost: the bugs are having a field day, I can’t go away without mutant squash sprouting, there is an overall sense of rot and decay…and the freezer is in decent shape.   But then comes the end of February: the snow is still snowing, cold enough that where it isn’t ice it is drifting, there isn’t a green thing in sight, my car is grey*…and the freezer…

Well, it isn’t just the freezer, it is also the jelly cabinet.  I am charged with shopping and keeping the dinner budget within shouting distance of inflation.  But, the wealth of a garden is beyond measure.  This week I was playing around with some pork chops and chicken thighs.  One night: pork chops braised in a sauce of elderberry jam and mint vinaigrette; another night pork chops in a strawberry/fig (thank you Betsy!) with sage (freshly frozen) and onion; another night, a bit of apple butter, or maybe some tarragon butter for the baked chicken, or maybe a winter squash as a side dish, or some frozen green beans, or some parsley on the the top….  Now the pork chops and chicken don’t come from here, but elderberry jam and mint vinegar?! You can Not buy that.  Not here anyway.

February and the vegetable garden more than answers the need.  Maybe we couldn’t live off it year round; but we certainly couldn’t eat the way we do unless it was there.

*It is grey anyway, but it is Grey-er.