It’s the time of the year when we want to wrap up a few of our passions and joys and share them with friends and family. Sharing your love of gardening and great food is the perfect way to show you care.
If you’re lucky, you still have plenty of produce to give as gifts. Although we gardeners may tend to take our home-grown food for granted, those who don’t garden are always impressed with the vibrant taste and rich flavor of even stored produce. We have given sacks of potatoes, bunches of carrots, bags of onions, strings of garlic heads and wreaths of dried peppers and all have been much appreciated. There are also squash, apples and pears to share. Fill a basket with an assortment of produce and just wait for the rave reviews.
If you don’t have any stored fresh produce, how about frozen items? We regularly freeze gallons and gallons of raspberries and a friend’s tree provides us with plenty of tart cherries to freeze. Do you have any saved blueberries or strawberries? With today’s interest in smoothies for breakfast or even lunch, frozen fruit is particularly appreciated.
Have you priced specialty foods lately? Home-preserved foods are a super treat that only gardeners can provide. Canned dilly beans, salsa, tomatoes, jams and jellies make terrific gifts. Dress up the jar with a ribbon or a foil wrapper and you’re good to go. If you have friends on special diets, think ahead to next year and plan to produce some salt-free or sugar-free jars of food.
If you’re running short of garden food, give promises. Print a certificate or coupon book entitling the recipient to fresh food once a week all summer long. Cut photos from your garden catalog and mount them on a wreath or a card as a more visual gift. For years, we made regular deliveries of fruit and vegetables and our friends just loved them.
Sharing our love of gardening can be as simple as giving a gift certificate to a magazine such as Fine Gardening or Organic Gardening or as complex as donating a basket full of necessary tools and seeds. A trowel, a pair of gardening gloves and some simple to grow seeds might be just the ticket to get a reluctant grower motivated.
Time is running short for shopping. Some of the best gifts ever are those that promise a bit of your time. As gardeners age, they might find that digging and weeding are more difficult with each passing year. Even young gardeners may be overwhelmed with the enormity of clearing a long-neglected patch. We owe our purple raspberry harvest to good friends from New York City who come out each spring. Two years ago they spent hours digging perennial weeds and rescuing the hidden canes. This spring they planted hundreds of canna bulbs for us. We couldn’t do it without them. Make your pledge to a friend to help them with a project that they have been postponing for lack of time, motivation or the fear of failure.
Give a gift of knowledge and help your friends stay attuned to the issues and interests of country living with a subscription to The Country Today. It’s a perfect way to keep your friends and family abreast of news that matters to them.
Gardeners are very lucky people. Full of optimism for the future — next year will be even better — we get physical exercise and fresh air and also get food to eat! Share your passion with your friends this season. Spread the joy.
Beverly Carney can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.