Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Homestead Snobbery/Onion Time
It's never a fun experience to be a homesteader, fresh out of your homegrown crop, forced to head into the supermarket to buy it there. Some kinds of produce feel OK for me to buy: It's too cold in winter to grow avocadoes here, so I have no qualms about heading into town when I need avocadoes for guacamole. Ditto for peaches; our tree is not large enough to produce more than one or two pieces of fruit yet, which means I will be visiting either the supermarket or Farmer's Market if I want some nice, ripe Elbertas.
But my Spring 2014 onion crop has now been consumed by us, and so the other day I had to throw three or four red onions into my shopping cart and that hurt. It's silly, because my pain was mainly because of 1) homestead snobbery, where I feel my own onions are vastly superior and fresher to anything grown at the market and 2)more homestead snobbery, where I feel snooty and self-sufficient because I know that (for most of the year) I can head outside and dig up some onions almost anytime I need them. Onions just aren't really ever on my shopping list -- at least not 95 percent of the time. And really, there is nothing better than an onion whose time from ground to skillet is less than 10 minutes. It's true.
But even on the best homesteads, sometimes you run out of a crop before you have another one ready to go, and so it was with me and onions. And so today I plant new ones.
I will put about 10 onions in the ground today, another 10 next month, 10 more after that, and so on. Sometimes this works, and the onions mature at evenly spaced intervals, and sometimes (like when we get a ton of late, warm weather like we've had recently) it does not, and they come of age at roughly the same time and I end up shortchanged at the end of the season.
Of course if I had some kind of cold storage or a cellar, I could harvest them all at once and store them, but since this is an old complaint I won't go there today.
But it does feel good to know that we're once again back in the onion business. I cry when I have them, and I cry when I don't, but I'd rather cry over a fresh, pulled-from-the-ground onion than an empty onion bed any day. And let's not even talk about the tears of shame which spring up at the onion bin at the supermarket when I'm standing over it.
Yes, along with the pride of growing things yourself, there is also the disappointment when you have to start buying it at the grocery store again. So I'll just say it. My name is Hot Flash Homestead, and I am a homestead snob. There. I said it.