My husband and I own a small market farm just outside of town. We grow vegetables from April through November. Market season is hands down, my favorite time of year. I live for the smell, and the food, and the people. One of our earliest crops is Red Rover Radish. Every year we pack high piles of ruby red crisp radish with deep greens.
This year, it became very cold, and very hot and then cold again, and then hot again and the weather could not make up its mind. And just when things started to germinate, the earwigs feasted on the tiny perfect green leaves. So most of our crops either bolted, or the seeds had difficulties germinating, and we found ourselves very low on produce when market season arrived. We spent hours planting and re-planting and weeding and watering, and waiting. Only to find the crops we counted on were not performing the way they always had.
I shared my frustrations with a farmer friend of mine, and a few days later she sent me a message that total redeemed our seasons flops. She shared the story of another farmer who had bolted radish crops. The farmer was as livid as we were when the the thousands of beautiful round balls, were eaten from the inside out by cut worms. She left the crop and started over some where else. Then, she noticed the flowers of the radish were edible, and the seed pods were used in many delicious dishes! Who knew, radish pods?
So a few weeks later when our arugula bolted and developed thousands of tiny pods, I decided to be like to radish farmer. We harvested several rounds of flowers and spicy pods. How is it possible that something “ruined” can turn out to be the best treat?
I thought about all of the things in life that, despite our best efforts, go wrong. You guys, marriages fail, and people desert us, and our dreams go sour. And in every hint of loss there is untapped hope. We can find a seed pod in every ruined crop. Sometimes we have to wait. It takes time for a plant to flower. Sometimes, we need help to see the fruit from the weeds. Sometimes ,the harvest we end up with is nowhere near the one we originally intended. Sometimes we end up with something better.