Monday, December 19, 2011

homegrown green

homegrown bokchoy

homegrown celery

A family friend has the most amazing backyard garden. So what do they plant it with, in the middle of suburban Mississauga? The most amazing Chinese vegetables of course. This gets me so excited, seeing them go out back with shears and coming back with muddy armfuls of the freshest, greenest, and most flavoursome greens you'll ever eat.

The first was a bunch of bok choy. They grow well into the fall, with the Chinese especially prizing what is referred to as frost-touched. Once the temperature drops, crops are susceptible to frost in the morning. This slight freezing and thawing transforms the texture of the bok choy, making it crisp. Intensifies flavour too. And my goodness, they were amazing. We got some celery too - from Chinese stock, not the thick, watery, tasteless nonsense people here think of as celery. A bit tougher, but with that incredible green, herbaceous flavour.

It's all like planting cabernet sauvignon outside of Bordeaux right? Similar character, but different terroirs yield something . . . different, no? So are these vegetables still Chinese, or in some strange way, Canadian? Can you call a Niagara pinot noir a Burgundy? I guess I just answered my own question.

I want a garden where I can plant tomato, basil, mint, and magic.


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