My first job was picking tomatoes on a small, family run farm in my hometown of Basking Ridge, New Jersey.
The farmer was a funny old man with big, bushy white eyebrows and dark, deeply wrinkled skin, weathered from years spent working in the sun. He kept to himself for the most part, however he would invite his helpers into the kitchen now and again, and feed us things he grew on his land.
Some days I also worked the farm stand, selling the tomatoes I had picked, as well as corn, cantaloupe and bell peppers. Those were the days when you could leave out a tin can for customers to put cash in if they wanted to purchase goods after hours.
I didn’t know then that one day I would grow up and become a nutritionist, and that the funny old farmer would be my first teacher on the subject of edible things. Since then I have learned a lot about food, and have been blessed to teach what I know to others who want to listen.
Know where your food comes from– this is the seed of knowledge he planted. Now I ask this question every time I purchase something, and get the answer by reading the food label, asking the seller of the product or talking with the farmer directly.
Unfortunately his farm died along with him, as have most of the farms in my hometown in New Jersey.