When I was 19, I created a life list or bucket list. At the time it seemed like a great idea, but the exercise left me surprised by how little I understood what I wanted in life. Most of the things on the list are simple pleasures mixed in with a few extraordinary feats (a.k.a. Mt. Everest). One item on the list was to have a garden, and I have been able to grow something almost every year since I created the list. My current yard is mostly shade, but I found a sunny spot and took out one of the foundational plants I didn’t like to make room for some heirloom tomatoes.
Of the three varieties that I planted, the Cherokee Purple variety has been the first type to ripen. They are delicious!
I’m not a big fan of raw tomatoes, especially the tasteless grocery store variety. These heirlooms are beautiful and bursting with flavor. I get a real sense of satisfaction from planning, planting, and eating whatever I can coax to grow. While life list items like “plant a garden” seem mundane at first glance, sometimes I wonder if my 19 year old self was wiser than I give her credit for being. Maybe she knew that simple pleasures are actually life essentials- the little markers that shape each year and bring us satisfaction and even joy.
Tomatoes, fresh basil (also from the garden), olive oil, salt and pepper.