Angela Jamison is a native Montanan and she grew up in beautiful Bozeman. I'm the mother of two girls and write a blog about our life here and taking in the simple pleasures of family and food.
The time has come. The garden is in and thanks to a warm June is growing happily. The Bogert Farmer’s Market fills the park on Tuesday evenings while the Gallatin Valley Farmers Market takes Saturdays. Local produce is popping up at the grocery store and food is getting colorful. We may not get a long growing season here in Bozeman, but we take full advantage of the months we have. And with planning and taking the time to preserve your harvest you can be eating zucchini and tomatoes months past the growing season. Nothing makes a cold December day better than opening the freezer and using garden tomatoes in your pasta sauce. It has taken some time, but we have found a way to eat only fresh, local produce during the summer months.
It began when my husband took an interest in gardening. The first year was a couple tomato plants on the side of our deck. The next year it was moved to a bigger part of the yard and cucumbers joined in. Each year the garden has doubled as has the variety of produce. And, we didn’t stop there…raspberry bushes and strawberry plants joined in on the fun. We tried blueberries, but they didn’t dig the cold winters around here so it was replaced with an apple tree. Thanks to the husband our garden produces an abundance each summer. Our kids stop mid-play to run over and grab a few peas or a handful of raspberries to snack on. In the fall we have enough pumpkins to share with cousins and friends. And of course we save a few for pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving.
Gardens are funny things…once you start you are no longer satisfied with vegetables that traveled miles to get to the grocery store. You can taste the difference in a tomato fresh off the vine and one that was ripened in a box. Suddenly waiting for our garden to produce wasn’t good enough. We wanted it sooner. Luckily, Bozeman is awesome and there are several CSA’s with greenhouses where shares begin as our garden is just being planted. CSA’s are amazing things…you get a share each week with what is freshest at the time of picking. It’s a surprise every week and this makes cooking and eating creative. I never knew until our CSA how delicious brussel sprouts could be or what an amazing vegetable kale was. I never knew there were so many things you could do with cabbage and what a garlic scape was. It was a whole new world of vegetables and I was thrilled to be exploring it.
This year is the first we decided against a CSA. As much as we love them our garden and that of some family has grown enough we are hoping for an over abundance without one. Luckily, in the meantime we have the choice of two fantastic farmers markets to go to. And going to the farmer’s market becomes a family event. Tuesday nights at Bogert are filled with dinner at the park, live music and ice cream while picking out our veggies for the week. I hold this farmer’s market close to my heart because I have been going since I was a child.
We may not get a long growing season here. And we may long for the taste of a fresh tomato in the middle of February and sadly know we are months away from it. But the one thing we do is make sure to take full advantage of the months we have. And that makes it taste that much sweeter.