When my husband and I were first married, we lived in a tiny 600 square foot garden-level apartment just outside of Washington, D.C. For two and a half years the two of us and our big black lab-retriever mix, shared the cozy one-bedroom space.
As a lifelong lover of all things food and cooking, I decided to take on the challenge of eating locally produced foods. For us this would prove especially interesting, as we ironically had no space for the most local of all produce-- a home garden-- in our garden apartment.
I began shopping at farmers markets, attempting to make recipes from odd seasonal produce, meeting farmers and visiting their farms, and preparing home cooked meals on a mostly-daily basis. Some days it seemed easy to be a locavore, and other days we struggled to prepare oddities such as the cardoon.
And then, six months into the experiment I received a surprising and life changing email. A local private chef had found The Garden Apartment while conducting a google search, and wondered whether I was interested in being her assistant. With no formal culinary training, I hesitated initially. It seemed like a big risk, and a crazy jump from my six year career in education.
But of course, I did it.
And over one year later, I still am working as a culinary assistant. Though there is a lot of dish-washing and hard work in this position, there's also a lot of hands-on learning, experimenting, and tasting. My already food-oriented brain is now a little finer tuned, and increasingly creative and successful at kitchen experiments.
And of course, there's the other big change. My husband and I now reside in a real house with a real yard on a quiet street in a residential neighborhood about twenty minutes outside of Washington, D.C. Here, we hope to become even better locavores as we start our very own garden this coming spring, maintain our own compost pile, and shop at the farmers market in our new neighborhood.
It may not be the garden apartment anymore, but the garden apartment is and always will be the inspiration for the lifestyle we choose to live.
About my categories:
While most are self-explanatory, here's what to expect when you see this:
"Di(sh)patch from the Farmer's Market": I visit a local market, describe the experience, then create a meal with the ingredients purchased that day.
"Issues": This covers issues related to sustainable and responsible food consumption.
"Wining and Dining": I review restaurants that focus on local and/or sustanable ingredients. In addition, I visit vineyards and wine festivals in the northern Virginia and DC area.
K-12 education, reading, yoga, spending time with family and friends, the outdoors, photography, wine tasting, and cooking (of course!)