Denise DuBarry Hay
I spent some of my formative young years living in Honduras just above the banana plantation that my father managed for Standard Fruit Company. There was always a lot of talk about how to transport fruits effectively from farms in other countries to stores in America so as not to damage or bruise them and other challenges in growing bananas in the tropics.
In between moving from one Central American country to another, we lived in Guatemala, Mexico and Costa Rica too, I also visited my grandparents for months at a time on their farm in Louisiana. Grandma could grab a chicken with one hand, wring its neck, pluck its feathers and have chicken and dumplings ready for dinner that night. Farm life met basic needs and rarely did we need to shop for food. All of Grandma’s vegetables were picked daily and shelling peas and shucking corn was one of our jobs as kids. They didn’t think about it but, that was a smart way to keep our hands busy and connected to our food. I thought it was magical to go out in the garden and pick vegetables that you could eat right there on the spot. It was an honor to be allowed to do it as she didn’t trust everyone not to trample her plants or too pull too hard and damage the tiny buds next to the vegetables being picked. My childhood established an appreciation for what it takes to grow food.
In my teen and adult life, living in urban areas is not conducive to having a garden but I always tried to have a least a pot of basil or rosemary growing as I love to be able to pick my own fresh anything. When our family discussed the idea of starting Secret Beach Organics in Kauai, I voted ‘Yes’! There’s nothing like having a kitchen full of fresh bananas, papayas, dragon fruit, eggplants, kale, ginger, turmeric and whatever else is ready that day. I can feel the live energy and vitality from the freshly picked produce nourishing my body with every bite. I feel very lucky!