Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Ho, Ho, Ho, Green Canada
If I had my little way, I’d eat peaches every day…
Millions of peaches… are rolling into Toronto. Sure, down south I’ve eaten many a delicious fuzzy fruit, but I'm stoked for Ontario peach season. Let me tell you a little story about these northern peaches.
Before I moved to Toronto, I put down a deposit for a room in a shared home – a prime Craigslist find, with 9 roommates, no locks, no keys, and no rules. Well, turns out communal living isn't really my cup of tea (...Ei, I'm not sure if that guy's a new roommate, somebody's friend, or a street busker...)
When I first arrived at my new digs, I pushed open the unhinged front door to meet my surprised - and eager - landlord.
“You must be Chelsea! Welcome! Perfect timing! I was hoping you’d get here today! Hey, I could really use your rent money! Right away!”
“Oh. Hi. Uh… Now?”
The friendly Canadian proprietor smiled down at my Greyhound-blurred eyes.
“I only have American money.”
"It’s ok, I’ll give you a tour of the neighborhood bank! Let’s go! Here, take a peach!"
He grabbed a peach from a side-table basket and chucked it at me. As he turned me around, pack still on my back, to head outside again, I bit into the heavy, ripe fruit.
Ok - it was a strange moment. I was questioning my sanity - the decision to move to Canada - this northern breed of Americans... But, that's not the point of this story.
Ahem - I’ve spent time in Atlanta, but I’m not from Georgia; it’s safe for me to say: that was the best damn peach I’ve ever tasted.
Those *open-minded* friends had a unique Canadian existence. No one I've met before or since comes close. That said, their liberal views - perhaps pushed to the extreme - stem from a common progressive Canadian mentality. This progressive nature may be the root of today's subject: Canadian gardening. Whereas, in The States, hoses and hoes (Get your mind out of the gutter, Ei!) are reserved for the elderly, gardens in Toronto grow equally high in all yards. College students dig alongside professors. Chefs weed next to bartender friends. You catch my drift. Who knew Canadians had such green thumbs. (Tongues, too!)
Despite the differences that unfolded between my roommates and I (Did Steve just skin a raccoon?), I admired their free-loving devotion to the earth. I had no idea a hairy anarchist could be a encyclopedia of vegetation. And for all its kinks, my transient home had one saving grace. Its big, warm, fragrant, shared kitchen. It was a luxury to pass through the house and smell new and delicious meals every time. Our overgrown and headstrong garden of a backyard produced many a tomato-sauce, pumpkin pie, and broccoli soup. With the exception of the frozen-pizza-enthusiast DJ, every other roommate put my chef skills to shame.
The city of Toronto happens to be built on some of the most fertile land in Canada. People have told me this is why so many garden here. Nice try. If that were true, New Jersey's rich, "garden state" soil would be producing a state of horticulturists. Is produce-enthusiasm and eco-awareness an actual cultural difference? Is it a true piece of evidence we can put on our list?
If gardens aren't tall enough signs for you, let me conclude by turning to the streets. Public trash cans in Toronto combine recycling, garbage, and COMPOST. Everyone I know here has a compost bin. (Ei - Do you know any composting Americans? Get out! You do!?) Produce is on the proverbial Canadian brain. Is that why obesity is less severe here – heart disease is less rampant – smiles are more charming?
This post made me hungry.