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Jennifer Y. Caspe's Website

My Strawberry Patch Kid

I have a daughter who munches on raw cherry tomatoes,  loves eating broccoli and considers celery a treat. I don’t take credit for her “peculiar” habit.  To be honest, these food choices are all her own. Although her dad and I enjoy eating a variety of vegetables and encourage her to eat salads, we never taught her to snack on tomatoes or celery.  (I don’t even know how to cook celery before this!)  She also loves plucking ripe aratiles (a native cherry) from the tree and popping them into her mouth.  When she was around 1 year old, a wild aratiles tree grew in our backyard and it became a daily habit to look for red aratiles with her dad.  She also loves strawberries, cherries and grapes.

When her favorite cartoon featured  a  strawberry patch one night in January, Mishca  asked me: “Mommy, can I have a strawberry plant?”  As marvelous as that idea was to me, I didn’t know how it would be possible to raise strawberries  in the climate  we live in. I thought of  getting pot from  La Trinidad Valley in Baguio but would that even grow in our small garden at home?  Not wanting to discourage her love for fruits, vegetables and all things organic  (Yes!  The words organic and natural are now part of her vocabulary!), I responded: “Ok, let’s pray to God to give you a strawberry plant!”

 

Mishca harvesting her strawberries on February 1

That same week  we passed by the Manila Seedling Bank  to get some potted herbs. Unfortunately, all of the herbs we wanted were sold out. As we were walking around the greenhouse, though, we spotted a row of  strawberry plants with ripe, red fruits on them! I was beside myself! I didn’t expect God to grant Mishca’s request that fast!

However, when I talked to the tindera, she told me that those were not for sale because they were part of an exhibit. No amount of begging changed her mind, so I just told my daughter that they are not selling them.  Good thing she didn’t make a fuss and was soon running around the place, touching the ceramics that were being sold near the cashier. She got her hands  dirty and I didn’t have baby wipes  so I took her to the back office for some serious hand washing. That’s where we met the owner, a nice old lady named Mrs. Ang. I mustered the courage to tell her about my daughter’s penchant for strawberries. “Can you sell us one of your strawberry plants?” I asked.

                                                   Organic strawberry! Yum!

 

Not wanting to disappoint my child, who  had smiled and answered all her questions on cue, Mrs. Ang gave in and asked me to call her tindera! She sold a pot to us with around 10 luscious fruits for only P150! That’s how we got a strawberry patch for my little one.  We soon discovered that it isn’t hard to take care of strawberries. Just make sure that the soil is always moist to keep the plant from drying out.

So far our strawberry patch kid has harvested more than 10 strawberries in 4 weeks. She gets tempted to eat the unripe ones but we teach her to be patient and wait for day or two. She obeys and then promptly plucks them when they turn bright red.

We’re  grateful to let her have a taste of the country life even if we live  in the heart of the city.  Yesterday we were delighted when  a group of carpenters came to set up a  greenhouse  across our house. We later learned that our homeowners’ association is establishing an urban farming facility for the village and they have chosen the vacant lot across us as the venue!  I’m so excited to see what wonders await our little girl when that greenhouse  blooms and buds  this summer!

“Delight yourself in the Lord;
And He will give you the desires of your heart.
 Commit your way to the Lord,
Trust also in Him, and He will do it.
 He will bring forth your righteousness as the light
And your judgment as the noonday.” –Psalm 37:4-6

 

 

P.S. The Manila Seedling Bank is closing or has closed, but you can find some of the sellers at the Q.C. Memorial Circle.

 

 

 

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