Last night, when H. and I were shopping for New Year’s party and pantry essentials, we ran into an old friend of his. Her eyes lit up when she saw me, and though we’ve never had too many conversations, she jumped in with, “Are you growing this year?”
I kind of grinned with the multiple connotations of that question, but answered to the one she’d meant: “Yes, I’ll be growing, but I’m not doing the CSA.” She asked further if I’d be selling at the farmers market, and I answered yes to that, too.
The compliment came when she asked, excitedly, if I’d please grow red okra. She said she’d buy the seed, even, and then buy the okra as well. Her daughter had showed her a way to cook it that rendered it tasty and crispy without it being deep fried or slimy. I said I’d be happy to grow red okra–I’ve grown okra for a few years now, and the red is the prettiest. No need to buy the seed.
I’m always flattered when someone approaches me and asks if I’ll grow something specific. To me it implies a belief in my ability and a trust that I’ll be successful where they may not have been (though I’d never have the hubris to guarantee my own success). I’ve had specific requests a couple times over the years–ancho chilis, broccoli raab, and maybe one or two other things.
Anyhow, if you’re in the area and there’s a specific crop you absolutely love, feel free to ask if I’m planning on growing it. Obviously, I can’t accommodate every desire or crop (I’m tempted by artichokes, but doubtful it’d be worth it to try them as an annual here), but I’m always happy to try something I know I’ll have a ready market for.