Long ago, in a time before massive global migration — long before we knew much at all about tofu; before we knew about lobster poutine; plant-based diets; kefir; sushi; shawarma; macrobiotics, probiotics, black tahini; dairy-free milk and so much more — we ate a simple diet connected to the land and the season, and connected to our histories. We grew wheat, vegetables and fruit; raised cattle and sheep and chickens; dried apples and made apple cider; made our own bread and butter, lard and cheese; and traded commodities with the First Peoples for maple syrup, cranberries, game meat, and so much more.
It’s interesting how the pandemic has so many of us reaching back to our culinary pasts, which so often began in the home garden. From rooftop gardens to container gardening on balconies to suburban backyard gardens, the rise of home gardening worldwide has seen an explosion in the global demand for seeds. At the Canadian company, Stokes Seeds, one weekend in March foretold what was to come — an unprecedented demand for seeds, four times higher than normal. Atlee Burpee & CO, a U.S. seed company, has sold more seed than any other time in its 144-year history. Seed companies are one of the businesses enjoying a boom during the pandemic.