What Swiss Chard Has to do with International Relations

Harvesting News with a Slant

by Tapapunjah

Almost two months past the frost free date—normally October 15th—New Vrindaban’s core community growing sites are still pumping out veggies galore. In the past two weeks, 20 bushels of Swiss chard and 6 bushels of red beets have been lugged down from the Garden of Seven Gates, our largest protected growing site. Other harvested crops include parsnips, turnips, carrots and edible burdock. About half these root veggies are delivered directly to the temple cooler, while the other half are stored away in damp sawdust, and then sold to local residents. Root crops stored in this fashion can last up to 5 months. If “you-inzz” (the local vernacular for you guys), want to see how this is done, stop by the “teaching garden,” the ½ acre growing site directly across from the Lodge. By the way, Swiss chard-a member of the beet family– is only partially frost hardy. After several killing fronts it finally succumbs to eternal time. If you ever wondered why it’s called Swiss chard, as if to denote a vegetable traced back to the country Switzerland., here’s what I know about it. Many years ago a Swiss devotee architect named Chakrapani lived for one summer in New Vrindaban. Not wanting to be confined all day to his drafting table, Chakrapani kindly submitted himself to the garden department each day in quest of exercise and service. Wanting to make him feel at home in America, I said, “Hey, Chakrapani, come here! I have something special to show you!” As he ambled over to the growing bed beautifully adorned with lush rows of Swiss Chard, my mind was swimming with delight. “What a great impression this will make on a Swiss devotee!,” I mused. Chakrapani stopped, looked at the chard, looked at me and awaited an explanation, :”Look!,” I gloated with glee, “Swiiiiiiiiiiis chard!” certain that I had stirred his national pride. Dumbfounded and expressionless, Chakrapani darted one last glance at the chard, and turning to me said, “We Swiss don’t call it that.,” As he walked away shaking his head in disbelief, I sort of slunk–off wondering if I was a victim of Madison Avenue hype. “Everybody calls it Swiss chard,” I kept silently repeating in my mind….”.everybody calls it Swiss chard, don’t they?”

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Reader Comments

I had a wonderfully satisfying lunch today at the temple of homegrown beets,greens and carrots..
Keep up the great gardening!