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100 Years of Washington Grown« back

100 Years of Washington Grown

This year my grandmother will be celebrating her 100th birthday. Grandma Helene was born on a small farm in Reardan, Washington. Her Dad, Elmer Bly, was a wheat farmer in that area.  His first combine was pulled by a team of horses. Grandma has stories of tending an abundant garden, raising chickens, pigs, and cows.  She was married to my Grandpa, Gil Michlitch, who provided butcher supplies throughout the northwest to many mom-and-pop stores.  My grandparent’s legacy is rooted in Washington grown foods. Visiting them meant a hearty meal of fresh vegetables, a starch such as pasta, rice, or potato, and an animal protein.  A light dessert, like apple pie and a scoop of vanilla ice cream always followed. In my twenties, the root beer with lunch transitioned to a local beer with lunch.  Compared to this era of food fear, sugar fear, meat fear, and GMO fear, I can see how moderation and balance fearlessly guided my grandparent’s food intake.  I still watch grandma look forward to steak, potatoes, salad, dressing, and dessert.  Her plate is modestly filled, serving enough food to fill her stomach for the next 3-5 hours, and then she’ll eat again. It’s a cycle that’s natural to her, using food as fuel, and enjoyment.  In the next couple of months many gardeners will be ordering seeds and plants, ready for spring to arrive. Grandma still tends many plants around her home, and she’s passed along the seeds of moderation to the next generation – as my family now plants a garden, and enjoys meals made from many grown-in-Washington foods.