When we dedicated last month's issue of O to simple pleasures, there was one big pleasure I left out (because I knew this issue was coming): my vegetable garden! I'm a country girl at heart, having grown up in rural Mississippi—where if you didn't grow it or raise it (as in hogs and chickens), you didn't eat it. Helping my grandmother pull turnip greens from the garden, then sitting on the porch snapping beans and shelling peas was a routine I took for granted.

Of course, at the time I wished we could have store-bought food. Little did I know that our organic way of life would be what I now aspire to.

Today my favorite day of the week in spring, summer, and fall is Thursday. That's harvest day at my house, when we gather four kinds of lettuce, artichokes, spinach, squash, green beans, corn, and tomatoes, along with a basketful of fresh herbs, onions, and garlic. The bounty of it just gives my heart a thrill!

I'm in awe every time: By planting so little, you can reap so much. I readily share with my neighbors, and still there's always more growing. (Even though this year we had to keep building little wire fences to keep out the rabbits.) My problem is volume. I can't eat it all, but I don't want to throw away anything that I've watched grow; I'll hold on to a homegrown radish or beet until it has decomposed in the fridge. Discarding food you've grown from seed feels like throwing away a gift.

All good food comes from the earth. And whether you get that food from a farmers' market, your local grocer, or your own backyard, this I know for sure: The pure joy of eating well is worth savoring.
Go behind the scenes of Oprah's photo shoot at the farmstand!


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