My inspirational journey

“A tree grows in Brooklyn.”  I have loved this book ever since I was a young boy growing up in Sunset Park, Brooklyn, NY.   The soil in my parents back yard was rich, black, and filled with nutirients for my parents backyard garden of vegetables.  I later learned in my teenage years, after doing a report for a history class, how Brooklyn was farmed by 20th century immigrants and earlier by Native  Americans.  My parents backyard is where  I got my early start tilling the soil for dad’s tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant.  As a son of immigrants from the Dominican Republic I always loved playing in the dirt.   At a young age I always yearned to spend some quality time with my grandparents.  After graduate school I decided to visit the old family homestead in a small farming community called La Vega in my mothers hometown in Santiago , Dominican Republic.   My grandfather and grandmother were in their 90’s when I visited for the first time to spend some quality time with them.  They were doing chores and work on the farm that most people in American at this age would never be doing.  I observed my grandma carry a load of wood from a wood pile to her outdoor sheltered thatched roof kitchen.  She then cornered a hen outside her kitchen door and proceeded to catch it, kill it, depluck it, and chop it into pieces.  This chicken will soon enter a pot with herbs and spices she gathered from a piece of land near her kitchen.  My grandma gathered these ingredients from the land as she moved about that afternoon while a hen and her chicks scratched away in the earth looking for earthworm and bugs to eat.  Grandpa was down the hill from her kitchen tending to some hogs in a field.  I observed grandpa carrying a bucket on his shoulder of food for the pigs.  He later showed me how to dig up yuca on the side of a hill with a machete as his garden tool.  This experience of spending time with my grandparents gave me an appreciation for living a healthy life.  They lived off the land without the use of pesticides, chemicals, or antibiotics for their livestock.  My grandparents lived till their early 100’s and died of natural causes with no illnesses as most people die today in old age.  It was at this time that I felt a spark or calling to emulate my grandparents in my own life.  Fast  forward  40 years from that first childhood backyard garden in Brooklyn and today I have created Paco’s Garden.  Growing food from heirloom organic seed and watching plants grow to maturity is truly a joy for me.  Today I plant over 100 different vegetables, herbs, bulbs, and perennials on my land.  Raising chickens for their eggs, tapping maple trees for the delicious syrup, canning tomatoes, making jelly preserves, and creating dried flower arrangements are just a few of my projects.  The honey will soon begin to flow and the pickles, kambucha and kimchi will soon be jarred.    At Pacos Garden and Kitchen you will learn how to grow delicious food organically and also harvest, prepare, cook, and preserve food in Paco’s Kitchen.   Stop by often and  check out what’s happening in Paco’s Garden and kitchen.     Today I am at the Union Square Market in NYC bringing home some staples from one of oldest open air markets in New York.  Ironically many of the vendors are from the Hudson valley where Paco’s Garden now grows just like the trees in Brooklyn.

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