Lessons from the pumpkin patch

THE DAY STARTED OFF innocently enough. My daughter, her toddler son, and I were headed up to a farm near our home in southern Maine to pick some Halloween pumpkins. Even though there were plenty to pick from in the display piles, we headed out to the field to find our own special ones. We bumped slowly along in the car until we came to the end of the road, and then walked to the field full of pumpkins.

On our way back to the car with our arms loaded, I saw a compost pile of pulled vegetables off to one side. Closer inspection revealed that many of the vegetables still on the vine were usable, though spotty. I had a big pot of bean and vegetable soup planned for dinner, so without hesitation, I gathered the discarded tomatoes, green peppers, and eggplants, and tucked them into the car—perfect additions for my soup. By the time we reached the farm stand, I'd covered them over, feeling just a little bit guilty and thinking that perhaps it would be better if no one knew I'd done this. And so the booty stayed hidden and unnoticed under a blanket.

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