As I take in the garden before me, a smile comes across my face. I belong on this stage. The land calls to me and I must create.
This is my home. This is me.
In moments of such bliss, I recall memories of my agrarian blood. I remember my grandmother who toiled in Northern California’s Salinas Valley, her cracked and sticky fingers laced with the delicious residues from the forever-red and ripe strawberry fields. I think about her blood, sweat, and tears in the blistering sun, and the long days spent from field to field.
And yet the land remains. My grandmother was teased by the figment of “depression.” It is simply a temporary state of perception. “No hay mal porque bien no venga,” she said. There is no good without the bad.
My grandmother struggled and persevered, which strengthened her spirit. She found herself in La Puente, California, enamored with a strong, vibrant businessman. My late grandfather had a rich bloodline woven into ancient Olmec heritage, the once prominent agricultural peoples of Mexico. A stern and stoic man, my grandfather was dedicated to the land, knowing each part and parcel of open soil is a blessing. A tiny patch of green garden, my grandparents knew, was really what the soul yearns for.
I am honored to have such a rich history pulsing through my veins. My dynamic heritage is the particular essence that I draw inspiration from to produce food.
Mother Gaia is the perfect platform. Along with the powerful, life-giving force of the sun, Mother Gaia has provided me with the perfect ingredient list: soothing seas, running rivers, wispy winds, magnificent mountains, flourishing forests, and savory soils.
And henceforth, I must begin. An open piece of land is an infinite extension of a divine kitchen. And a kitchen is the extension of the temple that is our hearts. Let me dig in.