A borer kills by cutting off the circulation between a plant and its roots. After a decade of living in a downtown apartment, I was beginning to feel a gnawing sensation separating me from the years I’d spent on the farm.
I began to satisfy this craving for my roots once I moved to a subdivision and turned the first shovel of lawn soil-side up. That summer, in a rectangle that had once been bluegrass, tomatoes blushed on the vine.
These were not the waxy fruits hard enough to shatter a window, as one might find in the store. These tomatoes, fully ripened in the sun, gushed with the wonderful aroma of summer when pressed with the edge of a knife.
I wasn’t the only one to appreciate the garden. First, the neighborhood kids appeared. They popped grape tomatoes into their mouths like candy. Then their parents stopped by. The following year, tomato cages sprouted in several neighborhood yards.
In some ways, we’re “locavores”—people who prefer to eat locally grown products. There are also people with a preference for organic food, and those, like myself, who also want to reconnect with their roots.
That’s why I hunt. And I’m not alone.
About a quarter million people hunt deer in Kentucky each year. The zenith of the hunting season falls on November 13-14, opening weekend of modern-gun season for deer in the state. Gun season lasts for 16 days in half the state, and 10 days in the rest of Kentucky.
Foodies willing to pay extra for the old-fashioned flavor of heirloom tomatoes should consider hunting as an option. Venison, aside from its rich flavor, is a lean and healthy meat. For health-conscious Kentuckians, it’s interesting to note that venison is lower in fat than beef, pork, and even chicken. Venison is also rich in minerals and nutrients.
Now I doubt that I’ll ever stop eating Kentucky-raised beef, pork, and chicken. That’s the carnivore in me. But the locavore in me will always crave a healthy helping of venison, too. KL
Kentucky has plenty of land open to the public for hunting. The two newest hunting areas include 15,000 acres in eastern Kentucky and 1,300 acres in Marion County. See maps and more information about these areas online at www.fw.ky.gov. Search under the keywords “hunting maps.” This site also allows you to download files to your GPS.