Possibly more than any other aspect of gardening, I really love to have something growing in my garden because then I’ve always got something to bring when I go visit. At various points in my life it’s been fresh mint or cherry tomatoes or (inherited) strawberries or mutant butternut squash but I love not arriving empty-handed.
We had neighbors at our old house who never arrive for dinner without a bottle of honey from their hives, and Scout’s godparents always have a jar of maple syrup for us (they “know a guy”). My parents make and gift orange marmalade from their tree; they and my sister both make their own wine and share freely.
Consumables are just such a portable, enjoyable, representative-of-place treat. For the years in which we lived in western Mass and my sister lived in Brooklyn, we had a country mouse-city mouse thing going where when we’d see each other, I’d tote along a bag of Atkins Farm cider doughnuts (recognized by Saveur so you can feel fancy) and she’d swap us for New York bagels. Magical.
I don’t have a trademark Thing yet, not like the wine or honey. I’m thinking it might end up being garlic compound butter, because I did that for Christmas gifts last year and it seemed like a crowd pleaser. I’m getting pretty good at ciabatta, too, but that’s not something I can make in a big batch and store. I’m still not sure, but it’s worth thinking on, isn’t it?