Friday Fictioneers – The Last Gardener

Every week, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields (thank you, Rochelle!) hosts a flash fiction challenge, to write a complete story, based on a photoprompt, with a beginning, middle and end, in 100 words or less. Post it on your blog, and include the Photoprompt and Inlinkz (the blue frog) on your page. Link your story URL. Then the fun starts as you read other peoples’ stories and comment on them!

FF - russell-working 180530

PHOTO PROMPT © Connie Gayer

The Last Gardener

I’m odd. I like to go outside, walk under the open sky. I was doing that one day when I met a bearded giant wielding some primitive implement.

“What are you doing?”

“Plantin’ beans.”

“What do you mean?”

“I put beans into the ground. They grow, and in a few months I’ll be eating fresh beans!”

He beckoned.

“See this? Proper sweetcorn. Not that stuff you grow in tanks. ‘Nother eight weeks I’ll be eatin’ corn on the cob.”

“You’re going to eat that?”

“Absolutely!”

I fled from him back to the hygiene of the city.

I’m not that odd!

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65 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers – The Last Gardener

    • Dear Bjorn
      Strangely, this is almost a true story. When I was young, our next door neighbour was a very keen gardener, very proud of his produce. He and his wife gave a holiday in their home to an inner-city child. The first night at dinner, he boasted “I grew these peas in the garden here!” The little girl was first incredulous, and then tearful. “I don’t like these! I want real peas, out of a tin!”
      I agree with you; it will be a poorer world if we can’t enjoy fresh produce.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 5 people

      • Penny, this reminds me of a time when my son was given real macaroni in cheese, and he said, “I want real macaroni and cheese. You know, the kind that comes out of a box.” Needless to say, I was slightly embarrassed, and don’t think I’ve made Kraft since then. 🙂

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      • Had to chime in – that is so interesting about the tin.
        Earlier today I heard someone say that the corn crops are so GMOd – insects do not even eat them anymore – and then he said there was a book called “wheat belly” hm – need to look it up –

        Liked by 1 person

  1. The line, “hygeine of the city” made me laugh. Sadly, the joke’s on them. Who knows what’s in foreign grown fruit and vegetables these days, or how they’ve been raised. I’m especially suspicious of corn. Have you noticed how every ear is perfect? No missing kernels, no worm holes. It makes you wonder what we’re eating.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Russell
      Thank you for reading, commenting, and providing the inspiration for my story! You cut a heroic figure with your feet planted in the earth and wielding a primitive implement!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Rochelle
      Thank you for reading, and for the nice comments. I’m glad you found the story thought provoking. It will be a sad day if there ever really is a ‘last gardener.’
      Shalom
      Penny

      Like

  2. Really enjoyed this. I agree with Russ, especially since raspberries imported from China made some diners sick in Quebec last month.

    Friends of ours in PA took in an inner city “fresh air” child for a farm holiday. When their children were sent to gather eggs the girl was all gung ho to see the egg trees. When they showed her that chickens lay eggs, she wouldn’t eat another egg all the time she stayed with them.😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is a scary reality for far too many, Penny! I always think of Jamie Oliver going into American schools and showing the kids various veg and they have no clue what they are… So sad.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Plaridel
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I don’t know what the future will bring – there are many clever people working to increase food production in a sustainable fashion. But for me, the present means buy local where possible, buy organic where possible, and use fresh not processed food for all my meals. I love tasty food!
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I find it reassuring to look out at my vegetable patch and know what’s gone in and what’s coming out. Not to mention what happened to it in between. This is such a perceptive piece, Penny.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “back to the hygiene of the city”
    Ha! Ha! Behind the humour of that statement lies an ugly truth. It has been estimated that least 25 per cent of fresh produce is estimated to be rejected because of imperfections or cosmetic damage.
    Our supermarket chain has started selling cheaper Odd Bunch which is nothing but “ugly” fruit and veg that previously might have ended in the bin. Tastes just fine to me.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Subroto
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad you enjoyed my humour. The Odd Bunch initiative sounds like an excellent idea – let’s hope it succeeds!
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  6. I have always either been a gardener or been associated with gobs of them! I can’t imagine preferring canned over homegrown. For the first time in 20-years, I’m growing veggies again! Tomatoes, corn, carrots, radishes, dill, onions. Right now they look pretty pitiful due to rabbits and deer (it’s the first year for our new community garden and there are a few kinks to work out) but next year!!!! Watch out world.
    See? your story brought our memories and wishes. Well done! Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Alicia
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’m glad my story brought memories and wishes for the future.
      Very good luck with your community garden (which sounds like a fascinating idea, and I’d love to hear more about it).
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Yuck, eating food from the dirty ground? Disgusting!
    Quite sad – as the world’s population grows, more and more food will come from vats and the like, out of necessity. Only the rich will be able to afford the real thing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Ali
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I’ll settle for vat grown food if it means an end to people starving. Interestingly, if we were all vegetarians there would be enough food for everybody – although the problem then becomes the equitable distribution of food.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Nice take on the prompt Penny. 🙂
    Some of us are like that. We don’t really know what, where and how of the food production but we don’t mind much if the packaging is good and the food looks perfect in shape and colour.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Norma
      Thank you for reading and commenting. It would be good is everybody had a clearer idea of where food comes from – we might value it more highly!
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  9. Nothing like digging up dinner from a home garden! It’s just one thing I miss about living in the country. I enjoyed your story, Penny. It got me to thinking . . . one day I must plant a small garden in my backyard here in Dallas!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Jan
      Thank you for reading and commenting. I agree with you 100% about fresh food from the garden. We’ve only got a small garden, but we expect to harvest beans, apples, tomatoes, courgettes, strawberries and gooseberries this year. I hope you succeed in planting a small garden in your backyard in Dallas!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

    • Dear Yarnspinnerr
      Thank you for reading and for your thoughtful comment. I hadn’t really thought about the contribution of a poorly regulated food industry to our ignorance of what we eat – but, of course, you’re absolutely right.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Francine
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Yes, the city dweller has no idea of his heritage – which is sad, because he’s missing out on the great pleasure of eating freshly grown food.
      I’m glad you liked the dialogue.
      With best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  10. A thought provoking, humourous story that’s so close to the world we live in today. It’s not farfetched at all to imagine all our food to be grown in tanks/labs/artifical environments in the near future. After all, how much of the food we consume nowadays is processed?
    Your reference to ‘fleeing back to the hygiene of the city’ shines a spotlight on the modern world’s obsession with hygiene.
    Great use of dialogue… it makes me wonder who’s the odd one out.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Dear Patrick
      Thank you for reading and commenting. Chlorinated chickens. Hmm. Well, the balance between hygiene and cost/availability to consumers is a tricky one, don’t you think? Of course, the best course of action is to be a vegetarian – alas, I like meat too much…!
      With very best wishes
      Penny

      Like

  11. Hehe! My dad, who also grows a number of vegetables in our garden, also does this sometimes. “you guys love cities so much. You city people don’t know how fresh these are….” 😅 I loved the ending. The definition of odd changes from person to person and place to place.

    Liked by 1 person

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