For weeks I was searching for raw horseradish root for this "master tonic" elixir thing I was making. I went everywhere. It's one of those ingredients I don't use a ton of but I feel like I see it all the time. Grocery stores, Asian markets, indie farmers. Nope.
One produce manager told me that they'd been trying for 5 weeks to order some and no one had any!
Prepared horseradish has stuff in it like soybean oil and it comes out more like mayonnaise, can't add that to my tonic. I used to make bloody mary mixer at the Cantina, didn't I always have this on hand?
Because I have the Mind of an Entrepreneur, (which at its best is clever and strives always to fill a need in the market---at worst is an irritating backseat driver who is always thinking about business even whilst sleeping) my first thought was:
I'm Going to Start Horseradish Ranch.
Clearly there is a gap in the market...I've got the land, it's organic, it grows like crazy, it's part of this health tonic---VAMOS! Which also shows I have the Mind of a Squirrel. Collecting precious nuts like they're valuable and then forgetting where I put them.
I found a root sold on Amazon from North Carolina and had them ship me 2 lbs. Should be enough to start off. I pictured it taking over what used to be the pool at The Hacienda. Finally, a crop I can get behind. Roots are where it's at! Turmeric, ginger, beets and horseradish would all be immune to the ravishes of rabbits and aphids and deer! And I love all those things and they are great for wellness. This is perfect!!!
Root arrives, I stick it in the ground. I hope it doesn't get TOO big TOO fast. Maybe I should keep it in a pot? Will I be able to can it and make a secondary product if it doesn't sell while fresh? It's already growing just sitting inside---this could get serious.
I stuck it in the ground and waited. I fenced it off so the weed whacking nutter lawn guy didn't ruin it. A couple of weeks went by. Surely, there's something growing. I wonder when I harvest? Fall?
I saw nothing. No greens, nothing besides the usual things I can't get rid of. The honeysuckle, invasive Johnson grass, yellow jackets, canna lilies.
Then I found where I had marked the root, I dug deeper--- there it was, a wet, soggy, hot, smelly rotted ball of fermented used to be horseradish. Where I had stuck it in the ground in my haste, you see, was the site of the compost pile of a few years ago. A huge affair that was pitch fork or back hoe turned on a monthly that I left for a couple years and don't mess with now because there is no one in the role of "Fernando" or any other mythic grounds keeper tending to the needs of the Lady of the House.
More on that later.
But apparently once a compost pile, always a compost pile and I'm happy to see the microbiome of my soil is solid, but you can't really plant in it. Too hot. Too much nitrogen. I'm no expert on this, I'm just the queen of Trial and Error but it's supposed to be an amendment. It's not "dirt". It's not where I should have buried my root. I think there is a thread historically with lack of technical preparation on my part. (says the woman who never worked in a kitchen or took a cooking class who opened a restaurant or two) sometimes I hit it out of the park. Mostly I tank. But ideas are like matches in a box for me. Some of them are duds, but there's always another.
So, I am not going to start a Horseradish Ranch. Onward.
Then at Wallymart to buy lemons (don't judge, organic lemons 5# bag $6) I look up and there is a large jar of raw, shredded horseradish. No additives. Just salt water. $1.89
I bought it and laughed all the way home. And I keep it on my desk now to remind me of many things.
#1Sleep on it. If it's a great idea, you'll still want it tomorrow.
#2 You don't always have to be the manufacturer of everything, is Horseradish your calling? No.
#3 is this a distraction from your calling?
#4 do you even have a calling?
#5 should you move to Greenville?
#6 do you need another "gardener" caretaker houseman?
#7 it took a long time to establish that compost to get all that biodiversity, why did I abandon it? I really should build on what I've already created in life. Like hey, 25 years of freelance writing.
I mean if you want to.
I'm more sure about the writing part than the "gardener" part. I've always written. When I don't, my Squirrel Brain is feral. It starts making fires to put out. It starts obsessing over vacuum attachments and baseboard dust. It looks for real estate in Greenville. It thinks I should forge a 'new' path. And that may be true, but in the end, I'm a storyteller and however that manifests---it must happen.
There is so much rhetoric out there on finding your path and living the dream and making your art and frankly it all comes from people who have an agenda to sell a book, blog or podcast and so they, like Walmart have an angle. It's not necessarily bad, we live in a modern society and money buys stuff but as a formerly Ambitious to a Fault Person, it weighs heavily on my shoulders. This looking under rocks for my next Big Thing. Always moving forward. Like a shark.
Reinvention outside of a haircut and new seamless underwear is a marketer's construct. I've got a lot to build on and so do you. I'm gonna keep adding to the compost and see what it becomes.
My guess is it's pretty rich.