Horseradish is symbolic of my inability to grow anything.

I sell fudge and fudge-filled banana bread at local venues. Farmers’ markets and similar places. At such venues, I meet a lot of farmers and they are all wonderful people who are more than willing — even eager — to share their expertise with a klutz like me.

As soon as one very nice farmer learned that I like horseradish but prefer it when it’s pure horseradish and not diluted by anything at all — which means it can’t come from a store and must be processed by someone who only grinds it and nothing else — she said she’d give me some plants for me to grow myself so I could process it exactly how I wanted it.

I told her I’d kill it. She said that was impossible because horseradish is pretty much a weed that grows wherever it’s dropped. Not even planted, just dropped.

So I took the plants she gave me home and carefully planted them on the edge of the yard, just a yard into the field. And I watched those plants. And I watered them. And I did everything I could think of to make them grow.

Guess what? They died. They didn’t even make it through that first summer. Often when I try to grow something, it lives a year or two before croaking. Not the horseradish.

So now I buy my horseradish in the store and pretend that’s the way I like it. And I’ve never had the courage to tell that nice lady farmer that I managed to kill her gift.


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