Meet your vegetables: What Sage knows

Every vegetable has a story.

Meet Sage – a wandering cowboy who can’t bear wet feet and sings songs to his horse by the moonlight.

Life lesson: follow your heart and keep your toes dry.

Oh give me a home
In the light sandy loam
On a hill where the rain drains away

Give me full sun at noon and I’ll shine by the moon
And keep veg-eating insects at bay

Moonlight dreamer

A fat yellow moon shines on the open range. It settles on Sage and his horse at rest by a flickering fire. The bean pot bubbles – he wiggles his toes at the heat.

He unfolds a crinkled letter from his sister Rosemary. The creases keep an old silver locket and inside the faded picture of a blushing Apricot. He stares a long time at her sweet downy face, refolds the paper and tucks it back in his jacket chest pocket. The stars twinkle. His leathery suede glows silver and he starts to whistle a soft familiar melody. His dappled horse Minty flutters a sleepy sigh and sinks down in her dreams.

Hearts and toes

He comes to town once a year in the spring for a haircut and shave. He’s not much of a talker but after you bought a few rounds at the saloon, he told you this: Kid, know your own mind and speak it. Follow your heart. And always keep your toes dry.

The feet thing didn’t resonate with you – he must be ticklish or something. But his is a hard-won truth, you can tell by the sadness in the wrinkles of his eyes. You wanted more, but when you came back with fresh glasses of beer, he was gone.

Wise healer

Here’s what you do know: Sage is a wise healer. With Honey and Lemon, he brews soothing tea for colds and sore throats. He made a mighty strong antibacterial tincture when Minty got all tangled up in the brush.

Good neighbour

His neighbourliness precedes him. Did you hear about that time he defended the whole Cabbage family from white butterflies? And he’s saved more than one cathouse of Carrots from flies. His spikey purple blooms bring a choir of ladybugs and bees to hum in the garden with him.

Everyday herb

Jamie Oliver tucks fresh full Sage leaves and knobs of butter under the skin of his turkey. They shine like stained glass when it’s roasted. But he’s not just for turkey – you should use him everyday on pizza, omelets, fish and salad. Keep it simple with Red Chili and Sage in a brown butter sauce on ravioli. Yessireebob.

Campfire beans

For Sage’s famous campfire beans, fry Sage, garlic and cooked navy beans in olive oil and serve on toast. This is best eaten with your boots off and your toes close to the fire.

Illustration by Corrie Godfrey – graphic artist and horse snuggler.