By Pam Denholm.

There is something about being in a greenhouse, or even a cold frame, on a wintery day. The crunch of snow under your feet against the backdrop of stillness is the perfect prologue for stepping into an earthy warm bubble filled with vibrant leafy greens, where the ground is soft and warm. I never knew of this magic, until eight years ago, on a deadline for an eSEMA article, I drove out to Westport in a blizzard to meet Eva Sommaripa from Eva’s Garden.

The article was for a spring issue. I interviewed Eva over hot tea upstairs in her office, while large wet snowflakes plunked to the ground. We spoke about her 40-plus years of farming organically, her distaste for anything wasteful, and her adventurous culinary palate, all of which are instrumental to her farming approach. Eva grows herbs, edible flowers, and edible weeds. She sells mostly to chefs because they love being introduced to the new flavors and textures she likes to grow. She’s entertaining and curious, asking as many questions as she answers, and it is clear from the onset that she is always learning and observing—which is perhaps why she so successfully defies convention.

After our interview, we braved the elements to tour the greenhouses, nearly two acres of them, looking for the perfect spot for a photo shoot. We picked and tasted and chatted about eating kale stems, drying mushrooms, and pickling radishes. I wanted to be Eva. I wanted to be led by my curiosity, grow things that interest me, live on what I grow, have cacophonous dinner parties with entertaining guests, and drink tea with authors who have come to stay while they write their books.

I drove home at twenty miles an hour on slippery roads, convinced I needed a pressure cooker, which “pushes flavor into your food, uses only a little water, and cooks food on hardly any electricity at all,” according to Eva.

Eight years later, I have my cold frame. It’s not heated, but I still love to take my jacket off on a cold winter’s day to potter around and weave things from my garden into tiny baskets. I feel so removed from the world. It’s peaceful. It has also become a snow day tradition in my house to rummage through my pantry and cook something in my pressure cooker, using what I have on hand. Did you know you can even bake cakes?

Pam Denholm is a Zimbabwe-born writer and gardener living on the South Shore. She still doesn’t understand the rush to buy bottled water before a snow storm, but she completely appreciates the gift of a good snow day.