Rachael Ray had a rough 2020. Not only did the pandemic keep her family apart, but she also had to contend with a fire that burnt down her home. Now, the talk show host and chef is ready to celebrate summer 2021 including finding joy in growing her own vegetables.

“Last summer was hard, and we were all so far apart. Not only physically, but also in spirit,” she writes in the summer issue of Rachael Ray In Season magazine. “With all my heart, I believe we’re coming back together again this summer. As families. As communities. As a country.”

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“Now that it’s warm and we’ll be spending more time with each other, safely, let’s truly celebrate each other,” she continues. “Celebrate everything. Celebrate it being Thursday! When you can share time with others, in person, it enriches your life beyond anything you can buy, any ‘experience’ you will have, anything a Zoom call can possibly provide. Let’s all celebrate that.”

One of those things Ray and her husband John are celebrating is their greenhouse – the only thing that remains standing after the fire last August reduced their home to ash.

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“For years we dreamed about having one,” she says of the greenhouse. “Wouldn’t it be nice, we thought, to put up a little place near the house to start plants and grow things in the winter? Then the house burned down, so now we have a greenhouse up there, but no house! But we can get fresh herbs and tomatoes out of season; kale grows like a weed, eggplants too. Lush tomatoes in late winter? That’s luxury.”

Admitting she wasn’t a big fan of warm temperatures as a kid, Ray is ready to fully embrace the summer heat this year. “This one promises to be a celebration,” she says. “The summer will bring us together at tables big and small, finally and hopefully.”

The summer issue of Rachael Ray In Season, is available now on newsstands, on Amazon, and online starting May 14.

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