For a few years now, my husband (a.k.a. “the cook”) has been enamored with Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). He liked the idea of supporting a local farm where he would receive high quality vegetables (often organic) and where growers and consumers share the risks and benefits of food production. Sure, he would have no control over the seasonal vegetables that he received but that’s part of the culinary adventure! (Oh boy!)
We finally signed up and waited eagerly (him)/anxiously (me) for the first pick up. He could barely contain his excitement. I, on the other hand, was filled with trepidation at the veggies (a.k.a. my green nemesis) that were to come. As a child I was a really picky eater and it always turned into a vegetable showdown between my grandmother and 10-year old me. Sometimes she won and sometimes I sat at the dining room table for several hours – taking on the challenge of not leaving the table until my plate was clean.
Luckily, my husband has been patiently introducing healthy items into my diet over the years (i.e. I no longer bleed bacon grease.) He assured me that he could prepare all the CSA food in a way that I could ingest it without gagging. All he asked was that I be willing to try.
This week we picked up our first full share and to my horror our first delivery had okra in it. OKRA! I hate okra!! I have childhood memories of my grandmother force-feeding me okra! ::shudder:: (Unfortunately, my petition to rid the world of okra failed miserably.) But we survived this near disaster by swapping out the okras with green peppers. ::whew:: That was a close one!
But then another problem presented itself. We had a busy weekend planned and it would require several meals being eaten outside of our home. Now we were in danger of food going to waste. A prospect neither one of us could stomach. But at what price? I didn’t want my life to revolve around food! Something I swore I would never do! Plus, it’s still nice out! I socially hibernate during cold weather so I have to get all my socializing in now before I have to whip out my long johns! “I refuse to stay home!” I loudly declared. “Well, I’m not throwing food out!” he yelled back.
It resulted in a tense standoff with hubs on one end holding a zucchini and me on the other holding a beer. Who was going to win this showdown?
Ultimately, we both did. Like all great peace treatises, we compromised. We tweaked our going-out plans a bit to allow us to eat dinner at home before heading out with friends. Crisis averted. For now.
It is not always going to work out so neatly and it will take some major adjustments so that we don’t end up wasting food. But I am proud of this commitment and I hope that it will make a difference. Good for me and good for the environment.
I will let you know how we fare at the end of this vegetable experiment.
Only 18 more weeks to go… ::sigh::
If you have any advice on getting through and thriving or if you have any experience you’d like to share, it would be really appreciated!
Image via Flickr (creative commons) by twodolla.
9 thoughts on “How I learned to stop worrying and love the CSA”
Love this! Yeah, we’ve been dealing with CSA drama for 5 years now! Here are the ways that we’ve found to make it simpler:
1. Give it away. When I show up to lunch with a friend, they are thrilled to receive a bag of squash. I don’t mention that they are getting it because it grosses me out.
2. Kale goes to the dog. She needs more leafy greens in her diet.
3. The final resting place of some CSA food ends up being the compost bin. But I feel ok about that, because it then goes into the garden…the whole Circle of Life argument.
It does get easier to manage – I promise! And the gratification of supporting local farmers is totally worth it.
Thank you, Lisa! 5 years, huh? WOW!
I don’t have a dog and I live in a teeny apartment so I guess giving it away is going to be my only legitimate option. But I think composting is definitely in my future! (Also, kale scares me.)
I couldn’t help laughing at your comment about “socially hibernating” in the winter and wearing your long johns. Sounds just like me–a Friday in winter means I get to come home from work, slip into my PJs, and snuggle on the couch with soup and hot chocolate before going to bed at 10.
I don’t know how much it will help you, but my friend Emma has a CSA-centered blog, eatingfromtheearth.blogspot.com; maybe it will give The Cook (your husband) some more meal-generating ideas!
I wear long johns when it’s 60 degrees outside! I am a first-class cold weather wussie! 🙂
Thank you for sharing Emma’s blog. I’ll definitely steer hubs in that direction!
I think it’s an awesome idea!! I’d love to support local farmers and I know there are a lot in my area. If only I wasn’t so lazy in the kitchen.
And don’t remind me about the okra! Lola was crazy to try to make us eat that stuff. But hey, at least she didn’t trick you into eating goat. 🙂
I’m not really sure where W finds the inspiration especially when he’s not exactly feeding a gourmand.
I heard the goat tasted just like chicken! 😉
It is a really really great idea, because you are eating Good food and supporting local farmers. I wonder whether when you are cooking something with the vegetables maybe you could cook extra and freeze a few meals for the winter when your veg offers will change. eg, lasagne or soups.. bet you are feeling great with all that fresh food tho.
I am feeling better! Plus, hubs said the vegetables lasted longer than the ones we buy at Whole Foods… Probably because they’re fresher! He’s also working on freezing and canning. As a non-cook, it is all WAY too much work for me and I am eternally grateful that he’s willing to do it. I bow to his greatness. 🙂 Thanks for reading!