One day, while I was gone for the weekend, my husband sent me a text message, letting me know that we were subscribed to a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Box. And at that exact moment, my stress began.
Now don't get me wrong, I fully understand that if vegetables create a blip on my stress radar, I clearly have an easy-peasy life. I am not stressed by divorce, cancer, unemployment, losing my house, or any of the million other "big things" that are out there worrying you.
But, there it is. Every week, we pick up a huge box of vegetable and fruit. And every week, as the primary dinner cook, lunch-box packer, and breakfast server, I am somehow supposed to figure out what to do with all those vegetables. Some are easy (apples, carrots, broccoli). Others? Not so easy. I had never even heard of a daikon radish before this, I had to google bok choy to make sure that was indeed what I was staring at, and I was sure I was going to hate brussels sprouts (mostly because I had never tried them. But everyone says they're gross. Everyone. At least everyone in comic strips, cartoons, and the 1950s.)
I feel like I am throwing my husband under the bus here. Let me back up a little bit. He didn't just force this on me out of nowhere. It was actually almost my idea, and we had mused about it for a little while before he signed us up. I was just still thinking, "Yeah, sure... someday." And he was thinking, "Perfect. Let's do it."
Years ago, before we had kids, we lived near a small community co-op farm, and subscribed to their weekly produce box. Unfortunately, that didn't go so well. The fact that all the produce came from one farm meant that we got what they could grow in one small location. We got gobs of kale and swiss chard (???) and little bits of what I considered the good stuff (strawberries, carrots, peaches, potatoes). The fact that we had no idea what to do with all the greens, the fact that we often forgot to go pick up our produce, and the fact that there were only two of us trying to eat it all was a recipe for disaster. It just didn't work for us.
Let's summarize the next bit here. In the next 15 or so years, we moved to a new city, and bought a house. A baby was born, and I did all the right things... breastfed, spooned out of cute little jars of pure vegetables and fruit (skipping over the mixes that had added sugar, or were labeled "dessert"). A couple years later, the next baby came. Back to breastfeeding, back to jars of fruits and veggies. But now, child #1 was in preschool, and so much fun! We went on outings to parks, museums, to ride the train or ride the ponies, to gardens, to children's museums. I lugged the diaper bag, the snacks, the changes of clothes, the toys, the stroller. And then we ran through a drive through so I could have some lunch. And the preschooler got a couple of my fries with her organic-peanut-butter-on-whole-wheat-sandwich. Then pretty soon, she got her own fast food meal. And when baby #3 was breastfeeding, the two older kids got happy meals. On our outings, on our way home from preschool, and on nights when I was too worn out to cook. In other words, often. Well, as the kids grew up and the schedule got busier, eating healthily was something on the back of my mind. I did some good things... like shopping at the farmers' market, buying organic, and limiting sugar. It was expensive, though. We would spend $50-75 dollars a pop at the farmer's market. And we still weren't really eating much in the way of veggies. A small portion at dinner, every couple of nights or so. A small portion that the kids didn't really even eat.
Then, one morning, I happened to drive past a CSA Box pick-up site. I saw the delivery truck and signs directing people to AHOrganics to pick up their weekly box. I went home, checked out the website (the selection looks good! The price is great!) And then... and here was the fateful moment... I mentioned it to my husband.
"We should do that," he says.
"Yeah..." I reply....
A few weeks later, while I was gone for the weekend, my husband sent me a text message...