Monday, August 31, 2009

The Farm Share Blues

Last spring in a fit of earth-loving-passion I bought a summer CSA share. I’d written a story about community supported agriculture for a local magazine and fallen in love with the idea of paying in advance for farm-fresh food. After all, when I was a kid, I wanted to be a farmer. This would be a little taste of that dream.

Here’s what I expected:
I’d support a local farm!
I would be inspired to cook gorgeous yummy meals!
It would be a good example for my chickens!
We would all eat healthier!

Here’s what I didn’t expect:
It would be a gigantic pain in the ass!

Within a month, just the sight every Tuesday of that hot pink tote bursting with green things I would be required to cart home, clean, store and cook filled me resentment. Followed by guilt, about the resentment. Followed by irritation, about the guilt.

But now as September looms and I pray for an early freeze, I am taking the whole thing as a lesson learned, or learned again. This isn’t the first time I’ve made the wrong decision by assuming it would transform me into someone else.

In this case, I overlooked the following:

I hate to cook.

I don’t have time to cook. (Well, that’s not exactly true. More accurately, I would rather spend my free time scrubbing mildew off of the shower tiles than cooking.)

We were out of town half of the summer, making it particularly difficult to cook at home. Even if I wanted to.

While I can appreciate that fresh-farm food would arrive at my home covered in soil, scrubbing two pounds of dirt off vegetables and then my kitchen takes an hour, results in two screaming children at my feet, and makes me grumpy.

I do not love searching out creative ways to prepare gooseberries. I can’t even identify gooseberries. Same goes for radicchio, bunching onions and broccoli raab.
I do not want to eat braised greens five nights in a row.

I am wracked with guilt if I have to throw away food, which is what happened when we didn’t eat braised greens five nights in a row and I didn’t find a creative way to prepare gooseberries.

A freezer crammed with squash just means there’s no room for Captain Daddy’s Häagen-Dazs.

The kind of dinner that makes me happy all over is take-out.

Next year, I am going to embrace my slovenly, planet-ruining nature and spend that $625 on pizza delivery. I suppose I should now abandon any plans related to the other thing I wanted to be when I grew up—a librarian.


  1. Hey, I cooked with radicchio last night!!

    Heh heh....I always chalk it up to having at least supported a good cause and a lesson learned, which you seem to have realized.

    You should turn this into a longer essay!!

  2. Yeah, yeah. If I could figure out which green thing is radicchio, maybe I'd cook it. Or not. :o

    Maybe I will! Thanks!

  3. There's your problem...radicchio is purple-y red!

  4. That is most definitely not my only problem.

    What did you cook?

  5. Braising Greens-organic farmers way of pushing off "what the f__k do we do with all this excess herbage" onto the so-called consumer. Then the snazzy restaurants buy into the scam and say, "Every shit hot restaurant knows how to braise greens you idiot!" What they leave out is that very few patrons actually eat the greens. Cooking them really just facilitates the compost process. Build a compost, throw that nasty leftover shit in there and get the chickens to grow you a veggie garden while you write about it all, eh? And I mean that with love, not sarcasm.

  6. Thanks for that. Somehow I thought you might have an opinion on this one. :) The braising greens were all soft and yummy in June but at some point they started to become like eating cardboard. And a compost...yet another thing I failed to do this summer, adding to my guilt. We talked about it. Maybe next year. It's all a lot of work, this being healthy/saving the planet stuff.