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Its hot today. Really hot.  DC, being in a swamp, gets so muggy. Granted, its nothing to the muggy where I am from in NC. I’m excited for summer because I like heat better than cold, but it also means that C. is leaving for 10 weeks and his departure is approaching very quickly. In fact, he is at home packing right now. Sad.

C. has been a wonderful influence on me food wise, but I have also been a bad influence on him. He eats anything and likes vegetables. He encourages me to try new foods. Some successful (avocados-YUM), some NOT (scallops-UGH). However, since I do most of the cooking, it tends to be what I know how to make. Which means a lot of meat+carb, sometimes with green giant green beans. Yum, that actually sounds really good right now…

We both came up to DC for school. C. is at Georgetown Law and I am at GW for public policy. DC has been really good for both of us, we both needed to get out our little NC bubble. But, in all honestly, that bubble includes affordable housing, yards, our families and the possibility of a dog. We have pointed our sights back in that direction after graduation, which is rapidly approaching, especially for me!

It is my dream to have a normal sized home, a dog, a garden and a few chickens when we get home. We will see!

My First Boyfriend…

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Last night I got my first email from the coordinator of my pick-up location in Alexandria, VA. It was a reminder of the normal reasons people join CSAs: To eat local and support local farms.

I totally agree with these principles of sustainability, even if  a more selfish reason initially prompted me to join the CSA. I’m happy to be supporting local farms and think it is crucial to how Americans consume food over the long haul.  Like a lot of modern folks, I  feel largely disconnected from the source of the food I eat.  The idea of eating foods at the time they were meant to be consumed is very exciting.

The tone of the email conveyed the commitment to these goals. It is clearly a tight knit community. The pick up is at someone’s house, off their porch. They recycle all the packaging and bags.  The self-service porch wasn’t what I expected for the pick up, but I’m not sure what I pictured. Maybe a farmer in overalls handing me a basket of produce while chewing on a strand of wheat? He might even had said something like, ‘here’s your veggies, little lady.’

My mini-share bags are blue, which is my favorite color, so I won’t have any trouble remembering. I also get a newsletter and an email of what will be in the bag. I was also warned that my lettuce will wilt in the heat, so I better get my butt down there and pick it up early!

Save me, I’m wilting!

I  do have a back-up plan. This isn’t a surprise, I am a planner. I love to do research, compare and contrast. Pro and con lists. Excel spreadsheets are fun. I got my first Franklin Covey at 13. I adore a list. Every morning I look at my calendar and to-do list and feel comfort and warm feelings.

I also hate waste. When C. and I first decided the  NC position was the best option for long-term career goals, I got lots of anxiety about wasting the CSA produce. But then I remembered… MY JUICER!

I got the juicer over a year ago for this very purpose. I actually use it frequently and highly recommend it. I started with all fruit and slowly added leafy greens and other veggies. Sure, the bitter taste is still there. But I can get it over my tongue fast when there is no chewing involved. It removes the fiber, but the nutrients remain.

So, I don’t want to resort to using it, but I will to avoid waste. When I report on my usage of the veggies for the week, eating the veggies gets a thumbs up, juicer gets a neutral and trash gets a thumbs down. Yes, I’m rating myself. This is serious!

When I just can’t eat it all…

If you’ve read my first post, or you have ever been around me for a meal, you may know that I have very strange eating behavior. Foods, even stuff I like, can make me cringe. This is because  I have about 7x the taste buds of a normal taster. I had this confirmed by a doctor and some blue dye.

Now allow me a small rant: Super tasting is a genetic condition and it is REAL. Its not just about being a picky, finicky eater. When that little kid you know won’t eat something b/c they say it hurts, they might not be being dramatic. It might actually hurt. Brushing it off and punishing them for not eating the food that tastes fine to you is not helping.

Ok, done. I obviously have strong feelings about this for a reason. For a long time I didn’t get the nutrition I needed  because I just could not bear the intensity of healthy foods. Nutrients apparently add a lot of flavor to food, go figure.  I also can’t drink coffee, soda or tea.  Alcohol is another problem, I get a lot of crap for not drinking, but its hard to get down. Shots are my best friend. 🙂

The worst part about this is the training my brain received. I have lost taste buds now (as we all do with age) and things are becoming easier to eat. But association is a cruel mistress.

I couldn’t eat strawberries as a child and everyone thought I was crazy. They were just so sweet and sour and when I put them in my mouth it would pucker and my shoulders would shake. Where I’m from, we call this a heeby-jeeby.

I’ll never forget the moment, when picking strawberries just two years ago, I decided to put one in my mouth. Just to see what happened. It was amazing. It was like summer and the sun and happiness all at once. I couldn’t stop eating them.

I don’t know at what point I lost enough taste buds to be able to eat them, but I had to get over my fear of them first.This has been happening more and more as time goes by. I’m hoping this CSA will provide me with some more of those experiences.

There is a great slate article about super tasting with all kinds of background if you are interested in learning more.

The super blue test…

This was on most of the CSA websites I pursued during my search.

Who Should NOT Join a CSA?

We’ve learned that people who fall into the following categories are not a good match for the CSA program:

Ok, great. Lets see how I do…

  • Anyone who is away on vacation many weeks (it’s your responsibility to have someone pickup your share if you are gone).

No problem! I’ll work that out!

  • Anyone who thinks this is a good way to save lots of money. It isn’t. We offer good value at a fair price.

Awesome, I want to support the farm and know that local products are worth the price.

  • People who don’t really like to cook or who don’t eat at home often.

Yay! I love to cook!

  • People who don’t like vegetables or who don’t like trying new foods.

Um…Didn’t they say something about eggs?

Denial is a beautiful thing.

NOT just a river in Egypt…

I’m not even sure how I first heard about the CSA (community-supported agriculture) concept, but the idea appealed to me right away. I think my husband, henceforth referred to as C., might have told me about them.

I began my CSA search where all searches begin, Google. I quickly found a wonderful WaPo article on CSA’s in the DC metro area. It has a lovely overview of what to look for in a CSA and 5 pages of them to research. I made an excel sheet (don’t judge) of distance, price per week, number of weeks, pick-up options and offerings.

There are SO many options. Some offer fruit, eggs, bread, flowers, meat, or cheese, along with the more traditional veggies. All of these appealed to me more than the veggie only options, for obvious reasons.

After narrowing it down to options that had fruit OR eggs (but never both, so sad) and ones that were close enough and didn’t cost an arm or a leg, I started doing research of their online reviews. It became clear the Potomac Vegetable Farm (PVF) was the best option for us.

Here is what we got for about $25/wk:

Mini Share: Designed to feed single folks or couples who eat out often (they also offer regular and robust shares)

Summer: week of June 1 to September 14 = 16 weeks of summer produce: luscious tomatoes, versatile squashes, swiss chard, garlic, peppers, celery and basil.

Autumn: week of September 21 to November 9 = 8 weeks of fall produce: butternut squash, sweet potatoes, celery root, kale, asian greens and salad greens.

And of course, I added:

Egg Share: fresh brown unfertilized eggs from happy birds!

Because eggs aren’t vegetables!!

They also offer bread and flowers, but we didn’t go for that this year. PVF filled up super quickly, after opening up on Valentines Day. Glad we got in!

I pick up on Wednesdays in Alexandria. This was great when I had a car, but since C. is running off to NC he needs it more (I guess). So, I will be investing in a zipcar membership for the pick ups. And yes, that IS annoying.

The nice, delicious, not scary part of the CSA…

I have a very strange relationship with food. I love it. I hate it. I love to cook, but don’t always like what I make, but others seem to enjoy it. I love to go to fancy restaurants, but I have intense anxiety about finding something on the menu. There is a reason why I am this way, which I will cover in a later post.

I often eat McDonald’s while watching Top Chef Masters. The irony is not lost on me.

For as long as I can remember I ate nothing but white, bland food. Over the years, things have slowly progressed to red and very light green food. Slowly.

Age 8: Meals consisted of white bread and butter. Spaghetti, no sauce. White rice. At restaurants, if these options were unobtainable, I drank OJ or apple juice. Lots.

Age 12: Began to eat canned green beans. But ONLY green giant. My mom would try to sneak del monte in when it was on sale. She would hide the can. But, to no avail. I could tell the difference. This was proved on many occasions.

Age 17: Began to have more control over my diet and started eating only fast food. My ideal meal: fried chicken sandwich, plain. Order of fries and water (Because of course, I don’t like soda).

Age 21: Ate first ENTIRE iceberg salad at outback steakhouse. Well, except the weird parts like the onions and cucumbers.  Discovered thousand island dressing. Yum.

Age 23: Begin to worry about my diet and low energy level. Start to transition to whole grains instead of processed white flour products. I integrated cooked tomatoes and pale green salads fully into my diet and felt really good about it.

Age 27: Started acupuncture and after an intense lecture I have come quite far in a short amount of time. I now eat apples, carrots, darker greens, peppers ,beets and other basic types of produce. OH! And ENDIVES! I don’t pick the meat and noodles out of my lean cuisines, I eat ALL the elements.

And here I am. Scared and skeptical. I don’t like the texture or taste of most vegetables, but I WANT to. I feel like I have reached a point I can train myself to do so. When I go to a grocery store or a beautiful farmers market, things LOOK good to me, but I remain skeptical (and nervous).

To force my hand a little, I joined a CSA in February (more on my CSA and how I found it later). My husband and I got the “mini” share, which is still enough for two people.

BUT THEN…my husband got a job in NC for the summer and I am all alone with the SCARY vegetables!!!

So, I started this blog to hold myself accountable to actually eating what I paid for and not waste the lovely products I know are coming to me.

My first pick up is 3 weeks from today…the countdown begins.

A perfect meal, just as it is…

The Story

I'm skeptical of vegetables and joined a CSA to see if I can make friends with them. This blog exists so that I can hold myself accountable to eating what I paid for and document what I can do with lots of local produce!

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