And Here I Thought Lettuce Was A Guilt Free Food….

I dont actually believe in feeling guilty about food. It’s just a snarky title 😉

I feel a little sheepish about the content of this post, because I work on a vegetable farm and grow a garden, and I have been having trouble getting excited about eating vegetables.
I used to gush over vegetables. Even as a kid I loved them. And as an adult even more so. Until I got pregnant with my son and became a picky eater for the first time in my life.

The funny thing is, my son is not a picky eater at all. But even now, 4 years postpartum, I am still a picky eater at least two weeks out of the month. 

I have a CSA share from the farm where I work and have lately been having trouble using everything because I don’t feel excited about cooking it. I have been giving some away to neighbors who have been helping me look for my cat, and some has unfortunately been going to waste -some before I cook it, some after. (Yes, I realize this means I am privileged in this area.)

Anyway….in my intuitive eating practice, I realized something that hadn’t occurred to me: it’s okay for me to buy the veggies I want, if they aren’t in my CSA share in the quantities I will eat. I had been resisting doing that because I am feeling some money pressure and therefore telling myself I should eat what is already in my house….but that is not always working out for me. Apparently people don’t like feeling pressure to eat certain things any more than they like feeling pressure NOT to eat certain things.

So, believe it or not, all summer I have guilted myself OUT of buying lettuce (oh the irony…).

I love eating lettuce. I love just tearing it up into a big bowl and adding some chicken or tuna and some salad dressing and sometimes other veggies, and eating it with whatever cheesy, starchy thing my picky self wants to enjoy (pasta? Pizza? Mmmm). But I wouldn’t let myself buy it, even though it is a veggie I would enjoy eating daily, because of other veggies I had in the house that I may or may not have eaten.

So I decided this week that is silly. If it’s a choice between eating veggies and feeling guilty over not eating veggies, I know my body feels better when I eat veggies. I can spend five extra dollars a week and buy lettuce and I shouldn’t be giving myself a guilt trip over wanting LETTUCE, of all things. Even if I do work on a farm. Even if it is disgusting economic privilege. I will do my best to share the food I can’t finish with my neighbors and friends, and then I won’t sweat it.

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Letting “Good” Beat “Perfect,” Kitchen Edition

They say that “perfect is the enemy of good.” I am applying that wisdom when it comes to cooking healthy, budget-friendly meals for my family this week.

I’ve decided to add a couple more habits to my habit list. One of these habits is cooking a beans and rice dish 6 times by the end of the year (roughly once per week). (If you have a favorite beans and rice recipe, please drop me a link!)

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CSA Veggie Log – Late September

It’s been a long time since I posted a “how I used my CSA veggies” post. I did not cook very much in August and September.  I didn’t force myself to do it. Somehow we all ate :D.  I did make a green smoothie almost every day. My husband usually made a stir fry at least once a week, with ground beef and a few different veggies. I don’t remember anything else. I guess summer was a blur. Last week, we did some more cooking.

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Feeling thankful

Wanted to share this post written by a friend. She talks about habits I am working on, such as gratitude, balance, dietary changes over the long term. She has a few years on me in terms of her habits journey, so that shows persistence and sustainability too.

Our Life With a CSA

Each week before my Farmer Dave’s CSA pick-up day an email gets sent out to member with a list of what we may expect in our share that week ( which can change) and Farm Notes.  These are usually about what is happening on the farm, what is being harvested etc.  The notes are always interesting and I enjoy reading them.

The Farm Notes this week really struck a chord with me.  They were written by one of the farm team members talking about the emails they receive from families.  How the CSA has changed the way their family especially the children eat.  The vegetables and fruit taste so good that it isn’t a battle to get them to eat.  The kids look forward to it, they talk about it. That is success.

Working in health care I see the effects of poor nutrition every day in children and adults…

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Kids Loving Their CSA Shares

I work at a local CSA farm, and occasionally get to write some newsletter content for the members. Here is a piece I wrote for this week’s newsletter.

We received a heartwarming email from CSA member Rachel M. last week, on behalf of her two year old son, Paul. Rachel wanted to make sure we knew how much Paul loved his farm vegetables. Their family joined the CSA when Paul was just three weeks old, so he doesn’t remember NOT being a CSA member.

“Yesterday, when we were eating some roasted beets, he kept asking for ‘more beets Farmer Dave grow.'” Today, knowing we would be going to the farm to pick up more veggies, he asked me ‘Farmer Dave on red tractor? Picking more kale?'”…..All your veggies make me feel like a better parent — I love it that because of our CSA share, Paul says things like “me like kohlrabi! me have kale smoomie? (smoothie)”. So, from me and my son Paul, thank you for all the hard work you put into growing veggies for us!”

As farmers, this is a major reason why we do what we do and find our work so satisfying. We commonly hear about small children who have no idea that vegetables are anything but delicious. Toddlers look forward to the CSA box with just as much anticipation as adults.

“I want to open my Farmer Dave’s box! I’m so happy to open my Farmer Dave’s box. What’s inside?” – the son of a Farmer Dave’s team member

They help themselves to fresh fruits and veggies from the fridge, instead of (or in addition to) cookies from the cookie jar.

“I find half eaten cucumbers and peppers in random rooms in my house.” – A Dracut CSA member

Many parents feel a lot of pressure around feeding their children healthy foods. We love knowing that the work we do takes some of the pressure off, allowing the youngest eaters among us the joy of eating simple, fresh, delicious food because they love it, not because they have to. Their earliest memories of fresh, local produce are easy, pleasurable, and fun ones. We are proud and humbled to be a part of these important years in forming their lifelong attitudes towards food.

And for many of the adults among us, this is the time of year when life gets hectic, schedules become busier, and the school year begins. If you find yourself more overwhelmed with the produce this time of year, try taking a cue from some of these kiddos. Pull a tomato, pepper, cucumber out of the fridge and just much on it – no preparation required, or with a simple dip if you prefer. A few veggie snacks per day will make a serious dent in your weekly share! (And if you are looking to can or freeze some of it for winter use, we have some resources on our website.)

Here’s to simplicity and joy and wide-eyed wonderment!

(filling in for Farmer Dave in this week’s newsletter, and mother of a three year old)

How we used our CSA veggies this week

Here are some ways we have used our CSA veggies this week:

Stir fry made with garlic scapes, sugar snap peas, and zucchini

Fruit smoothie with kale

Stir fry made with ground beef, onions, assorted squash, kale, and herbes de provence

Salad made with lettuce, cucumber, tomato, scallions, avocado, tuna packed in olive oil

Stir fry made with ground beef, garlic scapes, patty pan squash, broccoli raab, Chinese seasonings

Scrambled eggs with cilantro and garlic scapes.