For the love of food, or why I love being part of a CSA farm

My family loves vegetables.  My KIDS love vegetables.  My one year old will not eat meat and is picky about her carbs but she will happily eat many, many different veggies.  The poor thing even tries to choke down lettuce and spinach leaves each time we have a salad!  (Do you realize how difficult it is to eat leafy things when you only have 6 teeth and they are all front ones?)

Yesterday, my son picked the first cucumbers off of his very own cucumber plant in our backyard garden.  The between the two of them, the 4 year old and the 1 year old ate an entire cucumber, skin and all, unsliced, in big bites, still warm from the garden.

Before my first CSA experience, 5 years ago, I had never eaten a beet.  The only beets I knew were the cold, slimy, pickled ones that my mom ate off of salad bars at restaurants.  No thank you.  As a matter of truth, I didn't exactly enjoy beets, or kale, until last summer.  Now they are two of my favorite items to get in our CSA box.  Really!

Why am I telling you all this?  Well, last week Rebekah, of Sweet Elder, wrote and asked me to tell her a bit more about my experience about CSAs.  One of her concerns was what to do about the veggies that she might get that her family would not eat.  I got to thinking that other people might have similar questions if they are new to CSAs.  Here are a few of the things I shared with her in response to that concern:

One year we shared with a family that would not eat broccoli and so they just gave us all of theirs.  I think that you would just need to give anything you wouldn't use away or even better, keep on trying it.  Hey, I learned to LOVE beets and kale and it only took me 2-3 summers of trying!

That is one of the things I love so much about the CSA, how much it has opened up our food world.  2 summers ago, when Henry was close to the age that your Noah is now, he would walk to pick up the veggies with me and load them from the box into our bag.  He always asked to try something right there, at the pick up because he was so excited.  We would lay everything out on the counter when we got home and I would tell him the names of everything and we would talk about the color and the texture of the veggies.  Then he wanted to sample everything.  I won't lie and tell you he loves all veggies, he is a picky 4 year old after all, but just yesterday he ate a whole handful of green beans from the garden.  He likes to pick lettuce for a snack while he is out in the yard playing.  And my grandmother was so amazed at how well both my kids ate vegetables during a recent visit that it is still a hot topic with her friends.  

I would encourage those of you shopping at Farmers' Markets to try out the new and unfamiliar things too.  Hey, the worst thing that can happen is that you really don't like it.  (But remember, it can take up to 10 tries for children- and adults too- to learn to love a new food.)  I can assure you that it took me at least that long to love my bitter greens!

For some of you, you may not need this reminder or any convincing at all, but if this rambling little post of mine helps even one person to think about trying something new, or encourage their family to eat more veggies, or to join a CSA, then I'll consider it a job well done.  
And she steps down from her soapbox!


  1. Sounds like great advice. I'm so curious about beets. I haven't eaten them much, and have never cooked them, but I have enjoyed them when I've happened upon them in a salad or on a sandwich. Look forward to hearing more about beets from you!