My journey began two summers ago when I read the book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle” by Barbara Kingsolver. It changed my life. I was so inspired. I insisted my husband build me raised garden boxes so I could grow vegetables in our San Diego suburban backyard. I went online to research “seeds” and of course ordered all sorts of “exotic” plants. Why would I plant beets if I could have candy cane striped beets? Roma tomatoes? Blah…I only ordered the most exotic heirloom varieties. On and on went my vegetable list until I had filled my raised planter boxes. I ordered gloves and these fancy plastic twisty climbers so that when my bounty reached 6 feet tall all the plants had something “decorative” and useful to hang on. I was completely obsessed. I fretted at night if the weather was too cold. I harassed any animals that came near them. In my spare time, I pre-planned the entire summer’s menu around my bounty. My friends and family would be in awe. I would have to give away bags and bags of food. I may even have to learn how to can. Yes, now I was now a gardener.
Then something unforeseen happened…nothing grew.
Total summer bounty– 3 small beets and 2 tomatoes that did not have a worm dwelling within.
I was completely devastated. I had a black thumb. My family would die in apocalyptic times due to my inability to grow anything to feed them. I spent the rest of the summer scrounging for decent produce at the supermarket.
The next summer, we tore up the yard and put in fake grass. It’s green every day and has renewed my faith in the fact that I cannot kill everything in my yard. We moved the planter boxes to the far reaches of the yard behind a wall, a hidden reminder of my previous failure.
I may not be a gardener, but I can cook. So, this past summer, I did something brilliant. I went to my local farmers market and joined a CSA. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It is part of the local farm to table movement taking the country by storm. For $25 a week I would receive enough fresh organic veggies for a family of four, a half-dozen eggs, garlic, onion, fruit and either butter or flavored garlic spread. I could cook from a garden and I didn’t even have to pick off one nasty tomato worm.
I haven’t stopped talking about my CSA. I’m certain my friends are tired of hearing me tell them about what I get each week, what I did with it, etc. Once again, I am obsessed. This time my obsession allows me the best of all worlds, just enough stuff so that I don’t become overwhelmed (and heaven forbid have to learn how to can stuff) and plenty of variety to keep my culinary prowess intrigued.
My faith is restored. I’m not a gardener, I am a CSA-junkie. The recipes listed at right are categorized seasonally and they are from my journey….