My intentions were good. Early in the summer, we agreed to split a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box with our next-door neighbors. We added the extra ‘pick your own’ pass, for free-range agricultural adventures at somewhat narrow (or, to a working mom, impossible) windows throughout the week. Even though the farm was kind of far, I envisioned daytime trips to pick strawberries with my girls, the sun shining on our backs and dirt under our fingernails. (Who am I kidding, they often have dirt under their nails, farm nowhere in sight).

I felt good about supporting a local farm, and eating local food.  It aspired to venture out of my comfort zone in the produce aisle and try new things. We’d successfully done CSA once before, when Edie was a baby and I had some time to spare. Back then, our CSA box arrived with recipes for each item. I made Asian coleslaw, roasted beet salad, and other meals that made us feel not only healthy, but virtuous. I might’ve toasted almonds and used my mandolin to create the finest of slices.

Today, I have no patience for a recipes that have 11, or even 6, steps.  We started out using some of the veggies, but no recipes accompanied our haul. The CSA blog – which IS funny – provided way too many ideas. When it comes to dinner-cooking options, I’m like a 3 year old – offer me juice or milk; anything more and my head is spinning. Over the past few months, we received enough cucumbers to support a small village. I can’t grill, roast, or saute them – how many salads am I supposed to make?!  Can’t we just eat panini’s for dinner and move on?

At least I can name a cucumber. It was the long, white beans, or index-finger sized eggplants that I had no idea (or inspiration to research) how to prepare or eat. They waited in our counter-top basket, looking more and more wilted by the day, matching my defeated CSA spirit. Then I threw them out under the cloak of night. It was the fate of these aspirational veggies.

"This will look our garbage." [photo by the very talented Barbara Steele]
“This will look good…in our garbage.” [photo by the very talented Barbara Steele]

We trekked up to the farm to pick strawberries once. The drive was pretty, and epic.  The sun shined down on us. Then my kids freaked out in the parking lot and we dashed home, sweaty and dirty.

What ever became of our CSA, you wonder? I regret to inform you that it’s still going on. Haunting me like a debt collector, I receive weekly emails entitled “What’s in this week’s share!?” The enthusiasm, I can’t muster. Isn’t summer over yet? I tried to quit and forfeit all produce to our neighbors; they urge me to stick it out.  I told them it felt like the responsibility of having a dog – just another thing to tend to at the end of a long day.

Next summer we’re making panini’s for dinner. Maybe a cucumber will make its way into my cocktail. And I will take my girls to a farm, but I’ll choose one that’s open all weekend.

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