Corn Queen part 3 of 3 by Child Grower A. Woz

caeltiptoegeraniumfeetSo I have to confess that strong, healthy buns were on my mind.

I was walking the aisles of the grocery store, picking up, putting down, picking up, reading, putting down. Over and over.

My youngest was dancing up and down the aisle with one foot on the lowest shelf the other other on the floor, and hopping up and down the length of the metal shelf. He asked what I was doing and I told him I was looking for some buns that did not have high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) in them.

He watched me for a few seconds and resumed his lopsided loping entertainment.

After I could not find a single set of six (or eight) buns without the ingredient I was trying to avoid,  I paused for a moment and did the V-8 head slap with the palm of my hand.

I was in the aisle looking for a nutritious bun that I was going to fill with a HOTDOG!

OMG, I was out of my mind. Who cares what the bun is made of, take a look at the DOG!

So, laughing out loud at myself,  I shook off the impulse to look around and see who was judging my inappropriate behavior in the adult world and left the aisle with a very unhealthy bag of buns to stuff these equally unhealthy hot dogs.

So this is my new life with awareness.

I feel like a hypocrite and a fanatic in one body, but I’m feeling like I’m making a dent in my family dinner regimen and that I am ready for the next step.

I’ve purged the bad foods, learned about shopping the outside of the store for simple items packaged without packaging, and I’ve done some comparison tasting with the kids to get them on board with what I’m trying to accomplish. They are reading labels and they are starting to mimic my words and that is making them sound like my mother.  They even have the finger wagging down pat with the words, “You know, you are what you eat!”

So the next step is clearly the CSA. Community Supported Agriculture. Yup, that’s right. Eating real veggies, real food, grown locally and by real people that we are supposed to get to know while they get to grow umpteen varieties of lettuce and potatoes.

I’m loving it. I admit I have belonged to the same CSA for about five years and I have the added bonus that the pick up point is in my friend Karen’s garage. Once a week a big truck rolls up to her garage door, deposits about a hundred (maybe more!) crates of fresh, cleaned, sorted, labeled, counted produce all of which is ripe and ready to eat and the variety from the beginning of the season to the end in October is astounding, delicious and colorful.

And thankfully, it arrives with recipes and identification.

When I started this farm share, I could not recognize turnips, parsnips or celeriac. I had never purchased or prepared kohlrabi, leeks, jicama, soybeans (also known as edemamme) or eggplant. And, I have to confess I have been introduced to fava beans and I have also rejected fava beans.  I can’t love it all! So I trade my fava beans with a fellow farm sharer for her sweet sugar beets.

And with this CSA share we are also invited to the farm. We went to the pea pick one season where essentially families go up and down these beautiful rows of pea stalks carefully staked and stringed to stand tall.  The farmer has held up a fat plump pea pod (so we know what to put in the collection bags) and then demonstrates how to unzip the pod from the top and then to discard the zipper and stem and eat the peas right out there in the fields.

We pick 6 lbs for the farmer and get to take 3 lbs home. While my children are picking, I hear one tell the other, I’m going to help this farmer get all of her peas picked even if it makes my fingers bleed. She’s clearly dedicated to doing her share!

And sure enough, while in the fields, my kids eat the peas, taste testing straight from the vines. We declare the peas our favorite veggie and no one stops eating the fat fresh peas while the baskets are emptied, the peas are weighed and handed over to our CSA farmers and we load up for the drive home.  We arrive at our destination with almost nothing to show for our afternoon of picking, but have mastered the skill of unzippering and happy tummy making.

I took the liberty of signing up for a Fruit Share this time, too. Three families will split a weekly delivery of ripe, local fruits from farms all over the state and we’ve made a deal to get together to learn about freezer jams, canning and pie making. I think I’ll have to ask my mother to come and teach us these forgotten skills. Isn’t that sad that store-bought has become so easy that we have lost our skills in preserving and with that, abandoned our taste buds to mushy processed, additive and preservative filled fruit that we have accepted as both delicious and just as nutritionally safe and sound as what Grandma put on her pantry shelves?

But not all Grandma’s would agree with me on that point. The store bought time savings really was freeing for parents. No more hours in the kitchen with hot jars and mason lids, no more juggling a garden with a job.  No more need for pickling and processing and pure hard work around a kitchen table with the kids snapping beans and the Aunt blanching the corn and then cutting the bumpity rows for freezing. No more blue enamel canners and no more jelly sitting on the counter waiting for the pop of the lids to show they were safely sealed.

I guess I don’t want to go back to that, either but I’ll settle for somewhere in the middle- in the middle of a CSA farm field, the middle of a forkful of real food, in the middle of an incredibly tasty tomato.  This is where I’m happy to be.

### A. Woz.

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2 Responses

  1. I am impressed of the length you are going after having read the “corn book”. It obviously is making quite an impact (except for the hot dog…very funny bit)

    My son is in college and will be in a town house on campus next year. When getting the privilege of a town house, the group has to give their house a purpose. His group chose “healthy eating.” In living there, they will hold community dinners and give lectures on nutrition. I think the concept is brilliant. They earn the privilege of living in a nice place but have to give back to the community for the privilege. As I had mentioned “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” was their required freshman summer reading book. I don’t know if the book promoted their theme, but they are on the right track. ……And so are you! Good luck.

    • Your son’s community eating together idea is awesome. What an enlightened young man AND he can cook and carry a conversation! good job MoM~!

      Yes, I’m a bit nutso on the nutrition thing. The truth is, if I were a little more gungho on the exercising AND eating good i’d really be healthy. I need motivation in that area or I need to be puppetized- You know, someone else controlling some strings and walking me to the treadmill or the great outdoors. I’m a work in progress that is for sure!

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