Treasure Valley Prays

Eat It Up (or not)

fresh salad

Author’s notes:

In growing vegetables for paying customers, one of my biggest concerns is not having enough items to fill the biweekly boxes.  My response to this fear is that the fertility of the soil often produces an abundance that greatly exceeds expectations.  This can lead to another anxiety for CSA members as they receive a heaping box full of fresh food, not quite sure what to do with it all.  It is a very tricky thing to figure out just how much is enough. In this season of Advent, we can be surrounded by an overwhelming abundance that we are not quite sure how to handle. This abundance can be material things like gifts and food, both given and received.  It can also be an abundance of time with family or an abundance of obligations for work, school, and church.  As we navigate through all of this, remember God intended all of these things to be experienced, shared, and enjoyed with each other, full of love and grace and without guilt.

“It looks like all normal stuff this time” proclaimed CSA member and long-time friend Dick as he gazed at the newly delivered box. I smiled, some-what mischievously, as I knew there were plenty of ‘non-normal’ veggies buried in the bottom. Dick gives me a good-natured hard time about purple carrots, yellow beets, turnips, or anything else that doesn’t seem quite mainstream normal. Luckily for me (and for him too) his wife Bobbi is very adept at incorporating these items into her culinary creations. Often, they go unnoticed and sometimes he even likes them! I really enjoy Bobbi’s emails detailing how she prepared the veggies and the newly discovered recipes she shares. The difference between the traditional and adventurous in this family makes for fun stories 🙂 As some of you are receiving your third box of the year and others are receiving your first, I wanted to make sure that you are aware of the one and only rule there is in the CSA:

          There is No Guilt in the CSA

With the first few deliveries, you may have already eaten more leafy things than at any time in recent memory. I have heard many members really enjoyed the celeriac (root celery, round and white with lots of nubby roots), but you may have not been so receptive. Pea shoots, mustard greens, and rhubarb, oh my. And what do you do with just one beet?!? Eating in the CSA can be challenging, exciting, tiring, tasty, confusing and memorable all at once. Just remember that the CSA is supposed to be a fun experience. In reality, you don’t get much choice about what shows up in each box. I strive for a wide collection of tastes, colors, smells, and textures with each delivery. But that collection is bounded by the Boise climate, my planning and production, and the time and energy available to grow everything. You (and sometimes even I) don’t really know what will show up on your doorstep until it does.

The seasonality of the CSA is one of the things that makes it special. And that specialness sometimes comes in abundance. There is a lot of spinach now, but in a few weeks, it will be too hot, and it will be all gone until the fall. Kohlrabi, zucchini, and even broccoli may overwhelm you in the coming months and you may not be able to use it all up. That is ok. Or your dog or the chickens may eat some. That is ok. Sharing with friends or freezing is also ok.

          There is No Guilt in the CSA

Long-time CSA members have probably heard this before, but just growing the veggies provides me with so much nourishment and enjoyment. I truly love the opportunity to get into the garden and work in the dirt with my hands. To be out in the sun and rain and to see firsthand the fruits of my labor is immensely satisfying. There really is no waste at all. Sharing the veggies and the experience with you is the icing on the cake. I do not expect you to love everything you receive. The black licorice taste of the fennel or the peppery leaves of the arugula might not fit with your palate. Or you may have the best of intentions and just not have time or energy or creativity to make use of parts of the delivery before they go bad. That is all ok.

          There is No Guilt in the CSA

There, I’ve said it three times so it must be true 🙂 You are fully absolved of any guilt you may have felt so far and are free from any hard feelings related to the veggies for the rest of the summer. Just enjoy it as much as you can. Your farmer says so.

Be Abundantly Nourished,

Aaron

Picture of Aaron Lindemann

Aaron Lindemann

Member of Redeemer Lutheran Church

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