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By Jessica T

The farm share

Uploaded: Jun 16, 2014

If you want to eat and garden better, there's a simple solution - the farm share. For years, I've maintained that if you are filling your compost bin by the end of a weekend, it's proof that you've been eating well. I love eating out as much as anyone, but home cooking is better, more affordable, and much more healthy (ask any chef you know - they'll tell you that restaurant food tends to have a lot of extra butter, cream, salt, and sugar). My favorite books about the wonders of home cooking are by Laurie Colwin: Home Cooking: A Writer in the Kitchen and More Home Cooking. If you visit my home and ask to borrow one of these books, I will say no. Buy your own.

When we moved to California in 2007, we enthusiastically joined a farm collective, but we let our membership lapse in 2011, because we'd begun to feel haunted by the endless bags of vegetables in our fridge. Then a few weeks ago a friend reminded us of the farm share. Pick-up is at their home, so why not give it another try, he said? After a brief deliberation, we decided that our newly enlarged family might be able to consume all those veggies. We gave it another whirl, and it's been nothing short of a saving grace. Suddenly we are eating more vegetables and cooking new dishes. Best of all, we have enough food to get us through the week (no small feat!)

Readers know that my husband, Coach T., routinely cooks for our family since I often get home too late to put dinner on the table before my kids starve. This Sunday, I asked Coach T. what he wanted for Father's Day. "Will you cook like 4 meals and clean up after them?" I did my best - I cooked at least 3 meals, and, well, helped clean-up? (Our twins make such an indescribable mess - it's enough to make one mad!) I let Coach T. sleep in and got up with the babies before 7. While they had their first breakfast, I made chocolate chip and banana pancakes. When it was time for lunch, I reached into the farm share bag and took out a handful of crookneck yellow squash to make an impromptu pasta primavera. For dinner, I looked to the farm share newsletter for a new recipe: roasted russet potatoes, swiss chard with red onion, and chicken.

Coach T. has always harbored a desire to become a farmer (but alas, he has a brown thumb, and I don't like dirt so much.) He tells me that the farm share newsletter that our favorite Watsonville farmer pens is a highlight each week. The farmer, Andy Griffin, gives you a peek into the world of growing food - a distant reality for those of us who have grown so accustomed to just purchasing what we need at a grocery store. We also love to visit the weekly farmer's market to buy loads and loads of fresh fruit and chat with the farmers. Summer fruit is the best excuse not to indulge in dessert (and I do need an excuse). I'm glad that my kids get to taste a variety of different flavors and have an idea where their food comes from.

We are lucky to live in a community with abundant fresh fruits and vegetables. If you have a family to feed, consider joining a CSA this season, support your local farmers, and get cooking!