Joining a CSA* farm share in the midst of a busy life.
Since the last time our family was a part of a CSA , life has become more complicated. The kids are older and more involved in activities and my husband and I have full professional lives. I have a private practice for body-centered psychotherapy that has been growing. I love being able to do work that I feel really good about, focusing on integrating the body and mind in healing and change, living more mindfully and with more vitality. But it is demanding and consumes both time and energy.
In the midst of our busy lives, it felt right to prioritize getting back into a CSA. I knew that it would feel good to gather my food outdoors and that my kids would love picking veggies and flowers and wandering in the fields. I also hoped that we would make and renew connections with community members and that it would be another step towards healthy and full living. All of these things have come to fruition, but I also found something I was not expecting.
At our first pick up at Woven Roots Farm, I was drawn to the beauty of the plants – the curly shapes, the varied colors, the patterns winding their way down the leafy stems. The produce was so fresh and the colors so vibrant. Toss in some fresh Gould Farm bread and I knew we would eat well that weekend and into the week. It felt good and I looked forward to enjoying this bounty with my family. This was why we had joined.
And then there was kohlrabi.
I was quickly reminded that part of being a CSA member is taking home bunches of leafy greens and vegetables with strange names that I had no idea how to use. My first thoughts were how I had no time and little interest in figuring out how to cook with them. Truth be told, with the busyness of my life already feeling like too much, I was a little resentful of the mysterious veggies. But, summer always feels lighter and easier to me and I found myself willing to take on the challenge of cooking with unfamiliar veggies.
In this spirit I began to spend time more time in the kitchen – by myself and with my husband. I researched and we experimented. We collaborated and had fun with it. Some things turned out better than others. My less than enthusiastic feelings about Swiss chard easily took a 180-degree turn with the help of ample garlic, white wine and Parmesan. Kohlrabi on the other hand was a harder sell. We tried it a number of ways but it just didn’t spark any magic. Finally, after discovering the sweet earthy crunchiness brought out by first steaming then grilling, it was transformed into something that I truly enjoy.
Picking cherry tomatoes in the sun.
One Saturday toward the end of the summer, I found myself doing the farm pickup alone. I enjoyed the leisurely stroll up the hill, feeling the warm sun and gentle breeze on my face. As I picked cherry tomatoes, I took in the tangy scent of the vines, felt the stickiness on my fingers and noticed the greens, oranges and reds of the fruits. I had a deep sense of peace and satisfaction. I realized that over the course of the summer, as I had spent more and more time slowing down in service to the basic process of collecting, preparing, sharing and enjoying food that it was not just the kohlrabi that was transformed, but that I was too.
The real gift of our farm share for me this summer was the opportunity to more fully practice what I preach. The gentler pace I had begun living was restorative. It made space for creativity and imagination. It nurtured my connection to myself and my relationships with my family. I was able to cultivate my own mindfulness and ability to live more fully in the moment.
*Community Supported Agriculture