Today, author Christy Crutchfield shares some insider info on Farm Shares, veggies, and flower-picking.
You can’t go far in the Pioneer Valley without running into a reading, a mountain, or a farmers market. Five minutes from my apartment is Mountain View Farm, one of my favorite places to go in the summer and fall and my main source of food six months out of the year.
Here’s why I love my farm share:
1) So Many Vegetables
I was a kid who lived off of chicken fingers and fries. I ate some fruits and vegetables, but I was allowed to say no to a lot of food. Freshman year of college, I became a vegetarian, which was no easy task in a state that has more pigs than people and a dining hall with a salad bar featuring: iceberg lettuce, ham, two kinds of cheese, and olives. I learned to cook. I learned how good an eggplant could be. About two years ago, I ate my first meat in ten years. I’ll have the occasional bacon or burger now, usually from the farmer’s market or from someone else’s kitchen, but vegetables are still the star on my plate.
There are so many food trends now, but you’re hard pressed to find a diet that tells you not to eat vegetables. No matter what you eat or don’t, half of it should be produce. With a farm share, I have to follow this advice. If I don’t want my food to go to waste, vegetables have to be central to my meals.
2) New To Me
I thought I didn’t like tomatoes for decades. Then I had an heirloom tomato sandwich one hot summer. I learned why produce has a season, that I didn’t like tomatoes because I had eaten them in winter, picked before they were ripe and shipped from Mexico. My farm share teaches me seasons and patience. I have to wait for the best stuff and I have to try vegetables I’ve never bought or seen—kolhrabi and hakurei turnips are new favorites, it turns out I love Swiss chard and really love golden beets, and I cannot wait for garlic scapes to show up in the share every year. True, I’ll never be excited by the abundance of yellow squash, but I’m learning newways to prepare it.
While I still get my olive oil and peanut butter from the supermarket, it feels good to put money back into my own local economy. The farm share also inspired me to grow some of my own food, which—hoo boy—I knew nothing about. I didn’t know what a pepper or tomato plant looked like, just the fruit itself. I’ve mastered kale growing, but I still have a lot to learn so I leave most of my vegetable growing to the professionals. I feel better knowing where my food comes from, how it’s grown, and who makes it.
Plus, they let me pick the flowers.
Christy Crutchfield is the author of the novel How to Catch a Coyote (Publishing Genius, July 2014). Her work has appeared in Mississippi Review online, Salt Hill Journal, the Collagist, Juked, and others. She is a contributor to the Small Press Book Review and a native of Atlanta. She writes and teaches in Western Massachusetts.
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