Seth Brown: CSA farm share's got me "Livin' on the Veg"

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There's somethin' weird in my bag of food,

I don't know what it is.

Veggies I didn't choo-oo-oose

I'm tryin' not to be crass or rude,

But this kohlrabi biz,

I'm not sure how to uu-uu-use

Livin' on the Veg!

Livin' on the Veg!

Livin' on the Veg!

Livin' on the Veg!

***

NORTH ADAMS >> I am not known for my healthy eating. After graduating college I fried so many burritos that I was sometimes called E. Fry'em Williams. I ate a lot of beans and rice and (on the advice of my friend Marie A.) cake.

My unhealthy diet may have gained me a small mention in a national newspaper, as I was somewhat deficient in the consumption of vegetables. I tried make up for it with extra vegetating, but apparently that's not the same thing.

So I needed a way to eat more vegetables. Vegetarians will often suggest that not eating meat is a great first step, since it's unfair to kill and eat helpless animals. Still, animals are less helpless than plants. Your quarry might escape if you're hunting venison in your deerstalker hat, but never if you're stalking celery. A bear at least has teeth, claws, and a fighting chance. Broccoli has no self-defense mechanism whatsoever; what's it going to do, photosynthesize at you? Unmoved by sympathy for animals, I plan to continue eating meat — especially because it is delicious — but more vegetation is required.

Unfortunately, vegetables cost money. And when I go to the store and a head of broccoli costs the same as a can of honey-roasted peanuts, I'm rarely more excited about the broccoli. Maybe it would help if the broccoli was also honey-roasted? But if I have to make the decision in the moment, I tend to throw down my green for something that isn't.

That's why this year I decided to get a farm share at a local CSA. It's called a share, because attempting to purchase an entire farm yourself will kill you, which is why we say that people "bought the farm." By sharing, however, I pay up front for a full season of veggies, and then every week I pick up a bag from the farmer's market containing only a relatively small percentage of the vegetation produced by the farm. And almost none of the manure!

The only downside of a bag of random veggies every week is that it makes it somewhat difficult to plan meals in advance. If I'm going to the store to buy beef, beans, tortillas, and cheese, I know I can fry burritos. But if I get a bag of kale, kohlrabi, beets and zucchini ... well, technically I could still fry it all in a burrito, because that's what I do. But it would definitely be weird.

Getting a bag of random vegetables every week means I make more veggie-laden soups and stir-fry than I otherwise might, but this is probably good for me. A diversity of meals is not at all a bad thing, especially if it pushes me to branch out a little bit. So far among the recipes I've discovered with this summer's vegetables include roasted beets, miso-ginger kohlrabi, and a kale quiche. And now that I've discovered this nicer variety of dishes, I know precisely what to do with it:

I'll fry it all together in a giant burrito.

Seth Brown is an award-winning humor columnist, author of "From God To Verse", and fried burrito enthusiast. His website is RisingPun.com.


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