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Re-Engineering an Engineer at a CSA

This post comes from our Operations Director, Nancy Apolito, as she shares her experience of a CSA newbie. 

Having been raised during the ‘70s in a traditional household, vegetables were considered a necessary part of the trifecta of meat, potatoes and a vegetable for every evening meal.  That being said – my distinct recollection of “vegetables” included many varieties in color and shape. But, they all had the same consistency, having been boiled on the stove until mushy. My other recollection deals with the “clean your plate” requirement. This resulted in many long dinners, some tears and the masterful negotiations of my brother in dealing with the number of said vegetables that were required for him to consume, the amount of milk that he could use to eat said vegetables, and the length of time the rest of the family had to wait until this process was successful and Eric ate his negotiated allotment. 


With this background and many years of adult living, I signed my family up for a CSA share at Mud Creek Farm. My background with folks at work as well as my true love of properly prepared vegetables had me excited yet a little nervous for this experience. My husband and I are trying to incorporate more vegetables into our diet and we agreed that this would require us to do so.  So as information regarding proper protocols, and what and where to pick started hitting my inbox, my level of anticipation increased for my first time at the farm with my husband.  Did I mention that my husband is an engineer?


We agreed to meet in the parking lot on the designated pickup night.  Having both come from work, I believe my husband’s attire of button-down, dress pants and dress shoes were not entirely appropriate for the outing.  So we walked to the tented area together, signed the clipboard next to our name, and then the engineer kicked into gear. This no longer was a mutually enjoyable, shared experience - it was a task list. The table displayed beautiful freshly picked vegetables – Chinese lettuce, radishes, sputnik-looking kohlrabi, yellow & green zucchini squash, a variety of mixed greens and the instructions: one of these, 2 of these, 1 pound of that.  On a mission, my husband cleared the table with our portion of the share in a mere 45 seconds, then said “What next?” With the direction to move toward open field for picking snap peas or beans, we walked out to the rows of vegetables.  I stayed in the bean plot focused on that harvest thinking that we would work together. Moments later, I glanced up and could not locate my husband.  I looked and looked thinking – how difficult is it to find a man in full dress clothes in the middle of a farm field?  He had moved to the furthest point away to pick peas. Five minutes later, with his selections collected, he said, “what next?”  Given the option of cutting fresh flowers, fresh herbs or pulling scallions – he kindly declined.  Needless to say, this was not in the realm of any of my expectations for my first CSA picking with my husband. 

My outlook for the next picking has been somewhat altered and I have expressed to my husband that the focus is not on the task but on the experience.  I requested that maybe we can work on developing our relationship with the farm and the farmer.  He has agreed to try harder for my next pickup night. However, he is still concerned about what to do with Bok Choy.  Ah, my life’s challenge, to re-engineer an engineer at the CSA.

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