When Dora was a baby, I had a conversation with a colleague whose child is close to Dora's age. He was boastfully telling me how she had never seen Elmo. "She has no idea who Elmo is!" This was because, apparently, he and his wife were the only parents in the history of the world to uphold their pre-baby, "our kids will not watch TV" plans.
Moments later, our conversation shifted to food, and he explained that his daughter's favorite food was a can of Chef Boyardee. Luckily, my inner voice that had been berating me for the brain damage I had already caused to poor baby Dora by allowing her to watch TV paused just long enough for me to absorb this statement. "Well," I offered, "Dora might know who Elmo is, but she definitely does not know Chef Boyardee."
And so went an early lesson in parenting - we all have different, and equally valid, goals and aspirations as parents. For some people, what their children do (or do not) watch on TV is more important than the toys they play with or the food they eat. There are so many battles in parenthood, you can't face them all. In our family, food wins. Yes, my children watch TV. But, most nights, we eat something homemade. Not saying that is right or better than the alternative, nor am I saying we always eat perfectly, it's just what we choose to try to do well most of the time.
One way food wins for us is that we have been members of the Flying Cloud Farm CSA for years - so many I've lost count, but farm owner Annie and I figure it might be as many as six or seven. That's 20 weeks every May through October of Western North Carolina's freshest produce, grown, nurtured, and harvested right from this beautiful mountain land by our friends and neighbors in Fairview. Being a member of a CSA has made me grow and expand as a home cook, and has helped us connect more fully to our home and community. It has helped me get into a routine with shopping, meal planning, and cooking that works well (usually) for our family. And, for the most part, my kids do well with eating their vegetables, in part because they have no other choice.
I have my faults with this, of course. I'm not a big fan of yellow squash, but they grow plentifully in Western North Carolina. Kohlrabi? Yes, it baffles me. And turnips are low on my list of priorities.
But, this year, I'm upping the ante on using the contents of our CSA box in delicious and creative ways. I love food, cooking, and photography, so this year I'm launching "20 Weeks" where I'm going to (try) to share photos, recipes, successes, and failures from this experience. Thanks for joining me on this adventure! I hope to share something that you enjoy.
If you're a social media whiz you can follow this project on Instagram, hashtag 20LocallyGrownWeeks.
I know. A hashtag for my project. Please forgive me.