CSA Haul: Week Five

I have two competing sides of my personality: the antsy one that craves new adventures, and the homey one that wants nothing more than to live life as a series of comforting routines. It’s a yin-and-yang dynamic that shoots me off on a road trip one weekend, then renders me homebound the next. I imagine it’s not uncommon to find this sort of split personality, the kind that makes you use all your energy on something exciting but requires a battery recharge before your next attempt.

After a solid five weeks as a CSA subscriber, I’ve realized that getting my weekly produce share complements both sides of my personality. There’s a fair bit of comforting sameness as the weeks fold in and out of each other; every Tuesday, I read through the weekly e-mail from Farmer John, telling me what to expect in that week’s bag. On Thursday, I swing by my local dropoff point after work, thumb through the offerings, and enjoy a quiet night of veggie-washing, wine-sipping and recipe-procuring. And with so many raw ingredients to work with, I’m able to content myself with lots of calm puttering around the kitchen. At the same time: having your weekly vegetable allotment dictated to you? It’s a challenge, and I’m constantly hunting down ideas and recipes that will use up the entire share without requiring me to give up my social life. Never before have I made this many new dishes in a week, or eschewed “dinners” of peanut butter and toast for so long, or learned so many new cooking techniques. Belonging to a CSA program has asked a lot of me, and it’s given a lot back. It calls me to expend mental and physical energy, and then it recharges me with the best food I’ve ever had.

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There is a Season: Churn, Churn, Churn

The countertops have been 409-ed, the floors vacuumed of Styrofoam peanut residue, and the dishes lifted from cardboard boxes into my refurbished cabinets. Ostensibly, the construction workers (or as I like to call them, “my sometimes roommates”) have left my apartment for good after two weeks of disruptive work and ridiculous shenanigans (one day, they made no repairs but did take the time to unplug my fridge). It’s at times like these—or, more realistically, after times like these, when you’ve had a chance to reclaim your 610 square feet—when it seems appropriate to substitute the occasional agonies of adulthood for the simple pleasures of childhood. In the middle of a June heatwave, that most certainly means ice cream, and lots of it.

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The Hand That Sews Time

When you start a lifelong hobby at the tender age of sixteen, it’s virtually guaranteed to see you through a lot: various stages of awkwardness, confusion, frustration, epiphany, and change, for starters. It’s called growing up, and I toured those stages of adolescence and young adulthood quite literally on foot. For the past eight years, I’ve been a runner, each footstep carrying me though life as I know it. As you can imagine, I’ve worn through many pairs of Asics in the process.

As a sophomore in high school, I picked up the jogging habit that was already a constant in my dad’s life. Up until that point, my music knowledge had been gleaned from the same parental sources: I’d listened to a strange combination of Motown and classical symphonies forever, never really extending my own musical tastes past the edges of theirs. And while oldies and opera sufficed as the soundtrack for family car trips, my new running habit allowed for freedom of musical choice. Armed with headphones and a Discman, I added artists to my repertoire, slowly becoming enamored with the songs that propelled me on increasingly lengthy jogs. I discovered Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin, and Bob Dylan a few years into my running career, at eighteen or nineteen, swam to the bottom of their discographies and drowned myself in sound. All the while, I was pounding pavement or snaking through wooded trails, running away from a few heart-ripping breakups and familial dysfunction, and towards new friends, new love, and eventual peace within my home.

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A Middleburg Night's Dream

After much careful thought, and a particularly relaxing Saturday, I’ve decided that the theme of my summer should be “picnics and ponies.” Both elements offer a welcome escape to my youth, back when I was an equestrian hooked on all things horsey (Exhibits A and B: visits to the local racetrack and the Kentucky Derby; primary reading material vacillating between The Saddle Club series and the latest Dover Saddlery catalog), and had a back patio that cried out for simple outdoor meals. Fortunately, Virginia provides excellent opportunities to get back to these basics, as long as you’re willing to take a leisurely hour-long drive. Then, you can stake out a place at the best venue in horse country for both picnics and ponies—by which I mean the twilight polo matches at Great Meadow in Middleburg.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m certainly not deterred by a country drive on traffic-free, tree-shaded roads, especially when I’m listening to the Allman Brothers Band and feeling dappled sunlight warm my forearms as I mark the miles in picket fences and grazing cows.

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CSA Haul: Week Three

I thought I was done with living out of boxes. Far away from college now, I no longer have to switch dormitories every year or shuttle between Washington and Chicago as the summer waxes and wanes; I’ve got a lease, people, and the quiet stability that comes with one. Right?

Not this week. With contractors here daily to renovate everyone’s kitchens and bathrooms, and “all personal items” ordered out of those rooms (that’s a lot of personal items. Like, a lot), I’ve been stumbling bleary-eyed through my life. You know, trying valiantly to ensure that I don’t leave the coffee-maker napping on my counter after breakfast, or my dishes anywhere in, on, or near a dishwasher, drying rack, or cabinet. Somehow, though, I actually managed to eat all my CSA vegetables. Aren’t you proud of me? Admittedly, though, I’m too tired to remember how I achieved such a feat. A recap is in order, to jog my memory:

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