Friday, January 11, 2013

A Rant about Foodies

I was going to add a fifth reason to why I joined a CSA, but decided to make it a stand alone blog post. My fifth reason was going to about the whole environment and health part of joining a CSA. However, I have mixed feelings about this. I really don't like things that get overhyped, and there is something about the "locally grown" and "sustainable" trends that irks me. Yes me, the passionate outdoorswoman and environmentalist. I think what rubs be the wrong way is that people are such zealots around here.

I used to eat a lot of fastfood, it's tasty, on the way home, and affordable. I still do, especially when traveling, because $4 at Wendy's vs a vapid overpriced salad seems like a no brainer to me at times. And sometimes after a 10 mile hike what you really want is Carls Jr curly fries and a chocolate shake.  I have fond memories of always stopping at Panda Express on the way home from backpacking in Yosemite. Plus, there are so many people that would in theory love to eat well, but it is overpriced and no one knows how to cook these danged vegetables. I have certainly come a long way from my days of microwaved cheese quesadillas. Yes, I will still keep a stock of frozen vegetables and precut sweet potato fries in my freezer at all times. No I don't have a garden that I love spending hours in. I probably won't until I'm 80. If I'm lucky I'll have an herb garden in which all the herbs don't die in under two weeks. No I don't think brussel sprouts taste amazing and should be eaten raw. I have a giant sweet tooth and rank dulce de leche next to godliness. And yes I have never seen the giant orange/lemon fruit delivered in my box this week, and my giant purple cabbage has an uncertain future, I will try the recipe but will not hesitate to dump it if it tastes bad. Now stop judging me!

The "foodie" movement is overtaken by an air of "I'm better than you are because I eat dirt" that feels elitest and pretentious. When something seems overhyped, I tend to stay away. However, that doesn't mean that I don't agree with the values and principles. Especially in the great state of California, where we have a wonderful climate to grow and harvest delicious foods, I'm going to support our locally grown produce and join the charge against the big guys. I haven't read enough to feel that I can truly speak on the health effects of pesticide-free organic growing methods, but I will say that getting a giant box of any fruits and vegetables on my doorstep is going to be a good thing for my health!


2013 marks my first foray into the world of community supported agriculture (CSA). Luckily, I live in San Francisco, the mecca of such activities. I thought joining a CSA would be a good idea based on a few reasons. 

One, receiving weekly deliveries of food for the week on my doorstep cuts out a trip to the grocery store. I actually enjoy trips to the grocery store, but decided with my medical school schedule that I like real runs more than grocery store runs. 

Two, the weekly deliveries of food removes a lot of decision-making from my daily life. I don't plan meals based on the infinite amount of ingredients at the store, instead I receive my food supply in the box, with recipes included. Doctors, even those still in training, make hundreds of decisions every day, many very small, but still using the decision-making parts of our brains. Decision fatigue is a real thing. I just became less decision fatigued. 

Three, rutabegas delivered? I cook rutabegas. Doesn't matter that I didn't know what a rutabega looked like until I googled it. I have an easy recipe and 2lbs of rutabegas- it will be done. I like the fact that being part of a CSA forces me to try new things on a regular basis. I consider this a good thing. Change is good, a few years ago I wrote a post about inertia, and how it slowly and steadily overtakes us. I could detail perfectly my Trader Joes run, what I choose in the vegetable area, my route down the isles, and thus my fridge and food stay strikingly similar week to week. Don't get me wrong, I still love my Trader Joes, and will definitely continue to go there as needed. My new weekly CSA delivery is a system that fights against this inertia and builds in change to my week.

Four, my CSA box teaches me what fruits and vegetables grow in different seasons. I've been enjoying Farmer's Markets for several years now, you learn to appreciate the revolving cycle of food during the year. When summer rolls around my excitement grows for the plentiful amounts of zucchini and peaches. As winter nears, my stomach rumbles for sweet potatoes. On a psychological level, I  find there is something good for the soul about the sensory perception of time passing. California doesn't really have seasons, so sometimes you can't really feel the change in time. It's why I put away my summer clothes in the fall, and am happy to bring out my rain boots. I like that my food expresses to me the change in seasons and a CSA helps with this. 

In the end, I sorted through the vast numbers of CSAs in the Bay Area and decided to try LolaBee's Harvest. Lolabee's works as an online store that sends a weekly harvest box, a smorgasbord of fruits and vegetables, and also allows you to add other locally grown items to your order including meats, cheeses, eggs, herbs and other fruits and vegetables as you wish. Keep you posted!