Wednesday, March 18, 2009


Now that the snow is gone and the sun has some warmth to it again, I'm starting to think about... vegetables! I just finished reading Michael Pollan's newest book, which starts with the simple suggestion to "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants." He goes on to describe how our industrialization of food has made us very confused about what's actually food and what's just "foodish". He also tracks the history of the science of nutrition, and how scientists love the reductionist approach to nutrition (e.g. the important parts of beef are the fats and proteins contained within it). But the nutrient's role in a food, or the food's role in a diet, or the diet's role in a lifestyle are nearly impossible to study, so nutrition science tends to overlook all that. The orange is healthy for you because of the vitamin C, or the fish is good because of omega-3 fatty acids. Never mind that epidemiologic studies have shown that a vitamin C pill doesn't provide the same benefits as eating an orange, and fish oil capsules don't provide the same benefits as eating a piece of salmon. We're finally realizing that food is more than just the sum of its parts (one of the main reasons that I think the "100% complete and balanced" claim on dog and cat foods is bunk).

But anyway, that quick summary doesn't do justice to the book- you'll have to read it yourself!

As summer is getting closer, I'm getting excited for the return of the farmer's market, but we're also considering joining a CSA (community-supported agriculture). To join a CSA, you purchase a share from a farm, who in turn delivers a weekly box of produce (or eggs, flowers, honey, or anything else the farm produces) to you. The downside- and upside- is that the contents of the box change depending on what's in season. You have to be a flexible cook to be able to take full advantage of what comes in your box, unlike going to the farmer's market where you can pick and choose what you want. You also don't get money back if pests or bad weather take out some of the farm's crops and you don't get a full box. The advantage is that you get to help support a local farm, and you provide a farm with a steady, reliable income throughout the growing season. CSA farms often open themselves to their supporters, encouraging members to come help with planting or harvesting and hosting events like corn roasts and pot lucks.

There's a huge list of Twin Cities-area CSAs at the Land Stewardship Project. Eener's Farm delivers to our local co-op... What do you think, should we go for it?

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