A Confession . . . and Other Produce News

Please don’t judge me.  I almost didn’t find the courage to share this.  I am about to inflict pesticide-ridden strawberries on a whole group of innocent, cherubic, nursery-school children.

Forbidden Fruit

I am the helper at our co-op nursery school on Wednesday, and J requested strawberries.  Repeatedly.  Today I went grocery shopping, and there weren’t any organic strawberries.  And I sat there, wavering, because I know that strawberries are on the top of the list of foods that you should buy organic.  But it would mean another stop and also, almost-kindergarteners eat a lot.  And organic strawberries in March have got to be expensive, right?  So I just decided to blow it off and buy non-organic.   Part of me fears that my fellow parents will read the blog and go running to the classroom so that they can knock the tainted fruit right out of the hands of their Precious Little Ones, and another part of me knows that all of these parents have elementary school just around the corner, and have you seen the horrifying school lunches that they serve to our children?  Really, you should click that last link–it’s the teacher who’s blogging about eating school lunch every day, in case you haven’t seen it.

Anyway, you might be wondering what super-lame grocery store didn’t have organic strawberries today.   So I will tell you.  (Deep breath, gaining courage for another confession. . . ) Wal-Mart.  I know.  I never used to step into a Wal-Mart for, like, years.   And then the economy went to heck and everything at Hannaford and Price Chopper got so expensive that I started shopping around.  And then we watched Food, Inc. Umm, have you seen that yet?  Yes, it’s freakishly disturbing, and if and when you do go see it, please remember to take a paper lunch bag with you for your first post-Food, Inc. grocery trip.  Because you will begin to hyperventilate.  I know I did, and I ran into a friend who was clutching her cart for dear life because she’d just seen it.   On the other hand, though, it did make me feel slightly better about going to Wal-Mart, because if I go there and buy the most organic/natural choices there, then Wal-Mart will start to force everyone to conform to my consumer demands, like they did with the hormone-free milk. Anyway, this policy of mine just doubled my guilt, because not only am I poisoning my precious child and her friends, but I am behaving as if non-organic strawberries are acceptable, thus voting with my dollars in favor of toxicity.  I’m sorry, people.  Crap, I wonder if I have one of those paper bags around here [gasping] . . . .

On the other hand, do you know what else I’ve done lately?  I joined a CSA!  I meant to join one last year, but time got away from me.  Lucky for me, a friend of mine, the Purple Cook, started a blog about cooking with local CSA produce, which gave me a cyber-kick in the pants.  This is also good because trying to come up with ways to use what produce I get can be stressful.  We used to be part of a CSA pre-kids, and although cherry week was super-fabulous, I distinctly remember once coming up with a cold cucumber and dill soup even though a) I didn’t like cucumber or dill and b) W doesn’t like cold soups.  But I’ve grown since then (I like cucumbers now–yay me), so hopefully it will go well.  I remember that last year I was jealous when I’d run into people making their pick ups from Thursday’s Schenectady Market, so I joined Eight Mile Creek.  Of course, there are plenty of other CSAs that you can find, too.  But hurry!  I was already tardy, myself, because they fill up fast.

Finally, speaking of creative cookery with produce, I made a new recipe for myself yesterday.   A friend made a yummy dish for a potluck, and then someone else posted a similar recipe, so I had to try.  I tried an experiment to see if I liked it better with curry powder or with chili powder & cumin. . . I think the curry won my a nose.  It”s onion sauteed in olive oil with spices, the I threw in diced-up leftover sweet potatoes, black beans, & chopped cilantro all in our favorite corn tortillas, with some pepper jack on top.  I took a picture of it because a) they looked pretty and b) we’ve been suffering from a lack of pictures on the blog, I know.  I don’t have a great deal of skill in the photography department, alas, as evidenced by my blurry strawberries.  Makes me wonder which is worse:  a dull and picture-free block, or pictures that aren’t particularly good?  No, I really wonder–will you comment and tell me?  Anyway, here it is:

It was yummy.  I asked J if she wanted to try, and she said, “Mommy!  You know kids don’t like that stuff.”


  1. Nisky Mom

    First of all…I love your blog! Thanks for all the great ideas. I like pictures…even if they aren’t perfect. Where do you get those great tortillas?

  2. HollowSquirrel

    You’re going to wash the strawberries, right? I, for one, won’t freak out on you.

  3. Tasha–I’ve been meaning to link to you, but I didn’t want to until I’d secured MY spot in a CSA.
    Nisky Mom–thanks. Those tortillas are at Hannaford (they’re relatively new there, I think). Come to think of it, can I strongly recommend the way Rick Bayless tells you to reheat tortillas? It’s in the notes at the bottom of this recipe. LOVE HIM, too.
    Hollow Squirrel–the strawberries will be washed. But not with that special produce cleaner stuff, which I’ve read is worthless. No need to bring it up to the other mommies, though, right? RIGHT?
    Pattie– I wonder if Pam can get me to like beets?
    Albany Kid–Thanks. I do feel better.
    Greta–You so don’t suck.
    Ken–I wish I could say the same for you. . . .

  4. Didn’t you hear? Walmart is vindicated! See FUSSYlittleBLOG http://fwd4.me/HTa, or The Atlantic.

    Look, we all try to make healthy choices, but you can’t be perfect all the time. Really, it’s a service to the kids not to burden them with unrealistic expectations. That’s what I say, anyway, when I whip out a box of store-bought cookies and call it a day.

  5. Greta

    If buying only organic strawberries is a litmus test for good parenting, I totally suck! Though many of you may already know that.

    Let my little one eat as many as his heart desires (or, at least how many dictated by the little sign on the bowl).

  6. Greta

    PS. I think we’ll be splitting a Eight Mile Creek large share with the Wareh’s yippeee!

  7. Tasha

    Well now I have to find extraordinary beet recipes for the blog. I thought I hated them at the beginning of last summer, now we can’t get enough.

  8. It is great to bump into another blogger with such a similar perspective on food. I too am I Walmart food shopper and CSA subscriber (in a household with two small children).

    And I completely agree that it is important to vote with one’s wallet and support Walmart’s move to organic and sustainably raised foods.

    As for the strawberries… couldn’t this be a great teaching moment for your pre-k kid about fruits and the seasons? Honestly, if I were going to cave, I would probably buy a bag of organic frozen strawberries, a bag of frozen wild blueberries, and a bunch of conventional bananas, and mix them all together so that the expensive organic strawberries went further.

    As to the question of photographs, I have chosen for my blog to skip them entirely. But then again, I am one of those oddballs that prefers my cookbooks to be solely text (with maybe a few illustrations).

    [Thank you Albany Kid for pointing me here]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *