Friday, October 19, 2012

Sub – Urban Momma Autumn Farm Blunders

I live about 15 minutes away from a farm and I love fruits and vegetables from the farm. I always buy kale from the grocery store. Joshua, aka veggie boy, and I love raw kale salad. At the grocery store when I buy organic kale it’s expensive. ½ lb. costs $2.50 at the grocery store.

This trip to the farm was my first time ever purchasing kale. At the farm I purchased 2 lbs. Honestly, I am not so sure how many lbs. it is, they fill up a plastic grocery bag with hand-picked kale for $3.50. It didn’t look pretty like the kale you buy in the grocery store. Again, this was my first time purchasing fresh picked kale from a farm. I didn’t know I was taking home visitors from the farm. The attendant gave us some dry corn on the cob too. It’s supposed to be popcorn. I was told to put the corn on the cob in a paper bag, fold the top to close (paper bag), and pop it in the microwave.

I mused about visiting my grandmothers’ as I grabbed the largest pot I have. At my maternal grandmother’s home in NW, Washington, D.C. she’d grow kale in her small row-house backyard. Sometimes when we arrived she would have kale soaking in the sink. My paternal great-grandmother would have kale soaking in the kitchen sink too, my mother, likewise. I never knew why they soaked kale and never asked why. When I purchase kale from the grocery store I don’t soak the kale at all. I rinse each leaf thoroughly and cook them or make a salad.

I tried my own technique of rinsing each leaf thoroughly. As I put the kale in a large pot I saw something move. I thought maybe it was a draft in the kitchen even though the fan was turned off and no windows were open. I looked closely at a kale leaf and saw a green worm. I thought about how many more green worms could be hiding in the kale. I immediately began to investigate the rest of the kale I washed and saw that there were tiny bugs and bug pooh on some of the kale leaves. Cleaning this kale was going to take more work than just a thorough rinse.

Green worm blends in with the kale nicely

I went to use my interactive encyclopedia, the internet. I did an Internet search on “how do I get bugs off my kale?” I found that if I added a little salt to the soaking water it would help kill the bugs and clean the kale. To a large pot of water I added a teaspoon of kosher salt and swished it around in the cold water (kosher salt b/c that’s what I have on hand at the house and use to cook with). When I put the kale in the pot of salt water to soak I noticed the kale kept floating to the top and above the water. I put a strainer on top of the pot with the salt water and kale. I let it soak unattended for 10 minutes. I saw the tiny bugs floating to the top in the strainer. I rinsed them again after soaking them. I slightly steamed the kale before making the salad. I was still shocked about the bugs.

Oh, the dry corn on the cob that was popcorn? The attendant at the farm said to put the corn cob in a paper bag and pop it the microwave. The corn did not pop well, not well enough to eat. So with another corn cob I had my daughter remove the kernels from the cob because I thought, maybe the farm attendant gave me the wrong directions. We popped the kernels off the cob in a paper bag and this time no kernels popped. A week later we went to the farm again, because I try to get fresh fruit and vegetables every week, and the attendant gave us more popcorn. Of course my kids told the attendant how disappointed they were in their mom because, “she didn’t pop the popcorn right.”

Went home popped the popcorn according to the directions of the farm attendant, in a paper bag, folded at the top, blah, blah, blah. The popcorn still did not pop with good results. It popped, just not good enough to eat. I’ll just stick to my bag of Jolly Time popping kernels.

I think I am just writing this to let you know how clueless I am about farms and organic fruits and vegetables. I do have an interest in learning about chemicals in foods and the effects they have on our health. I am embarrassed to say that all the while I was cleaning the kale I thought, “I’ll never buy farm fresh kale again, I’ll just go to the grocery store.” But, I still go back to the farm and buy the kale because it’s cheaper and better for my health + they have the best sweet peppers and apples ever.

I know I have been so programmed to take the convenient way of living. Go to the grocery store, grab it off the shelf, and cook something with the least amount of prep time. As I think about it, sometimes, getting food that doesn't take much prep time is the worse for you.

What’s stopping you from visiting your local farm?

And since this is a family topic, take those kids to the farm, let them run run run and they will have a nice nap to give you some quiet time. Or maybe they'll go to bed earlier to give you some quiet time!

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