"And then," I said, "I have to go get the veggies."
"Again?" my husband asked incredulously. He was right: the whole veggie situation had gotten a little out of hand.
When the farmers market ends in late fall, I enter into a mild funk. So this year I decided to buy a share of winter vegetables from a local organic farm. When that first Thursday pickup arrived (finally!), the kids and I bounded out to idyllic Lincoln, Mass. We came home with bag after bag full of local organic goodness: beets, parsnips, four kinds of squash, celery root, turnips, rutabaga ... It was a giddying abundance of food, a veritable root vegetable cornucopia. My husband, who will only eat onions, carrots and potatoes, was not amused.
I knew it was entirely up to me to stay cheerful, focused and on task. I carefully unloaded the bags, washed the vegetables (they were so - earthy), and put them away, either in a basket on the counter or in the fridge, which I'd cleaned to make room for the new tenants. I tirelessly used up the greens in those first rosy days, then methodically moved onto the potatoes, and finally started in on the squash. I made slow but steady progress in reducing the pile. I felt proud.
And then, suddenly, the next pickup date had arrived. I could see where pretty soon, I would start to feel like Lucy at the candy factory. I had no one to blame but myself.
I came up with a plan: Baked goods. My nine-year-old son had tried pumpkin pie earlier in the fall and, much to my surprise, loved it. We'd start with pumpkin pie and move on from there to breads, cakes, muffins ... We'd make them all from scratch! Put me on the prairie and I'd be just fine. Our pie was a two-day process, but so worth it. We baked the pumpkin, let it cool, pureed it and put it in the fridge. The next day, we mixed the filling, cooked the crust and put it all together. The kids were so patient, and so excited. That night, my husband and I went out for dinner, leaving the kids and the sitter with the freshly-baked pie (along with money to get pizza delivered, because what, I was supposed to make pie and dinner?).
When my husband and I got home from our date, we couldn't wait to find out: How was the pie? Well, our beloved sitter said, as soon as dinner was over and it was time for pumpkin pie, the kids had wondered: Was there anything else for dessert?
Things only went downhill from there. We have a cabinet that we installed out on our back porch. I had filled it with, you know, root veggies from the farm. A couple weeks later, after the first frost, I went to grab a squash only to find that it was frozen. (Truthfully, I was just the tiniest bit relieved. No squash for us that night!) Then, after the next pickup, tired, losing steam, I just never got around to washing one bag of produce. Two weeks later: mush. We had a (blessed) three-week hiatus from the farm over the holidays; when I ran into the farmer at the next pickup, he asked if we'd had enough veggies to last the extra week. It took everything in me not to get snide.
At our most recent pickup, the kids were almost ready to go limp on the floor rather than get in the car, and who could blame them? Then I realized that we only have two Thursdays to go before we're cut loose from the freakiní organic farm. Suddenly, things are looking up.