Here, there, and everywhere: Overcoming the overwhelm

 

Boston-based Cornelia joined the Farmers To You staff in January of this year. She has brought her perspective as a working mom to our conversations about the partner family experience … and we’ve implored her to share her story. Her first installment can be found here: “Here, there, and everywhere. A fraught tale from a frantic mom.” We hope you enjoy reading it, and invite all of you to share your perspective as well.

At first I was asking: There are not enough hours in the day. How can I do more?

I had a 3-year-old, spent 1.5 hours commuting in my car every day, and was doing the grocery shopping at 8 am on Sundays, but buying my lunch every weekday.

I was resentful of my husband, rarely saw my friends, and envied my son’s daycare providers for the time they had to devote to him. While I had the privilege of paying for it.

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A friend suggested Brigid Shulte’s book “Overwhelmed.” Naturally, my first response was: “Who has time to read a book??!!” But her newfound calm, coupled with her insisting that I could find the time, pushed me to it.

While reading it, I started tuning into some of the conversations about the culture of busyness. The glorification of over scheduling . The martyrdom of motherhood.  Picture this: I bump into someone out and about, and they ask casually: “How’s it going?” My answer comes like a shot: “Busy! Very very busy!” My response is automatic. Exasperated. And a bit self-congratulatory. Suggesting: “Oh, I have so many things going on in my life! See what I can accomplish?!?! I’m a Superwoman!”

But I had nothing on Brigid Shulte:

I am like the Red Queen from “Alice in Wonderland,” forever running faster and getting nowhere. Entire hours evaporate while I’m doing stuff that needs to get done, but once I’m done, I can’t tell you what it was I did or why it seemed so important. At work, I arrange carpools to band practice and ballet. At home, I write e-mails, and do interviews and research for work. “Just a sec,” I hear my daughter mimicking me as she mothers her dolls. “Gimme a minute.” She just stuck a yellow sticky note on my forehead to tear me away from writing this story, at 9:35 p.m., to remind me I’m late to come read Harry Potter for story time. Most days, I feel so overwhelmed that I barely have time to breathe.

And so I read…And, slowly, took a hard look at how I was spending my time. I was surprised (and a little angered) by the assertion in the opening chapter of “Overwhelmed” that, despite my busyness, I had many hours of leisure time in a week. Once I got past that and understood how I was choosing to spend my time, I was able to see it.

How did I find the time to read? Two things: Most importantly, I deleted all social media apps from my phone. It is astonishing how much time I can waste on Facebook. Two: I replaced those apps with the the Kindle App. It’s free and your e-book library is accessible from any device. Why I am more apt to read something when it’s lit up on a screen I’m not sure. But, I read books regularly now.

We all have our own journey, and I want to share the resources that have helped me simplify. This process is difficult. Breaking old habits. Honoring intuition over chatter. And it is imperfect. I’d love to hear from you. What resources, apps, tools, tips, services, etc. do you rely on – and why?

*This Washington Post article is what inspired Shulte’s book. It’s a good read!

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This Week’s Bounty: Eating Seasonally with Gusto

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Eating seasonally takes a completely different approach. One of the goals is to eat lots of what is in season – so when it goes out of season – you will not miss it again till next time! So right now we have this abundance of greens – of the more bitter and vitamin-laden kind. So salads galore, braising greens morning, noon and night, throw them in soups, in grains, in stews, in smoothies, because they are the vegetables which have come to heal us in this early spring season.

Most interestingly – there is a grand plan behind this whole eating with the seasons. We actually get the vitamins and nutrients we need at the right time when we eat these timely vegetables. Early bitter greens are loaded with many nutrients that we have been missing all winter. The soil has been breaking down these minerals and compounds all winter long, and that slight bitter tang tells your body to wake up and come alive again.

So go ahead and over do! Splurge and gorge yourself on these healthy delights.

Some exciting new items this week:

Two kinds of Organic Granola – Triple Berry Granola and Pistachio Mulberry Granola – both are gluten free and sweetened with Maple Syrup from Tierra Farms.

Organic Trail Mix from Tierra Farms – a wonderful organic snack option.

New Dried Fruits from Tierra Farms … unsweetened and unsulfured:
Pineapple Rings
Cavendish Banana Coins
White Figs

We have more Lamb this week from Tamarack Vermont Sheep Farm. Eva, usually not a red meat eater, indulged in some Tamarack Lamb over the weekend, and she couldn’t help but eat every bit of meat and fat. She especially remarked about how tasty and nourishing the fat was. She ended up making a bone broth out of the very cleaned bones which gelled beautifully in the frig. She enjoyed this true gelatin with a bit of heavy cream.

Amazing new Sauce from David and Michelle at Valicenti Organico, our amazing pasta makers:

David and Michelle also have wonderful new pastas for us to try (how lucky are we?)

Their inventiveness never ceases to amaze!

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This Week’s Bounty: Bursting spring energy, herbs, lettuce, spring dug parsnips

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This is a really difficult time of year for me to stay calm. All my memories of farming and horticulture remind me of the incredible bounty that is about to burst from just below the soil, and in a year like this one where everything is being held back by cool weather – that explosion will be particularly amazing.

The asparagus is waking up and beginning to push out roots to support its rocket like growth, farmers are out in the fields planting greens, peas, and early brassicas, the wild onions (Ramps) are poking their green leaves up from under the forest duff waiting for just the right amount of sun and warmth and the fiddleheads are right behind them.

The cows, and lambs are looking longingly at the first signs of green out on the pastures, and really start to get rambunctious. Many a fence has been disrespected at this time of the season. The piglets are running circles in their pens with all the energy they have and the sows have this look of any mother with overactive children – The goats… well they are scheming 24 hours a day on how to trip the lock, slide under the wire, or just jump the fence – and because they are goats – they will succeed because they put far more energy into escape than any farmer can possibly put into keeping them in.

What governs all this activity is soil temperature. And this is driven in turn by the Earth. Something to think about – even though our logical mind tells us that it is the sun warming the soil and melting the snow – farmers know that the ice on the pond melts from the bottom up, and so does the snow on the field. When Mother Earth is ready to give birth again – she warms and everything follows.

Enjoy this incredibly special time of year.

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We are clearly in transition – new crops coming, storage crops running out. Try something new this week – and keep a close eye on your order from week to week as it will change due to the comings and goings of some winter staples.

Romaine Lettuce heads from David Miskell – greenhouse magic!

Red’s Best has their Monkfish this week again as well as White Fish, Scallops and Flounder. We had the Hake (White Fish) last night and I am still so pleased with how unusually fresh and flavorful this fish is. Prices are also going down as the catch increases and the weather is more cooperative.

Julie Rubaud of Red Wagon Plants is harvesting fresh herbs again – chock full of vitamins and everything we need after a dark and cold winter.
Flat parsley
Tarragon
Chives
Mint
Cilantro 

David at River Berry Farm still has those wonderful Spring Dug Parsnips and this week is harvesting Braising Mix and Small Leaf Lettuce Mix from his greenhouses.

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Placing Meat in a Supporting Role

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This past week, some of the staff were reflecting on our busy lives, managing a household, working, child-raising and food buying. We’re not telling anyone anything new by saying that it’s incredibly challenging to feed our families well every day. Feeding family members with food allergies, dietary restrictions, picky tastes while staying within a budget can feel downright impossible. How does one do it? More than one of us confessed that we’re buying meat through Farmers To You, but that it really stretches our budget.

High quality, humanely- and healthily-raised meat costs more, yes. It also is more flavorful, more satisfying, and a little goes a long way. Shifting our thinking — and meal-planning — from placing meat at the center of the plate, to thinking of meat as an ingredient has us excited.

Some internet research has revealed some terrific resources, shared below, and on a Pinterest board called “Almost meatless: Meat as a condiment.”

Please share your thoughts and recipes — we need them!!

Fine Cooking: “10 Ways to Eat Less Meat

Serious Eats: “Resolution: Eat Less Meat

The Kitchn: “When Meat Isn’t The Main Attraction

Joan, a very wise woman in our community — and in the Farmers to You office — had this to say:

I have been working with the idea of meat as a condiment for some time now and it’s really helpful. Our family buys fairly expensive meats, but we use small amounts at each meal. A little bit goes a long way! I don’t claim to have this completely figured out… it’s a work in progress, for sure.

I first learned about this idea from Lisa Mase. Her website is here.

We’re all trying to figure this out, one meal at a time. What tips about “meat lite” dishes can you share?

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Waffles with Buckwheat & Almond Flours topped with Yogurt & Berries

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Leigh in JP inspired us on Instagram this week with her photo of waffles w/buckwheat & almond flours, yogurt, berries. Here is her recipe (adapted from the Joy of Cooking):
Thanks, Leigh!
Waffles with Buckwheat & Almond Flour
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Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Preheat waffle iron
  2. Whisk together flours, almond meal, baking powder, sugar and salt
  3. In another bowl mix eggs, melted butter, milk and water
  4. Combine wet and dry ingredients without overmixing
  5. Make the waffles in the hot iron
  6. Serve with yogurt and berries!
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