Sustainable Agriculture

french onion tart

A few years back Isabella and I were strolling through a neighborhood supermarket. Her eyes locked with a display of blueberries, and in her sweet little voice she asked if we could buy some.

It was January.

Close friends can already predict my answer. The rest of you might think me insane.

I told my then four year old daughter she couldn't have blueberries. I know, you're wondering why would anyone do such a thing.

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homemade pasta + 10-minute bolognese sauce

By now most of you know I’m a big supporter of local farmers’ markets. It’s where I do most of my shopping, including buying eggs, beef, chicken, pork and an assortment of in season fruit and vegetables. A couple of weeks ago, someone asked me on twitter how to know which produce was organic. It was a great question and one I hadn’t really considered myself until a year ago.

Before the tomato blight hit us in the northeast last year, it never occurred to me that those small family farms would use anything but organic farming methods, even if they can’t keep up with the paperwork or application fees required by the USDA to attain the official title of organic. Then I read an article about the blight. In it the owner of one of my favorite farm stands was quoted as saying he’d be using pesticides to treat his tomatoes.

I understand this from an economics point of view. Tomatoes are a huge crop for many of these local farms, and the prospect of losing an entire season of them could put some families in the poorhouse. Still, I couldn’t bring myself to buy one tomato from that stand last year. And gosh, I can tell you from seasons past, those tomatoes were so good.

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lemon blueberry muffins + half white flour

There is a fine line between being a "know it all" and a confident learner. Life has too much to offer to think we can possibly consume, let alone understand it all before our physical time on this earth is done.

And yet, there is an exceeding pressure, on kids and adults alike, to be perfect. It's an unrealistic goal. And a boring one too. Heck, if we become perfect, what pleasure would there be in waking each morning?

Three years ago when I ventured out on a freelance career, I had one main goal in mind—never miss a school event, recital or bringing birthday cupcakes to my daughter's classroom ranked pretty high up there. I knew what kind of mother I wanted to be. I wanted to be active and involved. I wanted to pick her up from school each day and talk about her favorite part—always lunch and recess, and her least favorite—none to report so far, which is good, I think.

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Good Morning Garden

It's been almost three months since I ventured out into the wilderness. Okay, maybe I'm exaggerating, since the great outdoors is only a 400 square foot back yard in Brooklyn, but gardening and I have never been a perfect pair. While I can cook up anything that comes from the ground, most living plants suffer a deadly fate under my care. Things are looking up though. The vegetable garden I planted on Mother's Day (thanks to my in-laws for the generous check that got it all started) is doing better than I expected.

The eggplant is finally blooming, having started as beautiful lavendar flowers. The tiny white flowers on the jalapeno plant blossomed into spicy peppers that gave a kick to my pico de gallo last week. And even though it sounds like tomatoes have a doomed fate in the northeast, I've got some coming in. Look, there's even celery.

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