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Charlie Hatton
Brookline, MA



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Howdy, friendly reading person!
I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
If you're a science and/or silliness fan, give it a gander! See you soon!

The Green Green Groceries of Home

Einstein once defined insanity as doing the same thing and expecting different results. Likely, he was talking about experimental physics and solving equations and possibly hair conditioning products.

As it turns out, the saying also applies to lettuce. And spinach. And very likely, swiss chard. I’ll explain.

A few years ago, my wife and I signed up for one of those local farming collective deals that were just getting popular around here. We didn’t sign up right away, of course. First, I had to be assured that there would be no actual farming on our part involved. No weeding, no hoeing, no reaping, no sowing, and no — I can’t be clearer about this — no wearing of overalls.

I’m serious. I got that last part in writing.

Once I was confident that we were in effect only subsidizing our local farmers, rather than joining them in some kind of amateur 4-H nightmare gone wrong, we signed up, paid our fees, and waited anxiously for our bountiful harvest deliveries.

“But four pounds of bok choy and a giant radish does not a Friday dinner make.”

And that turned out to be the problem. They were too bountiful.

We agreed to a biweekly shipment. And every other Thursday, June through September, some farming guy — in denim overalls, no less — would bring a box of fruits and vegetables to our door. A big box. Many fruits. And lots of vegetables. Lots of vegetables.

Now, my wife and I, we’re not averse to the vegetative delights. Between us, there’s scarcely a rooted, sprouting, leafy or floretted edible plant we won’t eat. But there are only two of us. We don’t eat broccoli for breakfast, and I’m not a fan of taking lunch to work. Toss in a dinner out now and then, and we’ve got maybe eight meals each in two weeks to cover. We’re happy to include veggies in the mix. But four pounds of bok choy and a giant radish does not a Friday dinner make. Not unless your name is Harvey, maybe, and you’re invisible to most people on the planet.

So we ran out our season, ate the dirt-covered bejeesus out of vegetables that summer, and decided that this sort of thing just wasn’t a good fit for us. Maybe if we took in a pack of hungry goats, or we were infested with an outbreak of vegetarians. But for two of us, it’s just too much. We decided that. I remember it distinctly.

Fast forward to this spring, and my office announced an agreement with another farming collective in the area. Like an idiot, I mentioned it to my wife. Evidently suffering a bout of amnesia, she thought it was a good idea. And like a mental patient, I agreed. So here we are again.

Only this time, the boxes come weekly. Einstein would not be proud.

Last week, we got our first box. I’ve never seen so many kinds of leafy greens in one place. I mean, it’s one thing if they throw some cauliflower or blood oranges or, I don’t know, durian fruit in there. Granola bars. Whatever the hell else they grow on farms.

But no. We got the full-on leaf-o-rama. Lettuce. Spinach. Kale. I mean, honest-to-god kale. I thought that stuff was only used as attic insulation or envelope packing. But apparently, we’re supposed to eat it. Who knew?

We did the best we could. We ate the spinach. I made sandwiches that were more lettuce than bread or meat. We even had the kale. No. really. My wife cooked kale, and we put it in our mouths. We probably even swallowed some of it. Crazy.

That left roughly half a basket of assorted root vegetables and oddball shit like fennel, which I assumed was just grown dried and flaked in a little bottle on the spice rack. And then Tuesday rolled around, and we got another box full of green stuff. Most of it leafy. I’ve seen more roughage in the last ten days than a sandpaper-and-hairy-legs inspector.

I’m not sure where this is going to lead, frankly. We’re two weeks in, and the boxes come until fall. We couldn’t even fit everything in the new box in the fridge; our crisper runneth over. I can picture us in August, taking a Wednesday off of work for an emergency collard green chowdown. The horror.

If things get any worse, I figure we have two options. We can either find some vegan family with fourteen kids who can use the overflow, or we take the extra greenage and plant it in the courtyard out back, and start our own vegetable garden.

Godammit. I just knew I’d wind up in those freaking overalls.

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