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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!

Mean, Mean Greens

I don’t have a problem blazing my own trail. Walking the path less taken. Beating my own drum, non-euphemistically speaking.

Still. Sometimes I wonder.

In the summer, the company I work for offered employees a chance to buy into a CSA. Naturally, I signed up right away.

(I didn’t know what a “CSA” was, exactly. I thought maybe it stood for “Chocolate Stout Apocalypse”.

Not that I want the world to end. But if we have to go some day…)

Anyway, I was informed soon after that “CSA” (in this context) actually means “community supported agriculture”. (Mine was better.) And that signing up meant weekly deliveries of large quantities of strange vegetables and gourds that I and my wife would be expected to eat.

Or freeze. Or hollow out into festive organic candle holders. Or take into the bedroom. Something. The farmer people didn’t care, so long as we used up all our veggies in time for the next cornucopial cavalcade the following week.

“And I wouldn’t know what to do with a rutabaga in bed if it put on high heels and fishnets and called me ‘Uncle Wiggles’.”

And so, we ate. And ate. And ate some more.

Because we’d hurt ourselves carving squashes into tchotchkes. And I wouldn’t know what to do with a rutabaga in bed if it put on high heels and fishnets and called me “Uncle Wiggles”.

(It’s a personal failing, I know. I’ll just have to manage the shame as best I can.)

The point is, I signed us up for the CSA, and all summer long we had a steady stream of vegetables coming into the kitchen. Bell peppers. Eggplants. Potatoes. And kale — lord, so much kale. I’ve never seen so much puckered-up green stuff in my life. It was like “cold water pool day” at an Oscar the Grouch cosplay convention.

(Too far? Too far. Meh.)

But the missus and I weren’t alone, awash in our sea of leafy green. Oh, no. The boxes of farm goodies were delivered to my office, every Tuesday afternoon. And there were lots of goodies each week. Twelve, fourteen boxes — maybe more. Some people even opted for bigger baskets, or the “fresh eggs” add-on.

How did they eat all that stuff each week? I don’t know. Maybe they have families full of small at-scurvy-risk children. Maybe they’re feeding hippopotami in their basements. Maybe they have kohlrabi fetishes. Not my department. All I know is that a good dozen or more shipments showed up and went home with my colleagues, week in and week out, all summer long.

A few weeks ago, the CSA announced their “fall offering”. Same deal. Veggies delivered. An avalanche of radishes and zucchinis and big flat leafy things I never figured out, and some stuff that looked like a tree stump and a carrot had bumped uglies and made a thing, and I don’t know what half that stuff was, ever. But I ate it. Mostly. And a lot of the non-stump looking varieties were probably even good for me.

So when the fall menu rolled around, I signed up again. My wife encouraged it. And she makes some tasty meals out of oddball greenery, somehow, so I did it. The new “fall boxes” started coming last month.

To me. Just me. At my desk. Because no one else in the company signed up for the fall CSA.

Not one. Fifteen people, maybe, and they all. Dropped. Out. I’m now “walking my own less beaten drum”, or whatever — though I hadn’t really meant to, in this case — and frankly, I’m a little worried.

I mean, why would everybody drop out of this thing? I can see attrition, sure. There are only so many collard greens you can stuff down your facehole in a season before you say no mas.

But everybody? Is there something wrong with these baskets? Did they get together and decide to boycott over cheap quality or something, and not include me? Am I eating pesticides and worker pee, or what? Are the turnips not free-range enough? Have the farmers sent us rat poison? DID SOMEONE FIND A SPIDER IN THEIR BASKET?!?

I don’t have these answers. What I have is a personal vegetable-and-possibly-arsenic weekly delivery service, a veggie crisper stuffed with celery and cilantro and shit I never knew people were meant to put in their mouths, and one hell of a lot of doubt about this whole “fall offering” deal.

I guess none of it has killed me just yet. But that doesn’t mean it won’t. Or that the spiders aren’t hanging out behind the mustard in the fridge, just biding their time to strike. Also, that rutabaga in there keeps giving me the stink eye.

I don’t trust these autumn veggies, people. I just don’t.

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