I have cultivated quite a love affair with fruit and vegetables. This is a bit surprising based on my childhood. Though I wasn’t insanely picky or stubborn (I would, and will still try anything), I was… specific. Everything had to be beyond thoroughly washed to remove any trace of pesticide or dirt because I swore I could still taste it. Tomatoes had to be seeded and cut into cubes not more than ¼ inch. Peach fuzz had to be immediately removed and belonged nowhere near my tongue. Potatoes had to be washed, washed, washed and peeled. The list goes on and on.

Since moving to the Central Valley, the veritable belt of agriculture in the state of California and the source of most of the nation’s produce, fruits and veggies have become a sort of passion in my cooking and in my kitchen. I’ve expanded my tastes beyond my wildest dreams and my demand for precision in preparation has all but dissolved. I’ll practically bite into a raw tomato and dig my teeth into a warm peach just pulled from a tree. Delicious!

Of course, as fate would have it, I’ve just married a veggie hater. What a cruel world! Though he would deny it to no end, hubby does not care much for veggies (but does love fruit, so it’s not a total loss). At first I let it hinder my cooking and stopped buying most produce. I swear I grew depressed over our weekly menu and at the sight of our fridge without the leafy greens, cheery reds and sunny yellows of my favorite foods.

See, the hubby likes a very basic menu and though he loves my cooking (and more so, my baking), the monotony started to get to me. As timing would have it, the hubby has been away for work related reasons and I took that as the perfect time to get back in the kitchen and back in the produce aisle. Then an idea struck me. I had heard a friend talk about a produce delivery service in the area. I looked into it and stumbled across Abundant Harvest Organics… and fell in love.

Now, each week (or a few times a month), I pick up a giant crate loaded to the brim with delicious, seasonal, organic produce. It’s like Christmas! Every crate is a surprise and you wouldn’t believe how excited I get about peeling back that brown paper to reveal the contents. Tucked into the familiar mix have been a few surprises, and I think I like those best. There is something fun and challenging about seeing something new and thinking, “I’ve never cooked those!” And, though I’m not a crazy environmental, tree-hugging, green enthusiast, it’s nice to know that I’m eating organic.

While pondering over what to do with the baby artichokes received in this week’s crate, I laughed to myself. While living in Orange County, the greatest excitement to me was a pair of designer jeans or a killer pair of shoes… now it’s a large box of organic produce. I have truly transitioned to country living! And I couldn’t be happier.


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