It’s also an opportunity for families to grow stronger, for friends to share resources, and for communities to come together.
We wanted to offer a deeper look into how members of our Farm Share have experienced transformation in small but significant ways through their Harvest Box. Jacqueline, our first featured member, is a prime example of this. A stay-at-home mom who moonlights as a doula and personal chef, Jacqueline loves gathering friends and neighbors to enjoy healthy, homemade meals. Her passion for nourishment in all its forms–physical, creative, and relational–makes Farm Share a natural fit for Jacqueline and her family.
Tell us about how your Farm Share fits into your life.
Food is a big part of my family’s culture. I love to cook, and the biggest joy of my life is cooking for other people. We have friends over for meals a lot, and I typically host dinner parties twice a week. When I make dishes with the Harvest Box, it’s always woven into my presentation—where the ingredients were sourced from and how it was grown. I want people to know about the love that’s gone into the food they’re eating.
For example, I made bok choy the other day with breakfast. I shared it with some friends and they were like, “I’ve never bought bok choy before—how is this so amazing?” Even for me, it’s not something I’d normally think to buy at the store, but it was in the box, so I found a way to use it with eggs, and it was just so good.
How did you learn about Farm Share? What attracted you to it?
We got introduced to The Ecology Center through our best friends. The kids have gone to Farm School a few times, and we started getting the Farm Share boxes last year. The freshness and taste of the food is such good quality, it outweighs most of anything you can get at the grocery store. I get really enthusiastic about sharing food that is produced locally and sustainably.
Has your Harvest Box had an impact on your family’s approach to healthy eating?
Like a lot of kids, my kids aren’t super excited about broccoli. But they loved the broccolini, which came in this beautiful purple color. My daughter cut it up, and she wanted me to try roasting it instead of steaming it. Then my kids decided they would only eat the pieces that were super crispy.
My son is much more difficult in regard to eating vegetables, but he loves the fresh spinach we’ve been getting. He will eat tons of sautéed spinach.
In general, if the kids get involved in the cooking process, then they’re much more likely to eat that vegetable.
Tell us more! How do you get your kids involved with the Harvest Box?
The Harvest Box has been a culinary adventure for me and the kiddos. We unpack it together, and they get so excited by the colors and the shapes of everything. Because of COVID, we started homeschooling our kids, and cooking with the Harvest Box is a great way to weave in the subjects they’re learning about. For example, we’ve been exploring fractions while making salad dressing. I mince the spring onions while my second-grade daughter squeezes lemons and measures out the right amount of juice with the measuring cups, and my son puts in the teaspoon of salt.
They love the flavors, too. If I buy the carrots from the regular grocery store, the kids aren’t nearly as excited as they are by our Farm Share carrots, which are big and sweet and juicy. And the citrus, the beautiful strawberries? For them, that’s the candy store.
What have been some of your favorite seasonal ingredients in the Harvest Box? Have you discovered any new favorites?
The spring onions have been amazing—they’re such a game changer. The other night, I made fresh fish and sautéed the spring onions with it. Then I blackened some of them and put them on top of the fish, and it made the dish so much fancier. And the different types of greens we’ve had, the different lettuces, mustard greens, or tatsoi…I freaking love tatsoi now! It enlivens the whole dish so much. I also love doing roasted potatoes with olive oil, spring onions, and fresh herbs like parsley or cilantro.
Committing to a Farm Share involves change to our habits and lifestyle—weekly pickup, cooking with what’s provided instead of “spot buying,” etc. How have you adjusted to those changes?
I would say that the Harvest Box has changed our life in a really good way by introducing new veggies and fruits to my kids that I wouldn’t normally have picked up at the store. It’s encouraged my family to get creative with our culinary skills.
I’m always in the area for one reason or another, so pickup is easy to work into whatever I’m doing. I also share pickup with a friend, which helps—if one of us can’t make it, the other one can make sure we both get our boxes. I wait to go grocery shopping until after getting my box on Tuesdays. Adding the pantry items like eggs, cheese, beans and bread helps save trips to the grocery store, too.
What has been your experience of being part of The Ecology Center village?
I love getting updates from The Ecology Center and bringing my kiddos when there’s an event going on. Knowing where their food is coming from, and how food tastes so different when it’s produced with amazing soil (and love), they’re growing up with an outlook that’s so valuable.
How do you feel that you’re able to contribute to The Ecology Center’s “give more than we take” culture?
I think just in terms of our lifestyle, the way we like to share food with our community. I feel that plays a role in helping other people understand the importance of ecology, and how we’re all connected through food.