The Dirty Price for Organic Produce

Refrigerator Veggie Drawer
Refrigerator Veggie Drawer

So this is not a statement about politics…it simply is about dirt.  When you buy your produce at the grocery store, especially if it is grown conventionally it’s clean looking and sprarkling and even shiny (waxes, washes…).  However when you buy from a farmer’s market or get a produce box delivered from a CSA, it’s dirty.  Of course there’s nothing wrong with that.  It just takes some extra effort. 

Sometimes parents in my classes ask if it is necessary to wash organic produce.  The answer is YES.  Even if it doesn’t look dirty, the produce may have bugs (bug feces), dirt, bacteria etc.  And just because you’re not going to eat the peel, such as a carrot.  You still need to wash the outside.  Everything from the outside of that carrot is getting pushed right inside when you use the peeler or knife.

 My family gets it’s dirtiest produce from our own yard and CSA box.  When we pick a radish or something else from the ground, it’s clear it needs washing.  And CSA’s don’t have time (or resources) to wash your produce.   I didn’t realize how messy produce could be until I looked into my new refrigerator and saw the dirt. (see above).  Oh my!  My kids and I love to come home to see the box of produce on the front porch on delivery day.  It’s the element of surprise and a bit like opening a present on Christmas morning.  “I wonder what’s inside”, my daughter will say. 

We three gather around the “low table” and everyone looks in and starts taking out and identifying “Carrots, grapes, peppers, potatoes… Is this kale or chard?”  Before I saw the dirt in the refrigerator, we were simply transferring the items from the box to the produce bags to the refrigerator.  Well now we we have a new system…

1. Unpack and identify

2. Give items that need washing right away (not greens or berries) to mom at the sink

3. Mom washes, scrubs and dries

4. Kids count items and put in reusable produce bags.  (These bags are great.  They look like mesh and the produce can breathe.  However unlike plastic or bio bags, the dirt escapes)

5. Put appropriate bags in refrigerator or bowl(s) on counter. 

Of course there’s some upfront time (but we make the chore fun), and now I can keep my refrigerator clean (and save time when prepping to cook).


I Met a Master

There are only a handful of television shows I watch each week.  Once of them is Top Chef.  I’ve blogged about my love of the show before.  But what trumps Top Chef?  Top Chef Masters!  I was so excited to watch each week and especially root for the home team chef (Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys in SF).  No I had never been to Fleur de Lys (hopefully some day soon), but this chef was so nice and down to earth and french.  How could I not like him?  He didn’t win.  But I liked Rick Bayless (Frontera, Topolobampo, Chicago)  too.  Another seemingly nice person with a genuine passion for food.

When I heard Hubert Keller would be at the Tyler Florence Shop in Mill Valley, I responded immediately.  We in the Bay Area are so fortunate to have the Florence family here as a family,  business, and generous community supporter.  Hubert was promoting his new cookbook Burger Bar Build Your Own Ultimate Burgers, along with his new restaurants (opening in Macy’s in Union Square SF on Oct 16th).  I was so pleased to see this friendly and talkative “master” in person.  It was also very moving to hear a man thank him for Fleur de Lys and the experience he had dining there when he proposed to his wife.  It was also wonderful to hear that he has raised so much money for Make-A-Wish foundation because of his Top Chef Masters appearance.

Hubert and I
Hubert and I


The cookbook looks wonderful – everything from burgers (beef, fish, veggie, ostrich) and veggie sides (fries, pickled veggies) and shakes/floats (spiked and non).  I’ll report back with a recipe once I’ve tried something.


Blogging…Harder than the Hunger Challenge?

So why haven’t I blogged since the hunger challenge? I guess I haven’t had anything important to share and I’m busy with routine parenting, cooking, sharing and eating (and life in general).  So last week I didn’t have any new recipes, or exciting dining experiences or kids’ food stories to share.  But that’s how it will go.  I may be inspired to blog once a day (for a particular project) or maybe only once a week (or maybe less). 

Now that I have a food blog under my own name I’m receiving lots of emails from PR agencies and companies wanting me write about their client or product.  This is so strange to me.  I get pressured all the time by people who say social media is “very important to business”.  That may be so, but this blog is not an advertising vehicle.  If I come across a great kid’s product, food, restaurant, etc. – so be it.  I’ll write about it because I’ve used it, ate it, or expereinced it, and think it’s relevant to share.  Not because I got an email from a publisher, promoter or agent.


And when I get asked why I don’t Tweet, my answer is that I, (nor my kids) really don’t want to interrupt living life to stop, type, and write something to everyone and no-one.