Alex is a dental student at Marquette, and he's also in the Air Force. Kelly came to the dental school for a sustainability fair and they got to talking. Alex is a gardener, so she gave him a flyer for the farm. He is now a worker share and goes to the farm on Saturdays.
How long have you been a member with Three Sisters CSA Community Farm?
This is my second season – started last year
What part of Southeastern WI do you live in?
About five minutes from the Marquette dental school.
What do you enjoy most about being a worker share?
It's kind of like a meditation for me. I live in the city so I like to have a reason to get out of the city. Just being 100% in nature doing stuff. That and getting to know Kelly and Jeff is pretty fun.
It also makes you more willing to try vegetables you might not otherwise try because you are like, “Oh, I weeded that!”
What do you like about Kelly and Jeff?
I just think they're funny. Jeff is like that shy guy, but when you know him a bit he is not really shy at all, he's quirky. They are fun to hang out with and it’s great to hear their stories. Like Jeff's bartending past and why Kelly decided to be a farmer. And Kelly doesn't go to the dentist and uses herbs.
Also, my goal is to co-own a farm with someone, have a stake in it. So it's great to be able to learn from them.
What kind of farm?
I would really like to do something like in the movie “The Biggest Little Farm” but on a smaller scale. A lot of fruit trees, maybe a cow, but also a restaurant and wedding venue. And also some vegetables. I want to eat all year off of what I have.
There's a group I hang out with, and one guy is a sustainable land-manager, so he would do the day to day. We would all live on the land together.
In three words or phrases, how would you describe the experience of seasonal eating you have through your CSA share?
Surprising, Delicious and Sad
Well, it's surprising because you are always eating new foods and learning how to cook them. But it’s sad because it ends and then I'm like, “I guess I'm going to go eat crappy Woodman's potatoes now.”
It's a really fun thing, but then once you're aware it's sad because you know what you're missing when you're not getting the vegetables all year.
When other people ask you what it’s like to be a CSA member or why you do it, what do you usually say?
It's my meditation. I don't like doing yoga but I do like weeding potatoes and onions for three hours. You see the benefit if you are a worker share – you see directly what your impact was. Like when we weed something and then three weeks later you see a big difference between what was weeded and what was not.
We went to their home farm a couple times, where they grow all the kale and greens, and when you look back over a bed of stuff that you have weeded, it's so wild to see the before and after.
The results are very tangible.
Yes. I love that.
What is your favorite CSA food item?
Delicata squash. I think it's the best thing. It's so easy to cook and it's delicious and plus it's only for like a month. Other things we get to eat for four months. That makes it special.
Is there a CSA food item that most confounds or stumps you when it comes to cooking or eating, or used to before you knew what to do with it?
I got pac choi recently. I wouldn't say it was confusing but I don't know if I cooked it right. I made it kind of like kale. I don't really know what it is. I ate it, but I don't know what it is. There are certain items that I don't get because I don't know how to use them.
Did you like it? The pac choi?
I made, like a buffalo bowl with it, so it was mixed in with a lot of kale and potatoes so I don't really know.
That's what's awesome too though - trying things I wouldn't eat unless it's in the CSA.
What is your favorite thing about being a member of Three Sisters Community Farm?
Probably supporting a local business. You know who's growing the food, you know where it's grown. It's worth giving the money. You know where it's going and it’s all very transparent. It's good to get that reality check too, especially being a worker share. “What does a farm look like? How do they grow all this stuff? What does a hoop house look like?”
Then you find a big black spider and you remember why you like living in the city.
What’s the most delicious meal you have had recently?
I made a Middleastern bowl the other day with Mexican rice with pinto beans (I know, that part was not Middleastern) and then some falafel and hummus from a local deli. It had all these pickled vegetables - pickled onion, pickled radishes, pickled parsnips - and avocado, some scrambled eggs and tomatoes and crispy kale from the farm that I roasted until it was crunchy.
Where did you get the pickled vegetables?
From the Mediterranean Restaurant. The falafel, hummus and pickled veggies were from the Mediteranean restaurant and the veggies from the farm.
What is the restaurant?
Holy Land Deli in Franklin. They are catering our wedding. Its friendly towards people who are vegan/vegetarian. They serve everything family style and most is vegan instead of the meat dish. And the falafel is the bomb.
What’s the strangest thing you have ever eaten?
I once ate a big green grasshopper that was still alive. I felt it moving around when it went down my throat and it was uncomfortable. My uncle and his friend said they'd each give me $10 if I ate it. But the friend gave me a Canadian ten dollar bill. So it was kind of a trick.
This is exactly the answer I was looking for. Thank you.
What is your favorite place to have a meal?
I really like this restaurant in Greenfield called Kyoto. It's a sushi place and they have the best-ever sushi deal on Sundays. That's probably my favorite.
Do you have something you always order?
They have a roll called the Triple Tree Maki Roll. You pay $25 and you can order whatever rolls you want, and you can keep ordering. But it's actually like a nice sushi place. Either $25 all you can eat or like three rolls and a salad for $10. I think it's the best sushi place in the Milwaukee Area.
Uh-oh. It might start to get a lot more popular once this newsletter comes out!
What is one thing that is bringing joy into your life these days?
I would honestly say, thinking about the future at this point because I am seven months away from graduating and finishing school, and then my fiance and I are getting married two weeks after that. On the countdown to a bunch of good things happening.
How long have you been in school?
Typical route for dentistry is 4 years undergrad and 4 years dental school. I had six months off where I worked at a cheese factory and then I went into dental school.
What is one thing that is giving you pause, or reason for concern?
I honestly think – how crappy our food system is. The fact that you can go to the store and buy things you shouldn't be eating...
And I know it's weird but, the Zombie thing. I think it's real and it's going to happen someday. I watch too much Walking Dead.
Potatoes or tomatoes?
I want to say tomato but then what about hashbrowns? But I think I'll choose tomato because I like pizza. I can’t give that up.
I like how you went right for the desert island scenario there.
Is there anything you would like to share about seasonal eating, local food, CSA membership or anything else related to these topics that you have never had the chance to say?
I think that working on a CSA farm really helps with the idea of understanding seasonal eating. Apart from avocados. It helps me see seasonality with food. I don't buy tomatoes in the winter. In the winter months I pare down and eat more squash. In the summertime I eat all the stuff from the farm. It makes you see directly like, “Maybe I shouldn’t be eating this right now because I can't get it from the farm so it's probably not good.”
Also it makes me be more vegetarian because I have so many vegetables. I can't eat meat during the season because I can't keep up with all the vegetables I need to eat to get through my share.
Alex's Humus Bowl - Combine the following in a bowl and enjoy
1. Add 1 cup of cooked Mexican rice (rice with pinto beans and seasoning) to a bowl.
2. Top with roasted veggies (I like to go with 2 kale leaves, 1/2 green pepper, 1/2 small onion, and mushrooms - all diced and cooked at 450 for about 30 minutes).
3. Add 1/2 a medium tomato and 1/2 an avocado diced and lightly salted.
4. 2-3 eggs either fried or scrambled
5. A good scoop of your favorite hummus
6. Add additional toppings of your choice, such as pickles or pickled veggies, falafel, cheese, or meat if that's your fancy. I like to have a nice piece of buttered bread with my bowl.
Hope you enjoy.
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