Less Choice in a Choosy World: Summer CSA Week #1

 In CSA Newsletter

The other day Edie was very upset to find herself at a beautiful sandy lakefront beach without a swimsuit. We’d camped out at a friends’ farm in Argyle, and Mom remembered everything but the bathing suits.

Edie was super upset. I took her hand gently and explained to her that she had 2 choices; she could choose to enjoy herself without her suit OR choose to continue being unhappy while the rest of played in the water in our clothes.

Eventually she chose to play.

Wouldn’t it be awesome if all of the myriad of mundane choices we must make in our lives could be boiled down so simply?

Choice choice choice. It seems a cultural mantra that more choice is always better.  And while having choices can be awesome and a privilege, I also feel that too many choices can be stressful, time consuming, and often lead me to feel more unhappy about what I did choose.

Apparently I’m not alone. Barry Schwartz is a sociologist who did some research on the concept and found that there is some truth to the idea that too much choice can become a negative in our lives.

Jane Porter expands on this idea in her article, “Why Having Too Many Choices is Making You Unhappy”: Amazon sells 1,161 kinds of toilet brushes. I know this because I recently spent an evening trying to choose one of them for the bathroom in my new apartment. Nearly an hour later, after having read countless contradictory reviews and pondering far too many choices, I felt grumpy and tired and simply gave up. The next day, I happily bought the only toilet brush the local dollar store offered.

Too many choices exhaust us, make us unhappy and lead us to sometimes abscond from making a decision all together. Researcher Barry Schwartzcalls this “choice overload.” And it’s not just insignificant details like which brush to wipe the inside of the toilet with–having too many choices in our creative and professional lives can lead us to avoid making important decisions.

“As the number of options increases, the costs, in time and effort, of gathering the information needed to make a good choice also increase,” writes Schwartz. “The level of certainty people have about their choice decreases. And the anticipation that they will regret their choice increases.”

So what does all of this have to do with CSA?  In this age of booming organic food and out of season everything available all the time in the grocery store, CSA takes away your choice. And this is a GOOD thing.

The box you will receive is full of what is ready to eat right here in Wisconsin in early June. The sun, the land, the climate, and a tiny bit of your farmers’ choices, have dictated what is ready to eat right now. You don’t need to think about what veggies will be in your meals. Here they are.

You could choose to stress out about all the food in your box and how it’s maybe not what you might have chosen on you own, etc. OR you could choose to delight in the fact that you don’t have to spend mental energy on this part of your weekly food planning. A veggie present has been delivered to you and now you get to have FUN using it.

We hope you’ll choose the latter.

We have plenty of resources coming at you to help you figure out how to cook these things if you need a little assistance (recipes in the newsletter, hundreds more searchable recipes on our websitepreseason newsletters with cooking tips , and meal idea suggestions from our own kitchen).

We sincerely hope you will enjoy this lack of choice and the beautiful box of veggie fun we’ve sent your way.

Thanks for your support of our family farm – and happy cooking!
Mike, Cassie, Zea, Edie, & Juna
aka the Noltnerwyss family

In the Box:

  • Arugula
  • Bok Choi
  • Butterhead Lettuce
  • Cilantro
  • Green Garlic
  • Kale, Russian or Green
  • Radish
  • Russet Potatoes
  • Salad Turnip
  • Spinach

Weekly Recipes

  1. Strawberry, Banana, & Spinach Smoothie
  2. Kale & Walnut Pesto
  3. Potato Arugula Salad
  4. Stir-Fried Bok Choi with Mushrooms
  5. Bok Choi Ramen Noodle Salad
  6. Sauteed Radishes with Hard-Cooked Eggs with Spiced Yogurt Sauce
  7. Salad Turnips Sauteed in Butter


Farmer’s Kitchen: 
what the farmers cook

  • Thai Green Curry Over Rice Substituted asparagus and carrots with potatoes and salad turnips. Uses cilantro, green garlic, arugula/mustards, & spinach too. Easy and YUM!
  • Radishes we eat dipped in salad dressing as a snack thought the week and on salads.
  • Kale and walnut pesto over noodles! Ground meat is a great addition.
  • Spinach in smoothies for breakfast.