Thursday, 9 August 2012

The true price of organic broccoli

Although we are avid gardeners, we also pay for a plot through a local CSA (community supported agriculture, that's fancy-talk for someone else grows vegetables so I can enjoy fresh garden yummies). We have the reassurance that our produce is being grown organically and locally, and we enjoy the variety of veggies that we get, and are happy to get new produce that we would not normally buy or grow for ourselves.   Like getting a secret ingredient from Iron Chef: And today's ingredient is....KALE! À LA CUISINE!! At which point, Iron Chef Ukraine says: I cook in cream-dill sauce, tak?
As it turns out, you make kale chips.  Which are not in any sauce, nor are they rigid enough to dip in a cream-dill sauce.  Fortunately, Sashimi loved them and pretty much inhaled an entire bunch of kale in its dried chippy form.

A staple veg in our house has always been broccoli. We love steamed broccoli, a little on the crunchy side, dipped in a mix of sambal oelek and soya sauce.  Our kids love the little trees, too, only they don't do sambal oelek.  Yet.

I have never grown my own broccoli.  Wait.  That's a lie.  Our first garden had some broccoli in it.  It looked fantastic, but when we steamed it, it tasted like hot.  Like eating a hot flower.  Not at all like broccoli.  Since then, we have enjoyed garden broccoli only from our CSA.
Getting fresh broccoli is always a treat for the boys.  As soon as we got home from picking up our veg last week, I washed up the broccoli, chopped it up, steamed it, and served it.  While the boys munched on broccoli, I heated up some other leftovers (rice and ribs).  Sashimi devoured his helping, iBean used hers to paint the table with whatever condiment she could reach, and Keesadilla thoughtfully enjoyed each morsel. 
Then he saw something he had never seen before.

K: Mommy?  What is this?

I looked at what he had on his finger.  It was curled on itself, it had many little leg nubbins, and it was yellowy.  I knew it was a worm.  A cooked worm. Well, steamed. From his broccoli bowl.  The last thing I wanted was for him to know that there was a worm in his broccoli.  The kid actually likes vegetables, and I did not want to scar him for life.  Acting with super lightening quick speed, I took the worm away from him, threw it in the garbage, and said: It's just a piece of a leaf.  Don't worry about it.

K: Mommy, it was round.  And it was bumpy.
M: Sometimes leaves are round and bumpy.
K: But Mommy, I saw two little round things on it.  It looked like eyes.
M: Oh?  Are you sure?
K: Yeah.   I think it was a caterpiller.
M: Yeaaaaahhhhhh.  I think it was, too.  But it's gone, now.  Don't worry, you didn't eat it.

Keesadilla kept meticulously eating his broccoli, then he stopped.

K: Mommy, there's another caterpillar in my bowl.
M: What? No.....

I went to investigate.  Yup.  There it was.  Another tiny worm.  Dead. Death by soya sauce.  I grabbed it and launched it into the sink.

Sashimi: TWO catperpillars?  Mommy!  I ate all my broccoli already.  What if I ate a caterpillar?
M: Sashimi, I looked through your broccoli.  There were no worms in it.
S: WORMS? Are you SURE? What if I ate one?
M: You didn't eat one. And even if you did, some people eat worms and bugs because it's part of their culture. It's not a big deal. Here, have some rice.

Even though in my mind, I am screaming with gross-outness from the whole thing.  EWWWWWWWWWWWW!!!!! But must maintain composure so as to not frighten the offspring.  I smile, they smile.  Right? Right.

I handed the kids each a bowl of rice.  Sashimi dug right in.  iBean used the rice to create some sort of collage on her condiment art. Keesadilla just stared at his bowl, as still as the dead worm he nearly ate.

K: Mommy, I think I don't feel very good right now.

M: Ok.  You can go watch some TV.

So the lesson of the day is that when you go organic, you sometimes get a little bonus protein. As long as you don't yak it up.


  1. LOL, awwww, poor kid. Way to go at maintaining your composure.

    Whenever I eat raspberries from my garden I have to eat them quickly without thinking about it. If I rinse them they go all mushy, so I pick them over and hope for the best. But inside I know I've probably eaten some bugs. Oh well. Extra protein, I guess. Yeck.

  2. Um, yeah, I would so be totally grossed out! However, I'm not sure you don't get worms even when it's not organic... I've found a few worm casings in my regular broccoli.
    Also, when I was in Costa Rica one of the kitchen jobs was the cut the broccoli and make sure you got all the worms out before it was cooked. We were 24 students so I remember spending an entire afternoon going through it piece by piece just so we'd have enough for dinner. Really gross!

    PS. Thanks for your comments on the Insanity... sound a bit much for me right now! ;)

  3. I read this entry and then proceeded to go steam our broccoli so that I could freeze it and never gave a second though to the possible worms that could be there. Well after steaming two full broccoli I was scooping it up to put in the ice bath when I noticed this little creature floating in the water. Sure enough it was a Caterpillar.


Thoughts? Comments? Questions?