The Downside of Organic

I love the concept of eating organic. Hopefully at this juncture we all know the benefits of eating organic produce: no ingestion of pesticides, no chemicals in the water runoff, soil or air; this is good for the eater, the farmer, the environment and the farm workers. The produce tastes better too! But have you ever thought of the downside?

Now that I am gainfully employed and have a better grocery budget, I signed up for a produce CSA box again. Pre-unemployment my organic produce provider was Planet Organics, an organization I still highly recommend. I wanted to try a different company this time though, particularly one that is part of a farm I know, and so I chose Farm Fresh To You, located in the Ferry Building. They source a lot of their produce from their family farm, Capay Farms. Their farm stand is a favorite of mine at the Saturday market and their box is a great value and great quality. I have it delivered to my office and Wednesday has become a day of interest for my colleagues, they want to know what I receive each week!

This particular week, my second delivery, was no exception. I was opening the box and examining the contents while my cubemate looked on with interest. While offering round a bunch of French radishes contained therein, I fully realized the downside of farm-fresh organic produce.

And by downside, I mean wildlife. Wildlife *in* your produce.

In one hand was a radish, in the other a head of frilly red lettuce, and in a corner of an eye I spot something *moving*. An enormous spider, thick-legged and light brown, was crawling on the inner flap of the cardboard box.

I emitted a distinct girly squeal, flung the lettuce into the box and leapt backwards in a huge jolt. In a voice about two octaves higher than usual I waved the radishes about and asked my cubemate to please step out of our space while I dialed a manly colleague and asked if he would please come over inside our cube and “take care of things”.

With a chuckle he came over and after a thorough search that yielded nothing my cubemate and I stared in horror at the beautiful box of produce.

“Where could it have gone???”

Meanwhile, about half the office was gathered around our cube, convening for a lunch grub crawl. My colleague and I grabbed the emergency kit flashlight and began examining every crevice of our cube, and found nothing, ignoring the chuckling and gentle ribbing coming from our coworkers.

Mercifully, our audience departed to lunch. With shaking hands I moved the produce box to the floor. My colleague shone the flashlight on the proceedings with all the care of a brain surgeon’s nurse. Item by item, with the spotlight blazing, we carefully scanned the contents and every surface within the cardboard box.

Have you ever realized just how many crevices and hiding places there are in a crown of broccoli? A head of lettuce? A bunch of grapes???? The horror.

Within my trembling fingers I carefully peeled back leaf, stem and frond and found no spider. Nothing!!

I decided to flush him out. I grabbed the box and held it at arms-length away from me and scampered to the kitchen. Everything was upended into the sink and I began to splash around like an adolescent seal. Every item was thoroughly bathed, rinsed and dried. And yet, spiderman was nowhere to be found.

That could surely only mean one thing; Spidey was lurking in the cubicle still. I returned to my spot to see my coworker sitting at her laptop looking about nervously.

When entreaties of her finding the arachnid were returned to the negative, we began again our fruitless search.

Duty called and I had to complete the task at hand of modifying a complex PowerPoint deck. Every few seconds my gaze would break free from the monitor to scan my work surface for any sign of movement or spot of darker color. Nada. Then my legs and ankles began to feel strangely exposed and I deeply regretted my long flowing trouser choice that day. Surreptitiously I wrapped my ankles lightly with the folds of the pants leg and shone the flashlight under my desk and behind my filing drawers. I pretended to type. Every hair on my neck began to rise and I began to feel odd itchy-tickly sensations absolutely everywhere. I began brushing off my arms, shoulders and neck with a nervous nonchalant swipe. I glanced around and saw my colleague also doing the same thing!

We burst into laughter and mocked our silliness of such acute arachnophobia and traded our spider horror stories. Trust me when I say that we both have just cause for our phobias.

Ah, organic veggies, who would ever have thought you would bring such excitement to our office!

I would like to extend a grateful thank you to my Farm Fresh To You deliveryman. After regaling him with our adventurous afternoon, each time he comes by now to deliver my box and our office fruit he takes a peek in the box and ensures it is critter free. Thank you!!!

I would also like to apologize to my colleague for inadvertently bringing the object of our phobia into the office!

(my produce, safe at home, unpacked and rewashed, with the comforting accompaniment of a glass of wine)

If you would like to try Farm Fresh To You’s gorgeous produce box, mention promo code 6164 for $5.00 off and please tell them I sent you!


5 responses to “The Downside of Organic

  1. A friend just found a grasshopper in a salad from her Big-Name Organic Grocery Store (you can probably guess which one) last week – nothing is safe! Still, I’d rather see a spider or grasshopper than a roach.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention The Downside of Organic | Heather in SF --

  3. I was thinking of signing up for one of these. My friend uses a different one, which he likes. I saw this farm fresh to you advertised at the ferry bldg and also at the castro st fair..but when I looked it up on yelp, it seemed like a lot of people had bad experiences with it.. What size shipment do you get? Do you find that the food is in good condition?

    • I signed up for the regular box every other week. It is a large box, and the quality is impressive. Last week they sent me 2 bunches of ruby chard, romaine lettuce, fennel, heirloom tomatoes, radishes, tiny yellow peppers, knobby fingerling potatoes, apples, oranges, grapes, plums, turnips, and there might have been pears and broccoli. It was a lot! I use the green bags to store them and they last much longer in my fridge than Large Retail Organic grocery store chains. If you wanted to pre-select your box contents then I would recommend Planet Organics. Hope you like them!

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