Like another Kveller blogger, my husband and I are getting back to the land. It’s not something we set out to do–when we met, we both worked for large corporations, me as a freelance journalist and sometime marketing writer, him as a video-game producer. Then 2008 happened, and suddenly our cushy corporate jobs wanted nothing to do with us. There we were, with first one kid and then two (thanks to a careless nap-time nooner to “celebrate” my layoff), with no more savings and increasingly impatient parents. What were we to do?
The answer came at my daughter’s ballet class: her teacher was also from New York, also Jewish, and she and I connected immediately. A real back-east-style wheeler-dealer in the great tradition of my Grandpa Mike, who mysteriously did everything and nothing for a living, she was looking to offload her CSA business so she could start a new venture; without a car, it was just too annoying to constantly look for drivers. A car is one of the few things we do have. We talked. We kibbitzed. We got excited. And a new business was born.
Let me tell you, we are terrified. I was raised to go to college and get a cushy job, not put years into a scrappy startup; my people already did that crap a hundred years ago. My husband, he of the adventurous spirit and the years of touring as a standup, says we can do this, if we do it together. After all, we got through the awful terror of having a preemie in the NICU for six weeks. We got through the last three years of being broke and constantly swinging from potential-solution to potential-solution. We got through the 17-month gap between seasons of Mad Men. We can do this, too, he says.
This is a business that speaks to both of us. As the resident chef and “Pioneer Jew,” obsessed with making my own lox and finding the right muffin-balance between healthy and hockey-puck-like, I am delighted to (a) not feel guilty about never being able to make it to the Sunday farmer’s market, even though it’s at the end of my street and (b) always have something on hand, even if it’s unpredictable, to throw into my dinner. Not to give you TMI, but my tush has never been happier.
My husband is the more socially-conscious of us, constantly zinging Republicans in the comments sections of Huffington Post and posting Daily Show clips to my Facebook wall. (Our modern world!) To him, this is important work, and he’s insistent that our first and biggest delivery area will be the Bayview, the lovely but somewhat blighted neighborhood to the west where the bigger CSAs refuse to deliver. I’m going to an event there tonight to meet community leaders and discuss ways to support fresh, organic produce delivery to places whose best imitation of a supermarket is a 24-hour 7-11.
We’re Jews going from the farm to the city, only instead of doing it in one wrenching international migration, we’re making our trek weekly, in a Honda. We’re poking our nose into a neighborhood that wants and needs us, peddling our wares and hoping for a better life. Hey, it’s not exactly Hester Street, but it feels very haimisheh. And this awareness of where our food comes from, what rules we have about it, and how to best support and honor our commitment to a better world through our stomachs? That’s as kosher as it gets.