The Beginning

I’ve been taking writing classes for several years now and the reason I do it? Certainly not to add to an already abundant schedule. I take writing classes in order to write. The presence of a syllabus and an instructor create discipline for me. It requires me to spill thoughts and ideas onto paper or into Google docs. The assignments offer a framework for me to operate within and being one who needs to understand the rules, I find freedom within the structure.

Another place that a structured framework works well for me
is our family subscription to Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). For our third year running, we are CSA members at Desert Roots Farm. Here’s how it works:

Our local farmer creates a budget that reflects her farming costs each quarter. It includes labor, seeds, water, tools, and other costs. She then divides her budget by the number of subscribers to determine the cost of each share of the harvest. One share easily provides the weekly vegetable needs for this family of five. By purchasing a share of the harvest, I’m making a commitment to support Desert Roots farm throughout the season, and assume the costs, risks and bounty of growing food along with the farmer.

A few items from our weekly CSA delivery

A couple of items from our CSA delivery

In return for my investment, Farmer Kelly delivers a wonderful bag of fresh locally-grown produce every week. She even includes a recipe. CSA gives me a framework to operate within. Once I see what’s in the bag, I go to town or uh, to the kitchen to begin our meal planning. And the benefits of purchasing locally are so overwhelming that I’ll deal with them in a future blogpost. So rather than sign up for another writing class, this is how I intend to spend my 2010; creating a framework for myself to operate within through this almost weekly blog and Community Supported Agriculture.

Where might you benefit from structure or a framework?

Happy New Year Hoppin’ Jack
Serves four
  • 1 Tbs Olive oil
  • 1 cup black-eyed peas – soaked in water overnight and cooked to tender
  • 1 cup brown rice – soaked in 3 cups of water or vegetable broth for 3 hours (reserve liquid)
  • 1 large bunch of greens (whichever is your favorite)
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, minced
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger
Pulse the spices in a food processor or grinder a few times and then add 1/2 cup of water to make a paste.
Heat olive oil in a large pot. Add the garlic and onion and saute until soft. Add tomatoes and continue to saute until they are also soft. Add the greens and cook until they start to wilt.  Add the rice and the reserved liquid. Cover and cook on medium heat until the rice is just tender. Add the black-eyed peas and the spice paste.  If the dish appears too dry, add more water. Mix well and simmer on low for an additional 10 minutes. Adjust spices as desired and enjoy!
Leave a comment


  1. Peter

     /  January 11, 2010

    Tammy, Congratulations on taking the big step to start a blog. Some interesting information here. Hope it is a success


  2. Nice beginning to what looks like it’ll be a blog rich in resources, information and inspiration. Congrats, Tammy.


  3. Michelle

     /  January 11, 2010

    What a great treat for the new year! I am looking forward to more!

  4. Tammy

     /  January 11, 2010

    Congrats on structuring your life for success! I too often operate well within a framework. Last year I tried an experiment in a framework myself, which worked really well. Instead of new year resolutions, I did Objectives and Key Results, which listed out my high-level objectives for the year, and ways in which I could measure success. E.g. this year, I hope to consume less sugar in my food — I aim to stay under 40g of sugar a day… which is surprisingly hard!

  5. Cen

     /  January 11, 2010

    Hi Tammy,
    What a wonderful way to start the year! I love the blog!! I appreciate your ability to demonstrate your creativity of writing within a structured (every day – kitchen or cooking) framework. I’m looking forward to reading more.

  6. Cindy

     /  January 11, 2010

    I love it! What a great way to invest in yourself, your community and your passion. I look forward to reading your posts and trying some of the recipes. I’ve got fresh eggs at home, even in the winter cold our chickens are still producing 5-6 eggs a day!

    Wishing you all the best Tammy and thanks for sharing!

    Cindy May

  7. KateBart

     /  January 11, 2010

    Let me know when I may repost to my FB news feed!

  8. Awesome! Welcome to the intrepid world of blogging, Tammy. Looking forward to more posts from you.

    Also, very intrigued by the idea of Community Supported Agriculture.

  9. Jill Faber

     /  January 11, 2010

    Hi Tammy: I love how you are supporting this movement! I buy all my vegetables/fruit from local farmer Bob McClendon at the farmer’s mkt at Town & Country on Wednesdays—but I love the CSA concept and my new favorite breakfast place, Chesnut Lane, is a pick up spot for one of the farmers. Are you a subscriber to Edible Phoenix? I look forward to hearing more from you, Jill

  10. Hi Tammy — I think this is great! I struggle to be consistent with and am still trying to figure out how to use my blog. Hopefully you’ll inspire me! Plus I love the topic. I am wanting to start doing something with local produce myself — trying to decide which route to take.

    Also, I never got back with you about raw food. I have been on quite a food journey over the past 3 plus years. I’m happy to share more, but the short of it is that I found a way that my body loves to me eat. This involves not eating red meat, pork, dairy, wheat, sugar, and preservatives. I found raw food because of this — it meets these requirements wonderfully! So I dabble in it. I do like to cook my food much of the time, but I’ve enjoyed learning about raw food. And going to potlucks where I can eat really anything there and not worry about those things I mentioned before. I would be happy to talk more about all of this!

    Peace, Jenny

  11. Carol

     /  January 11, 2010

    As you might guess, CSAs are very popular in the Boulder area. This past summer there were quite a few farms offering communal dinners using all fresh produce from their fields – served at a long linen covered table – in their field. I love that idea. Thanks for keeping me in the loop and for inspiring me with your committment.

  12. Rena

     /  January 11, 2010

    Very nice start….easy to read, interesting…makes me want to see future posts….has me intrigued on the idea of community gardening….looking forward to what else is on your mind….

    also like the concept of having a framework or structure….for me, this is the 1/2 marathon in 2010!! as you and I discussed last week…

    I have contacts for raw food information from our AAAME community, if that is of interest to you…Dr Toni V of AAAME Class 12 is really into the dehydrating and making of yummy things from a raw perspective

    thanks for your insights….send more posts to the blog!!

  13. Lenora Kroner

     /  January 11, 2010

    Hi Tammy…Thanks for sharing your blog. I am giving a presentation on Jan. 28th called ‘Resolutions for Successful Change in 2010’. If you don’t mind, I would like to use your blog as an example to the group. The group is called “WIT-HIT” which stands for Woman in Transition-Humor Ignites Trust. Many of the woman are in job search mode and/or building their networking skills. Happy New Year Tammy!

  14. What an incredible way to implement your Dream by spreading your wings & believing in YOU. Cheers. Thx for sharing. Smile.

  15. We are going to try this recipe. You mention adding greens until they wilt, but they are not in the ingredient list. I’m sure I can benefit from a structure or framework. Especially with yoga. My friend told me the only mantra at his yoga school: Just Show Up.

    • E – Thanks for pointing that out! I’d just use a big bunch of spinach or chard or whatever you like best. I’ll fix it on my next posting.

      • After you add the seasoning paste, you can add a few (not a full bunch!) fresh leaves of fragrant greens such as coriander, mint or methi (Indian word, don’t know English) leaves. Quite often, we also add coriander / mint / methi to the stuff you grind in the processor. If you like these fragrances, the rice will smell awesome. Adding dry bay leaves when you saute the onions also adds a nice aroma to the rice.

  16. Jane

     /  January 11, 2010

    Hey Tammy, fantastic idea…you were always such a smartie!

    My resolution is to re-connect with my friends and then stay in better touch! Thank you – this is a great start.

    Maybe this is the year we will finally catch up in person!


  17. Dave Darling

     /  January 11, 2010

    At-a-girl agrigirl!!!

  18. Judy Swartz

     /  January 11, 2010

    Thank you for sharing your blog, Miss Tammy; great read! After I present the cost/benefit analysis to my honey, I hope to get involved in CSA!!!

    It was nice to see your name on my screen!

    Jude 🙂

  19. Tammy!

    Congratulations on great follow-through. You have a great beginning on a blog with an important and meaningful message. And…you have a place to write whenever you choose!

    Keep your message going, and your enthusiasm for writing and sharing.

    What a wonderful way to begin a new year!

  20. Dominick

     /  January 11, 2010

    I really like the start of your new blog and the concept as well. I will be checking to see if there are similar farmers’ cooperative in my area.

    • Hi Nick,
      Here is a CSA that maybe operating in your area:

      Grant Family Farms is a 2,000 acre farm nestled in the Rocky Mountain foothills near Wellington, CO. Since 1974 the farm has had a commitment to organic growing practices, and we have built our livelihood on the responsible stewardship of the environment while growing the highest quality produce. Although organic vegetables may seem readily accessible today, Lewis and Andy Grant paved the way by being the first farm certified organic by the Colorado Department of Agriculture in 1989.

      In addition to emphasizing environmental practices, Grant Family Farms encourages community involvement with the food raised on their land through our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. The CSA provides an opportunity for people to directly connect with the farm by buying a share of the harvest.

      1020 WCR 72
      Wellington, CO 80549
      Contact Information
      Becky Jackson

  21. Bonnie

     /  January 11, 2010

    Dear Tammy,

    It is fun to experience some of your writing firsthand after hearing about your love for writing over the years. I am still fairly new to blogs so look forward to learning how you utilize this medium. Break a leg!


  22. I think you are going to love this format. Congrats on taking this important step, now you can be free and creative whenever you feel like it!

  23. Tiffany

     /  January 13, 2010

    Tammy! This is a personal passion I share. Supporting the local farmer for so many health and economical benefits. Who would have thought that eating locally grown foods can even help your allergies to the local pollens! Congratulations and keep this coming. I’m going to look into CSA. Tiff.

  24. Kelley

     /  January 13, 2010

    Congratulations on your first post. This is very exciting! In the past, I’ve used Bountiful Baskets. I look forward to learning more about Community Supported Agriculture and reading your upcoming blog posts. What a great recipe – Thanks for sharing.

  25. Kathy P.

     /  January 13, 2010

    Congratulations, Tammy! I’ve heard you talk about your involvement with Desert Roots and the CSA, and I know you’re a fabulou cook, so I’m thrilled to keep up with your blog. What an inspiration; I don’t know how you do it all!

  26. Anne G

     /  January 14, 2010

    You go girl! I love that you are blogging–very inspiring!

    CSA is such a great topic—the benefits are huge in so many different ways. It’s a good feeling to know that by supporting local agriculture, not only are you eating better but you are also preserving what’s left of the beautiful farmland in Arizona.

    Am looking forward to your posts and recipes!

  27. Minu

     /  January 14, 2010

    Congratulations, Tammy. What a great way to commit to writing. Really interesting information too. You are an inspiration!

  28. Kim H.

     /  January 15, 2010


    You have used many of your endearing qualities and values including integrity, wisdom, ambition, courage and persistence to create and eloquently deliver a message about something you are passionate about. Of course, in true “Tammy form”, your selflessness and social conscience shine through by sharing your knowledge on the topic “Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)”.

    I’m so glad that you started from the beginning and discussed your passion for writing and how you got here. You have taken the “fuzziness” out of the word “blog” by bundling it in a neat little framework! Not only will I research CSA in my local area, but I am looking at my life and how structure and framework can help my chaotic world. Looking forward to the next blog and recipe!


  29. John Hamilton

     /  January 15, 2010

    I love it when you talk vegetables to me… I’m proud of you agrigirl.

  30. Tammy,

    I completely support you on your blogging journey. Writing in any capacity is encouraged! Best to you with all your words. 🙂

    Take care,


  31. Diana

     /  January 16, 2010


    You never cease to amaze me! What I learn from you everyday I share with my daughter Marissa, you inspire her to be successful (professionally / home) like yourself.

    Keep up the great job and enjoy expressing yourself through your writing.


  32. Leave it to John to go right to the double entendre. Or whatever form of dirty reference he was making on this most wholesome of blogs. Can’t a girl talk about olive oil and cumin without it being sexual? You better tell him this isn’t one of *those* chat rooms.

    Congrats on your new blog.

  33. Lisa H

     /  January 23, 2010

    You are truly an inspiration! I love discussing food with you and coming up with new options and fun ideas for the kitchen (since I spend so much time in it!). Everyone needs to eat to survive, how and what we eat is what makes it fun or a chore. Food brings people together, which you are accomplishing through your blog. Thanks!

  34. Mark

     /  January 25, 2010

    We love our CSA! It forces us to try new things that normally we wouldn’t. Most times the stuff is good. But there were a few vegtable that, well, I just don’t like. Good luck with the blog. 37 comments already – pretty good start. I am also glad that you are continuing in your writing. You have too much talent not to be writing.

  35. Hi Tammy,
    What a treat to see a new outlet for your many talents–and what a way to start. I never heard of CSA (will check to see if it’s in L.A.) but I love the idea–even though I am definitely not a cook.

    For you to start your blog this way is, well, brilliant. Thanks so much for alerting me and I will pass this along.



    • If you don’t cook, then you’d be much better served by finding a good farmer’s market and getting what you want when you want. CSA is a lot of food and can sometimes be hard to keep up with.

  36. Hi Tammy,

    Thanks for introducing me to your blog…it looks like a great forum to share lots of great and important information.

    I’m so thankful for your participation in our farm’s CSA over the last few years. We have so many wonderful members and we’re grateful that more and more people are discovering the vast benefits of eating local, seasonal, FRESH, pesticide-free fruits and vegetables. We’re so lucky to live in Arizona where food grows year-round and I encourage everyone to look around and take advantage of the great things happening in their own community.

    I look forward to reading the posts on your new blog.

    Thanks, Tammy!


  37. Reblogged this on Rose of Sharon Herbs and commented:
    This is a great site for healthy eating and Community Supported Agriculture. Included in this post is a recipe for Hoppin’ Jack.


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