Embracing My Green Thumb - Shelby Stanger
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Embracing My Green Thumb

I’ll admit it. I am that girl who never really understood how potatoes grew underground or what kale looked like in the soil. I eat veggies like Popeye ate spinach, but growing up in La Jolla, farms and veggie gardens were not exactly abundant. I was clueless.


harvesting some spuds

In New Zealand, Johnny and I spent a lot of time on farms and in other people’s organic vegetable gardens, and I learned a lot about organic farming. I fell in love with all of it — the manual labor, the closeness with nature, the changing of the seasons, and dealing with pests and weather — it was a different kind of challenge than writing a profile on a world ranked athlete, which is what I also did while I was in New Zealand. When we had time, Johnny and I volunteered to help harvest vegetables, and in exchange were awarded a bountiful supply of food.

This was a typical dinner from a day of work.

Avocado and Kale Salad with Pumpkin all from the farm

Avocado and Kale Salad with Pumpkin all from the farm.

The wonderful thing about eating fresh, pesticide-free veggies from the earth, I didn’t get sick on my trip once, the first time I have travelled and didn’t spend at least one day on the toilet or in bed a with some crazy sinus infection or stomach virus.

It’s been a month since we have been back from New Zealand, and besides our friends and the perfect waves, I miss our time on the farm.

Luckily, California produces some of the world’s best vegetables in the world. You can go to Whole Foods and find just about anything, and more people are adding veggie gardens to their yards. There’s even a veggie garden at the local elementary school by where we live, and a CSA/organic garden right on the 101 in Encinitas that I can’t wait to try. There’s also a Farmer’s Market almost every day of the week.

Until we go back to New Zealand, I’ll be checking out more farms in San Diego and perfecting my recipes for fast and easy kale chips (because cooking shouldn’t be hard), avocado salad, and roasted pumpkin soup and sweet potato fries. Yum.


So much better than the produce aisle at Vons


Looking forward to yummy breath.


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