I remember taking my graduate student, ChoEun, to Ralph’s, my closest grocery store in downtown Los Angeles. It was one of our “culture” lessons.
I tutored international graduate students who needed a bit of help with English and integrating into American life. (Ironic, isn’t it? Considering I am not American but was teaching others the American way of life.)
I guided her to the peanut butter aisle. On cue, she gasped.
“This is all peanut butter?” she asked.
“Yep, welcome to America. The land of free choice,” I replied.
I had the same experience myself only three years before. When I first walked into the peanut butter aisle, fresh off the proverbial boat, I was shocked by the variety and choice of peanut butter in American grocery stores.
Crunchy or smooth. Salted or unsalted. Roasted or raw. Organic or 100% natural.
I knew there was nothing like this in South Korean supermarkets. Rows and rows of peanut butter. Every combination you can think of.
And similarly, when you first decide to sign up for a CSA box, you too will be hit with many choices. How do you choose a service?
The first time I asked Alex to pick up my CSA box with me, I planned it all wrong. It was exactly two years ago, on a cold, misty Friday night.
We drove deep into the suburbia where street names are vaguely related and yet juxtaposed with other references that make no sense. We drove past the Spanish cities of Aragon Boulevard, Seville Way, and Avila Road. Then we turned the corner and passed by some American universities of Georgetown Avenue, Notre Dame Avenue, Yale Drive, and Colgate Way. As you might be able to tell, we were lost in the suburban maze.
First thing every Thursday morning, Alex bounces downstairs and out the garage door, even before a bite of breakfast. He’s looking for a treasure chest in the form of a waxy cardboard box, with some leafy greens poking out, more often than not. Once Alex brings home the bounty, and we pick apart each item, excited to try the exotic fruits and vegetables we find.