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Good food that family won’t eat!

 
pollinator
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Every year I decide that from now own I will only grow what I want to eat. Every year I’m talked out of it. I thought this year would be different. We are giving land to our daughter and her family to build a house on. They are living with us until it’s completion. We sat down and decided what I would grow this year and everyone was excited. The excitement dimmed quickly when I started harvesting. No one here will eat any fresh vegetables unless I spend my time preparing and serving them. I’ve stopped doing that. Even my neighbors have started turning down my offers of cucumbers, herbs, and tomatoes. I’m not irritated at them though.
I think a couple problems are unique to my situation. I have MS and I don’t do well with heat anymore. Every hour I spend outside requires an hour of rest or sleep. Secondly, they all work from home and have lots of extra time to prepare the food I’ve grown. I have a four year old granddaughter living here too and I want her to eat clean. She’s not able to because her parents would rather serve her “food” from a gas station several miles away! Maybe I expect to much.
I don’t grow like I once did. We are talking about 3/4 acre of garden that has been planned to not give us all the food at once. It’s a daily trickle of food not buckets we have to eat.
Am I overthinking this?
 
pollinator
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A couple of thoughts.

It sounds like the good food is being taken for granted, because it's always there at no effort to them they don't appreciate it, They would probably miss it if it were not there for a few days and then ask for some.
Do they like the vegetables that have been grown? Cucumbers and tomatoes are great, but in winter when we have to buy cucumbers we only get through 1 a week (in summer we use more and I cook with them)
Can you get them into helping you in the kitchen? People tend to be more adventurous if they have had some hand in preparing it. in hindsight kitchen duties probably should have been part of the "rent" to live with you.
Take the 4 year old out with you, feed her some carrots/peas/tomato/a small cucumber straight from the plant get her hooked on the nice sweet vegetables out there and maybe she will start to ask her parents for them.

PS 3/4 acre garden is huge! I do half an acre, I sell a lot and it provides enough for storage for winter!
 
Scott Stiller
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Good thoughts Skandi.
We have to prepare food. They don’t get up until 1400. They get takeout for “breakfast” then gas station for brunch around 1700. Since my wife and I live a regular schedule we don’t like eating late and generally have dinner around 1800. A few days later the chickens finish the leftovers.
The food that I grow was their choice. I would grow mostly fruit, one-bite tomatoes, corn, winter squash and lettuce. All the food that’s being wasted is what they ask me to grow. I also bought all of it.
I would love to take my granddaughter out with me. By the time she gets up I’m generally winding down for the day. Also, they won’t let her outside because she may get sun. Poor kid rarely gets outside.
 
gardener
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I will keep my assessment of the type of people you have living with (off) you to myself, as it falls into the “not nice” category.

I think the lesson learned here, Scott, is to harvest, prepare and eat what you want, and sell or donate the rest. Next year, plant what you want. If they want to plant something, great, let em have at it in their corner of the garden. Hopefully by then though, they won’t be under your roof any longer. Sleeping till 2:00. Not helping. Ahem.
 
pollinator
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I think that they love mom's prepared super-healthy food, but they cant be bothered to make it. So instead they buy and eat pre-made burgers/pizza/donut/takeoutt. Not because they think it is better, but because it is easier.

Most of their peers/friends probably do the same too, so they reason that if it is good enough for 80% of the population and they are okay with the consequence why should I think about it too much.

They might view your "no sugar" diet as something that only apply to you because you have diabetes or your 'fresh vegetable diet' as something that only applies to folks with MS.

Or they might just see as a necessary evil in their life~like horrible antidepressant or medication due to stress_sickness
 
Scott Stiller
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I very much appreciate the feedback. My wife is more zen about it so I wondered if I were the problem.
I’ll post a better reply later. Now I’m out in the 105 heat index planting more good food.
 
gardener
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This is a very real thing I see more and more. One thing that really concerns me is how many people here think that if the word about permaculture is spread enough, then most people will eventually hop on the bandwagon. Here, you are literally doing all the work and people will not even eat it. Until people are somehow inspired to want it, I just don't see how things will change anytime soon.😪
 
gardener
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Wow. Um..... wow.

I hear you on the health challenges. I have similar, and if I were to do what you do I would probably fall over and be very resentful of my labour wasnt respected.

I live with my mom right now. I will be the first to say I am very spoiled. I am working (from home), so ends up with most of the cooking and cleaning, i help move heavy or large items, assist where she asks, empty the dishwasher, and occasionally make dinner or lunch, and groom the dogs. My major contribution is the garden, and she does a lot with that too.

However.... I would NOT be welcome to live there if I was getting fast food instead of home cooked meals, not helping, or getting up at 2 (barring illness, and even with that she is not very tolerant).  I could live with my dad and would be expected to look after HIM.

I wonder if you need to have a chat about "house rules". Sounds like you have some expectations that aren't being met, and even arranging for a once a week supper as a family would be good for household harmony. I would also remind them, if you havent, that the food is grown for them to enjoy too, and they shouldn't feel like they need to leave it all to you, you get joy from them eating it.

If you do still want to try- i would set finger foods on the counter. Fresh cherry tomatos, cut up veggies and dip, fruit, whatever, for your granddaughter to snack on. It's hard to ignore easy food even if it IS healthy.

 
S Bengi
pollinator
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Your kids work from home and have no social interaction, so they eat out, maybe even have a few beers with others to get some social time.
They are stuck at home 24/7 so they eat out to get some alone time, away from the patents.
They are stressed/etc so they eat out vs smoking cigs
They don't make any food because once they do, it becomes their chore and they have to cook, and clean up the dishes/pots, and no one is grateful for what they cook.

Being with in-laws can be stressfull even more than being with parents, and their main coping mechanism is eating out, it is their only source of "independence" and you are trying to take it away.

Kids just have to learn stuff the hard way at times, hopefully they will wise up in their 40's. When they start thinking oh no I am old with a couple grey hair, for now, death and health is still too far off of a concern.

4yr old are very impressionable so I would give her lots of healthy food.

It might be that someone doesn't have the knife skills to cut up the vegetables, can you buy a machine/tool/device that can streamline the process.
 
master gardener
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Yes, most of my garden area is what I normally eat.  However, I do make a point of planting, at least,one new item each year.
 
gardener
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Catie George wrote:
If you do still want to try- i would set finger foods on the counter. Fresh cherry tomatos, cut up veggies and dip, fruit, whatever, for your granddaughter to snack on. It's hard to ignore easy food even if it IS healthy.



My sister keeps a large tupperware-type snack platter (individual compartments surrounding a central well where you could put a small bowl of dipping stuff) full of crudites (small chunks of veggie fingerfoods) on her kitchen table 24/7, refreshing/replacing at need (she puts a lot of work into this, from growing some of the veggies to all the wash/peel/slice to working the older stuff into other dishes as it loses its freshest snap there on the table).  She puts some thought into what her husband will eat and none at all into what her adult children and inlaws (who are always around) like.  But the tray is always there, and there's no junk food to be found anywhere else in her house.  She gets customers.  She also gets complaints, which she blithely ignores.

I myself have given up growing to please anyone but myself.  I do ask every spring if there's anything folks here want to see me grow, and I try to accommodate any requests.  But usually all I hear named is a few herbs I'd be growing anyway.  I bring in loads of tomatoes and cukes and peppers, in season, and sometimes one of them will get used in a recipe or something.  But looking at the piles of produce and deciding to make a meal to use it up, or cook/preserve a whole mess of something?  I'm the only one who does that, and I can't expect it to change.  I don't understand it, but that's just how it is.  
 
Scott Stiller
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The main thing I’ve picked up here is I’m not completely crazy. Only a little.
I would buy the suggestion that they get take out because they aren’t out much and lack social interaction. No virus last year though and it was the same. That’s why we all sat together and planned out everything. I didn’t want to waste time and space growing extra things I didn’t want. I did anyway. I thought this year would be different. My wife and I bought this property with the thoughts of homesteading. They seemed to be on board with the world changing this spring. That fizzled. They had no social life prior to the virus because they’re weirdos. If it’s not video games and takeout it’s not for them.
I realize how I sound and you may get the impression they are not good people. They are. I decompress by working on my homestead. I’m not sure what they do. I will not however, be sucked into the same situation next year. Hopefully the house will be finished and it won’t matter. I’d be surprised though.
I’m still looking for some zen person to tell me I’m wrong. I welcome the scrutiny. The world doesn’t make sense but this does. At least to me.
 
pollinator
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Scott Stiller wrote:Every year I decide that from now own I will only grow what I want to eat. Every year I’m talked out of it. I thought this year would be different. We are giving land to our daughter and her family to build a house on. They are living with us until it’s completion. We sat down and decided what I would grow this year and everyone was excited. The excitement dimmed quickly when I started harvesting. No one here will eat any fresh vegetables unless I spend my time preparing and serving them. I’ve stopped doing that. Even my neighbors have started turning down my offers of cucumbers, herbs, and tomatoes. I’m not irritated at them though.
I think a couple problems are unique to my situation. I have MS and I don’t do well with heat anymore. Every hour I spend outside requires an hour of rest or sleep. Secondly, they all work from home and have lots of extra time to prepare the food I’ve grown. I have a four year old granddaughter living here too and I want her to eat clean. She’s not able to because her parents would rather serve her “food” from a gas station several miles away! Maybe I expect to much.
I don’t grow like I once did. We are talking about 3/4 acre of garden that has been planned to not give us all the food at once. It’s a daily trickle of food not buckets we have to eat.
Am I overthinking this?


I feel for you so much.

What you're describing is completely unfair. I would think with you having MS, they'd jump up to give you as much assistance as possible. And I can't get over how lucky they are! Free land and a place to build a life, with your help and support no doubt... plus instant babysitters nearby when they move into their own house. Not to mention fresh, healthy, delicious food that many people never even have the option to eat.

It's also like a kick in the face. It's so hard to feel unappreciated (or at least underappreciated). I know. I would adore a little bit of help from my 18 year old with veggie prep for supper, but that just doesn't happen anymore, no matter how I ask (not since she was a bit younger--maybe 13/14?) Won't come in the garden with me anymore either, since she was young. She thinks she doesn't like it, and she's stubborn. It's not like I ever had her do weeding. It doesn't matter. She just thinks she doesn't like any of it. (Now that being said, she "rescued" a sale-priced orchid from work... the last one from Mother's Day, and it was neglected and sad, so she watered it for a couple weeks, then bought it and brought it home... this gives me hope of plant love!)

My advice to you is: try to hold out hope that they will mature and change. Hope is a very powerful and precious thing. Maybe they will. Maybe your example will finally take hold in them. Not sure how old they are, but if they're youngish, there's still a lot of growing and changing to come... hopefully for the better.

About your granddaughter, take her under your wing when you can. Maybe you can have her for a "sleepover" in your part of your house (away from her parents). Get her up in the morning, plan a couple fun things (picking fresh peas, eating them in the garden, and target practice throwing the pods in a bucket? Running through the sprinkler--in the shade if necessary? Hammering a nail into a piece of soft wood? A bird walk? Baking great grandma's top secret recipe oatmeal chocolate chip cookies? Learn how to build a small campfire? Knife skills with a butter knife and banana... it's a GREAT age to start simple knife skills.)

I have great memories of my grandpa doing things with me when I was young. I was the first grandchild (and only one for four years). He was crazy about me. He would take me out to the garden and we'd pick raspberries, strawberries, peas... and he'd dry poppyseed heads, cut them open, and pour the seeds into my palm for me to eat... and he'd take me on nature drives/walks--I remember bringing a big bucket and net once and he let me fish little water bugs and stuff out of an abandoned well... and he bought or scrounged some old children's trikes and bikes so my cousins and I could go pedaling around the backyard... and he got goslings one summer and a little kiddie pool for them to swim in... and he built us some simple ladders and platforms in a tree as our treehouse. It all stayed with me, and now I'm hugely into gardening too. I think he'd be pleased. Find those little things that kids enjoy and simple skills you can teach and pass on. Definitely get her a tricycle if she doesn't already have one, as I think that would make her want to be outside. Appease the parents with long sleeves, hat, sunscreen, plenty of hydration, and shade if possible. She needs this stuff. She needs YOU. It will have an impact on her life, I promise you.

Now about the food thing. I don't have a great answer. But if you plan to continue the food prep, I'd try to make some "signature" things that taste amaaaazing and they basically can't get it anywhere else. In my house, one of these is fresh tomato salsa. It has lime juice, red wine vinegar, fresh garlic, green pepper, a little jalapeno, onion, cilantro, olive oil. (Much of this is out of my garden, and the tomatoes are a mix of a bunch of varieties like Black Krim, Green Zebra, etc.) I serve it with tortilla chips, and nobody can ever get enough. Another is cucumber salad with crumbled feta and parsley and a simple vinegar dressing. Also sauteed green/purple beans with a homemade teriyaki sauce, which is mostly soy sauce, honey, and garlic. I don't know what they like to eat, but if you can get them LOVING a certain fresh dish, here's what you do: wait until they request it. Then say you don't feel well at all, and you will tell them each step in making it as you take a load off at the kitchen table. (hehehehe)

I know it's not easy, but just keep playing the long game! That's what I always tell myself anyway. :)

 
Scott Stiller
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Thanks Heidi. Your words and recipes are appreciated!
As far as them helping me outside... no thanks 😂. That’s my time. I have so much brain fog in the heat I’m absolutely horrible to work with. I go to do one task then something else grabs my attention. I may not get back to what I was doing for the rest of the day. That’s the sort of things I used to beat myself up about but no more.
I don’t mind growing the food. All I want is for it to be eaten.
 
pollinator
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For many of us, this is the story of our lives.  Unappreciative family members ignoring wholesome, home-grown food for [poison] fare from the gas station.  This story is terribly discouraging, but so common.  Sorry you are experiencing it!

Take heart, though!  Often with age comes more wisdom!  If not from the next generation, perhaps from that little granddaughter.  I actually experienced my sister-in-law making fun of me for serving the kids vegs and dip.  She laughed and "offered" some to her teenage son.  Later I had the last laugh, as the bowl was empty.  And now, the kids in that family (married adults now) and my sister-in-law recognize the importance of good food and are picky about what they eat.  That former teenage boy might still eat chips and burgers, but his wife is known for her massive salads that include an abundance of different vegetables!

My daughter went to culinary school to study pastry and became an excellent chef.  But later went back to college, obtained a graduate degree in foreign relations, and works in non-profits.  She is an excellent cook and can still whip up a great dessert, but her evening meals are vegetable-heavy, well-prepared, and delicious.

I hope yours come around.  Plant and pick for your own enjoyment, and live it up!
 
Scott Stiller
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Thanks Anne. I’m hoping they’ll want me to throw some permaculture design wisdom their way in the future. The land that we’re giving them was to be the start of my permaculture farm. We spent 4K getting the land cleared and adding a three foot tall swale on contour around the south/southeastern side of it. I had planted fruit and nut trees at the base of the swale and everything else on every surface! It was really shaping up. A full eight acres dropping from towards the south and my home. I had dreams of a Sepp Holzer’s farm transplanted here on my land. Once the decision was made to bring family in we tried to get them down towards our home. It wasn’t to be. My farm’s starting spot was the only place that would perk. Kind of makes me sad to think of it. Ugh. Wish I hadn’t have gone there.
 
Scott Stiller
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Starting pictures of my would be farm.
6588CD7F-9122-46B8-88AC-1F93F1FAF032.jpeg
Fresh swale to the left.
Fresh swale to the left.
11D0945E-9AAB-4BEB-AF79-1EEC8493405C.jpeg
Swale close up with my scarecrow Diabeetus.
Swale close up with my scarecrow Diabeetus.
09D454B0-7955-417B-96DE-970B939F7B8A.jpeg
New growth.
New growth.
 
Anne Pratt
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Scott Stiller wrote:Thanks Anne. I’m hoping they’ll want me to throw some permaculture design wisdom their way in the future. The land that we’re giving them was to be the start of my permaculture farm. We spent 4K getting the land cleared and adding a three foot tall swale on contour around the south/southeastern side of it. I had planted fruit and nut trees at the base of the swale and everything else on every surface! It was really shaping up. A full eight acres dropping from towards the south and my home. I had dreams of a Sepp Holzer’s farm transplanted here on my land. Once the decision was made to bring family in we tried to get them down towards our home. It wasn’t to be. My farm’s starting spot was the only place that would perk. Kind of makes me sad to think of it. Ugh. Wish I hadn’t have gone there.



That's a very sad story, but . . . you have started it, and you're hoping they may continue it.  You never know.  Once one of them is diagnosed with diabetes, it would be a good idea to start eating differently!  Or any one of so many ailments.  I'm sorry you can't farm your land.  Thank goodness you can grow those vegetables, and try to interest others in good food!
 
gardener
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It sounds like you have a family problem, and a garden problem. The garden problem is easier to remedy, the family problem a bit stickier.
They may come around on their own time, as you continue doing what you do (for yourself). Grow what you like, and keep using that garden as your therapy. Introduce the kid to what you do, you're making great memories for her (and kids will start to mimic what you do, in the garden, in the kitchen....).

I have agonized over what to grow in my tiny urban garden. I have very little space, not so much time, and not a huge variety of plants to choose from. Every year I envision rows of bountiful tomatoes and cucumbers and beautiful cabbages. But in season I can get these things local for a buck a kilo, and my labor sure isn't free. So my rule is, I don't waste space on anything I can get cheap at the store. If I want to grow tomatoes, it's some fancy kind I would never find, same with the cukes. I grow kale, which is stupid expensive here, snow peas, all kinds of odd herbs and Chinese greens, passionfruit, cumquats, things that I love to eat but never will feel bad about if I see them at the store.
My point is that your garden is meant to be your haven. Grow what you want, things that make you happy, and they may or may not come around. But that's not in your control. It's really hard when you want the best for your folks and they won't take it (or worse, make you feel bad for offering). They may follow your lead, or not, but keep up setting that good example and taking care of yourself first.

I love Diabeetus the scarecrow, btw.
 
Scott Stiller
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As a kid I came to hate yellow squash. We had it everyday during the summer, always cooked the same way. I would much rather have had some McNuggets. I was ten, not thirty. I came around and maybe they will too.
Asian greens are the best! Pac Choi is my favorite. Tatsoi and mizzuna are also good in small doses.
I love trying new things each year. Past winners have been Pac Choi and and ground cherries. I can’t get enough of either.
 
Anne Pratt
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I LOVE ground cherries!  They were self-seeding annually in my yard, and I finally began paying attention!  Now I transplant some from the yard, grow some from seed, and woodchip around the ones left in the yard.  Who needs grass when you can have ground cherries?
 
Scott Stiller
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I planted Aunt Molly cherries a few years ago and they self seeded. Last year I planted strawberry husk tomatoes as well. They are bigger and all around better in my opinion. Taste like strawberry, pineapple and sweet tomato in one bite! I believe mine crossed and none of either variety volunteered this year. I was able to get some plants from a friend so I’m back in business. I NEVER have to worry about those going bad. No one else gets any! I was in Bogotà last summer. They have a variety there that is delicious and prolific. The bushes grew as a regular shrub because it never gets below 50 degrees Fahrenheit. High of 70, low of 50 everyday, all year.
 
Scott Stiller
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These are two google earth images I took a couple years ago. In the first image the swale is visible and two hugelcultures slightly downhill from it. I had made a spillway along the end of the swale. It would take a large amount of rain for that to happen but if it did the water went into the raised beds.
The second is a larger shot. The swale is in the top right and my cabin is in the bottom left. I had drawn up a series of water harvesting swales and pocket ponds to catch and overflow. In the middle would be annual and herb beds. All south facing and perfect for what I wanted to do.
Since that’s no longer an option I grow what I can in smaller areas with no grand permaculture farm to be proud of.
F1D682E3-96C1-46F7-A076-1C30FAA69285.jpeg
[Thumbnail for F1D682E3-96C1-46F7-A076-1C30FAA69285.jpeg]
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[Thumbnail for 63C47160-CC72-4DF3-BDC7-3A3D70CA0C0E.jpeg]
 
Anne Pratt
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It’s a beautiful homestead. And who knows, if we have a worse crisis than the present one (or if this one gets worse) your design might suddenly be necessary, and all the prep work is done!

I hope so. But you might also get better?  I know MS can wax and wane, but I don’t presume to know anything about your situation.
 
Scott Stiller
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Thanks Anne. I will have to start over if things improve. That swale area is where their house will go. Maybe after it’s all done a new plan will present itself. I’m always looking for ways to improve the land.
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Clean With Cleaners You Can Eat by Raven Ranson
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