3/2-3/4/2017: In like a lion


Quick things:

  • Yes, we were on the radio. Read below for more about that. 🙂
  • A stellar bread week: Cranberry Ginger and Jalapeno Cheddar from McGrath’s Bakehouse. Available fresh on Friday and Saturday.
  • Butter sale continues — I expect this to be the final week. Newly on sale this week are The Sweet Farm’s Almost Sour pickles (which happen to be one of my new favorites).
  • Greens are back! We’ve got Lacinato Kale, Collards, and Rainbow Chard for braising and stewing, along with salad greens Baby Red Russian Kale, Lettuce Mix, and the Mesclun and Miner’s we’ve been able to have consistently.

Scroll down for the list of what we’ll have this week!

 

I am sorry to report that the dish pictured here was a failure. It looks so good! It sounded so good!

I started with the idea that, so happy am I that chevre is back in stock, I wanted to do something with it beyond just smearing it on a baguette (not that there’s anything wrong with that). “A creamy pasta sauce,” I thought, “maybe with some just-wilted spinach.” And so, I turned to Google, and found a Martha Stewart recipe for Lemony Pasta with Goat Cheese. I will admit: I did not have any parsley or cilantro on hand, and was skeptical about the necessity of the lemon, given the wonderful tang of the chevre itself. I am not claiming to have followed the recipe.

I did, however, take the recipe as some kind of validation of my idea, and so thought I’d try something similar, but with a higher chevre to pasta water ratio, and fewer additional flavors — really focus on making the chevre the central flavor of the dish, and retaining as much creaminess as possible. Well, FAIL.

I used one tub of chevre to a pound of DeCecco Fettucine, which is the same cheese/pasta ratio Martha calls for. I roasted two heads of garlic, and stirred them in with the chevre and only half a cup of pasta water before combining with the spinach and pasta. And it seemed like the chevre just disappeared. Like a total freakin’ waste of chevre, but with lots of thin pasta water at the bottom of the pan. We would have been just as well off using butter. I mean, with the addition of some extra salt it wasn’t bad, just pretty disappointing. Which, of course, leads me to a dilemma — do I keep experimenting, or, since I know that chevre on baguette (or Rip Rap crackers) is always good, just stick with what I know?

On a totally different note (if you don’t care about my feelings about healthcare insurance, or didn’t hear us on the radio this week, feel free to scroll down!), I imagine that some of you may have heard Ben Allen’s segment about our experience with purchasing healthcare this year. About a month ago, we spent about an hour talking to Ben, and then he came to the stand a couple weeks later to get some shots of us in action and B-roll (which some of you also experienced!). I enjoyed talking to Ben, and got the impression that he is working hard to thoughtfully and carefully delve into the issues surrounding the ACA and healthcare insurance in general — to hear and portray a diversity of perspectives on the law and the current situation. And all that said, I groaned inwardly (okay, maybe outwardly) at least once when I heard our story aired. Since I have a little forum where I get to edit myself, I just wanted to clarify a couple things.

First and foremost, I was disappointed to hear the interview edited so that it sounded like Dusty was complaining about a premium of $6,000/year for the two of us. We are not complaining about that. That’s about what we paid last year, with no subsidy, and we did so fairly cheerfully. The plan we were on was eliminated completely, though, so we had to do some shopping. We settled on the second-cheapest plan available on the exchange, and qualified for a subsidy of the premium, for an annual total of about $6,000/year. We can do that.

The thing is, being self-employed (and retaining some outside income), it is very hard for us to know right now what our income for 2017 will be — and so hard to know whether or not, when it comes time to do our 2017 taxes, we will still qualify for that subsidy. Between all sources combined, a 2017 income somewhere around $65K sounds plausible, but it could be more, or it could be less. And if it’s a penny more than $64,960, it will turn out that our health insurance bill for the year will be not $6,000, but more like $11,280. And that feels a little hard to swallow, particularly when you think of it as an 88% increase over last year’s unsubsidized rates. And it’s even more hard to swallow when you figure that since we have a high deductible plan, we’d probably have to spend close to $18K in a year on medical care before the insurance company would kick in anything. Most years, we spend a couple hundred.

In his story, Ben Allen also features a young woman whose experience has been the opposite of ours — faced with extremely high rates prior to the ACA, the law has made healthcare insurance affordable for her. This is what insurance is — spreading the risk around. So far, I’ve been healthy; someday, maybe not. For the other woman featured in Ben’s segment, the opposite has been true — but the tables could turn at any time. I could get hit by the beer truck as it barrels down Verbeke (seriously). Dusty could come down with a horrible disease. I’m pretty committed to having insurance for myself and my loved ones. I like the idea that together we can come up with some numbers that work for everyone — protecting us financially when we need it, and offering a sense of security even in the good times. But if we get to a point where we have to spend $18,000 on insurance and healthcare before the insurance company spends anything on us, I do start feeling like, “We just don’t have that kind of money.”

And a weird thing? If we lose our subsidy, we might very well be exempt from the individual mandate, because even the government will agree that the premiums are unaffordable — though by the time we know if that’s the case, the year will be over, and it will be too late to make a decision on that basis. Even so, given that there is an income window where we might be ineligible for a subsidy but not high enough income to be subject to the mandate, my reasoning for why we should go ahead and buy an ACA-compliant insurance plan may have been more emotional than financial. But there are limits to that.

Maybe more than anything, it’s a sense of responsibility both to myself and to my community. Of course having insurance is the responsible thing if you don’t think you yourself could pay the bill if something catastrophic were to happen, but beyond that, the more premiums rise, the more healthy folks will opt out of the market — and the more healthy folks abandon ship, the worse it is for everyone who’s left. I don’t think that the ACA is a well-designed law, and it makes sense to me that the incentives it has created — for individuals and for insurers — have led us to where we are today. Insurance itself is a pretty great human invention — a real innovation — but it works best when everyone has incentive to be covered. So far, it looks to me like the ACA has swung the pendulum from premiums being too high for folks who most needed care, to premiums being too high for folks who least need care. Neither one is sustainable. Fingers crossed we can find a middle ground.

-Julia


Produce

Braising/Cooking Greens

  • Rainbow Chard
  • Collard Greens
  • Lacinato Kale
  • Spinach

Fruit

  • Gala Apples
  • Granny Smith Apples

Mushrooms

  • Cremini Mushrooms
  • White Mushrooms

Onions & Garlic

  • Garlic
  • Red Onions
  • Yellow Onions
  • Shallots

Potatoes

  • Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • Crescent Fingerling Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • Fingerling Sweet Potatoes
  • Japanese Sweet Potatoes
  • Purple Sweet Potatoes

Roots

  • Red Beets
  • Carrots
  • Rainbow Carrots
  • Celeriac
  • Jerusalem Artichokes
  • Parsnips
  • Black Radishes
  • Watermelon Radishes
  • Purple Top Turnips
  • Rutabagas

Salad Greens

  • Lettuce Mix
  • Mesclun Mix
  • Miner’s Lettuce
  • Baby Red Russian Kale
  • Belgian Endive
  • Raddichio (urgent use!)

Squash

  • Butternut Squash
  • Butterkin Squash

Bread

McGrath’s Brick Oven Bakehouse
(fresh Friday & Saturday)

  • McGrath’s Original
  • Sesame Original
  • Country Rye Pan Bread
  • Prairie
  • Cranberry Ginger
  • Jalapeno Cheddar
  • Baguettes (fresh Saturday only; available frozen every day)
Talking Breads returns next Thursday!
(fresh Thursday)

  • Batard
  • Ciabatta
  • Miche
  • Seeded

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