When your child asks what’s for dinner, do you feel like it’s a trick question?

We’re the Kitchen Counter Collective, a group of working moms (and one non-mom who cooks for kids), with kids ranging in ages from 2 to 18. Each one of us has grappled with the issue of what to feed our children that they actually will eat, specifically when it comes to vegetables. All of us are members of a Virginia pick-up site for the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative CSA, a cooperative of 70+ Amish farmers that supplies us with an impressive variety of fresh, beautiful, organic vegetables each week.

We represent a variety of cooking styles and food approaches, but we all share a commitment to serving our kids a diet of healthy, whole foods.

Lise Metzger is a freelance photographer, a food educator, our CSA site host and an enthusiastic organizer of community potlucks. She strives to entice her carbohydrate-loving, vegetable-leery teenage daughter to share her mom’s passion for fresh, local vegetables.

Whitney Redding is a writer/editor whose twin daughters used to be called “the committee” because of the way they’d unite “for” or “against” whatever was for dinner. Fortunately both outgrew that phase before their younger brother came along.

Mary Cunningham is a policy wonk, food blogger (www.arugulafiles.com), and mom to a toddler, whose favorite foods include carrots, broccoli, hummus, cucumbers, avocado, and peanut butter.  Unfortunately, the only new foods she tries these days are different ice cream flavors, which means beet ice cream is on the menu soon!

Sarah McGowan has worked professionally with underserved youth for many years and believes in the power of service-learning projects (fave project: community gardening!).  She is also a master naturalist, gardener, and mother to a young lady who when presented with food asks if Peter Rabbit eats it. Who knew rabbits could have such a varied diet? Wink, wink.

Maria Marvich is a biotechnology patent examiner for the USPTO who had to force her two kids to take the journey into wonderful, healthy lifestyle changes — with wonderful results.

Catherine Dubas provides specialized academic support within the Fairfax County Public School system, and has a passion for environmental issues, church music, and eating well.  She is mom to four children who have survived the many “no thank you very much helpings” she and her husband insisted upon.

Fonda Nichols is an executive in the live events field who loves to eat — and therefore loves to cook — and eagerly welcomes the challenge of preparing the less common vegetables sent by our CSA (lentil-stuffed kohlrabi, for example). She cooks for another CSA family with two “discerning” eaters, and lives with her Italian Greyhound, who loves all fruits and vegetables.

Heather K. Harris is an aviation safety engineer and a gluten-free single mom to a lactose-intolerant, sushi-loving grade-school all-star cheerleader who, except for the sushi, would choose to live on chicken noodle soup. She did, however, declare Lise’s minestrone soup the best soup she had ever eaten, and had four servings.

Amy Tiilikainen is a graduate student and theology/history teacher and mom to a spirited 2-year-old who has battled slow weight gain, severe reflux and sensory food aversions. Amy and her husband are trying to find ways to balance calorie intake with healthy foods, especially fruits and veggies.

Sharon Toda is by day an Applied Behavior Analysis Resource Teacher and by night an enthusiastic cook for her family. Her 6-year-old daughter is her eating and farmer’s market buddy whereas her 4-year-old son has the genetic makeup of his father and will not eat anything green.

Kelly Crawford is a museum specialist for a large public garden in Washington, D.C. She gardens with her 2.5-year-old son, an avid herb enthusiast and fickle vegetable taster who currently prefers vegetables that are not green. Despite her son’s growing “no thank you” list, she continues to try to make eating, cooking and growing vegetables fun.


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