Friday, July 20, 2012

the great CSA experiment

I recently decided to stop showering, make my own soap and grind my own wheat.

Just kidding.

But I did feel a little crunchy when I went to pick up the first bag of produce from our CSA. Except I was driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee and had a venti iced coffee from Starbucks in the cup holder.


As I've mentioned before, we made some changes to our eating habits about two years ago. Nothing too crazy, we just try to cut out processed foods as much as possible and stick to the whole Clean 15/Dirty Dozen idea when buying organic. We also really got into buying locally - both because it's cheap and fresh and because we like the idea of supporting a local farmer.

But it is HARD to maintain that lifestyle and I'm not even that hardcore about it. I've learned how to pick this vs. that for a lot of things, but there are times when I still find myself lingering in front of a selection for way too long because I can't figure out what the best/healthiest option is. And also, it comes at a cost. I get so discouraged when I leave the store because I feel like I spent twice what I would have if I didn't care about what was on the label.

When I found out about a local (organic!) CSA here in Connecticut, I couldn't wait to see if they'd take us, even though the season had already started. And when I got the email back saying that they would, you would have thought I'd won the lottery.

And at less than $20/week for a huge bag of yummies, I kind of did.

So far, I'm really impressed. I got an email the night before with an update on the farm (drought conditions are rough, there was a big storm that bruised the tomatoes, the squash are coming in, etc.), a few seasonal recipes and a list of everything that would be in this week's bag. This morning was our first pick-up and when I pulled into the parking lot where they come with a truckload of everyone's shares, I didn't even have to get out of the car - Farmer Erick just opened my door and gave me my bag. Not having to unbuckle the 25lbs of boy in the backseat is worth $20 alone, if you ask me.

In the bag this week?
  • Squash and zucchini. I have some summer squash that my dad mailed me from his garden (I know!) and I have plans to make a squash and potato tart. I might use these for a veggie lasagna.
  • Cucumber. I'll probably just cut these up to snack on over the next few days. Or toss it on a salad.
  • Broccoli. Maybe a broccoli salad? My Aunt Rita makes an asian broccoli salad that is so yummy. I might have to dig up that recipe.
  • Cabbage. It's red cabbage and the only thing I can come up with is cole slaw. Any other ideas?
  • Turnip greens. I guess it's time to learn how to cook greens...
  • Green leaf lettuce. Salad. Duh.
  • Beets. I already roasted these and ate them in a salad tonight. I'm going to see what Jack thinks of them tomorrow! And I might saute the leafy remnants up for a quiche or omelette. 
  • Green beans. They're actually yellow green beans (yellow beans?). Do I cook them the same way as regular green beans? Any recipes? 
My goal is to build my menu each week around what's in the bag, which will hopefully cut back on our grocery costs. Produce from the store is so expensive, y'all. I hate it. I spent $30 this weekend JUST ON FRUIT. And it wasn't even that much. Blergh.

Anyway, that's my CSA story. Maybe I'll share some recipes as they evolve. Tonight Andrew had duty, so I just put roasted beets, avocado, a hard boiled egg and bacon on a salad. With a little bit of ranch dressing. MmmmHmmm.

And lest you think I'm a weirdo health nut, I followed that salad with a big ol' honkin' piece of Mississippi Mud cake that I made for Andrew's belated birthday dinner this week. I'm pretty sure that cancelled everything else out.

Share your favorite recipes with me! What would you cook if you had all that in your kitchen right now?

2 friends said...:

  1. We were just talking about joining a local CSA last night. It would probably be a good way to force us to broaden our culinary horizons. I'm looking forward to seeing what you make!

  2. Ok I love this so got me searching for local CSA. it is going to happen soon in this house!

    I definitely want to hear some recipes that you come up with to in process.

    Happy friday!


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