Home Sweet Farm CSA

Danny and I are members of the local CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture called Home Sweet Farm. I'm surprised I haven't written about it before, because it's becoming such a big part of my life.

CSA's are local farms, usually organic, or pesticide free but without the official label of "organic, that grow food that you pick up every week. We have bought a share for the full year, which means we paid in advance to go each week to the closest drop site to pick up an allocated amount of fresh veggies. Ours averages to about $17/week. Yes, it is somewhat expensive. But Danny and I both think it's worth it for the following reasons:

1. We are now eating enough vegetables. I am super motivated to find ways to cook our vegetables so that we don't waste any, since we have already paid for them. Our dinners have gotten much tastier, and the amount of meat we have eaten has decreased. Sometimes our dinners don't have any meat at all! We feel like we are doing better at following the Word of Wisdom.

2. We spend less on groceries now. Because I prepaid for the veggies, I feel a strong need to use them all. This requires planning, because we pick up 4-5 different kinds of veggies every week! These are fresh, and will not usually keep for much longer than a week, if that. So I have to plan ahead, which means I make menus. This means that when I go to the store, I only buy the things on my list. I can't believe how much less the grocery bill is, just from making menus and planning. Yes, this even includes the cost of the vegetables. So many of my grocery store purchases were out of the blue, unplanned splurges. Those really add up. Not to mention the extra grocery store trips mid-week when I discover I'm missing that one essential ingredient. No more!

3. I have vastly expanded my cooking repertoire. This is due to Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" volumes I and II. You may wonder if it's really that healthy to eat vegetables cooked this way (aka doused in butter and cream, what Julia's famous for!). She is a huge proponent of the philosophy that vegetables are not just vitamins you are "required" to eat at each meal; they should stand alone as delicious dishes. Personally, I think that if something is delicious, I am more likely to eat it. Whether or not this is "healthier", I'm not a food scientist so I couldn't say for sure. But I feel healthier now, and I'm conquering my subconscious/silly aversion to beats and greens. In fact, these things are quite tasty! And I know without a doubt that I am eating more vegetables.

4. It feels good to support a local business. Not only that, but it's a way for me to connect with my ancestors who lived not far from where the CSA farm is. I wonder if they ate some of the same things!

5. It's nice to know we are not ingesting tons of pesticides. Danny and I do not care in any way whatsoever about if a vegetable is "organic" or is not genetically modified. How can a living thing not technically be organic, and since when have farmers not genetically modified their food? But it is good to avoid overuse of pesticides. I don't remember ever saying, "Oh, this food is gross because it tastes like pesticide", and sometimes the CSA food has little tiny bugs in them, so I have to wash them really, really, really well. But I do know that overusing certain kinds of pesticides can be very, very bad (which is why I favor genetically modifying the plants to be resistant to bugs!).

Here is a short list of the ways I have used the vegetables:

Celery stalks: Cream of Celery Soup, the base for several other soups, for cooking chicken etc.
Celery leaves: Celery Flakes
Swiss Chard and Red Chard Leaves: Gratineed Cooked Chard (the name is prettier in French)
Swiss Chard Stems: Gratineed Cooked Chard
Red Chard Stems: stir fry, soup
Golden Beets: Pottage (Danny said it was the best soup he's ever had)
Beet Greens: Mandarin Orange and Beet Greens Salad (Danny preferred this, but I thought it was okay)
Lettuce: Salad, salad, and more salad
Red Russian Kale: Blanched, sauteed with onions and garlic, with a delicious milk sauce
Cabbage: Petit Chou Farci! (Little cabbages stuffed with sausage - that comes from a Czech farm very near to where my ancestors lived! It was in the grocery store, and I was like, "Hey, this will probably be delicious!" and I was right)
Carrot Greens: ingredient in a soup

Here is a short list of how I plan on using the vegetables that are in the fridge:

Red onions: for cooking
Carrots: Cooked with a tiny bit of sugar, mmmmm
Red Beets: Salade de l'Argenson and/or Borscht
Lettuce: more salad
Cauliflower: Blanched with a yummy sauce on top
Broccoli: Blanched with a yummy sauce on top
Red Russian Kale: Same as before, because Danny and Jane gobbled it up! It was sweet, isn't that weird?
Swiss and Red Chard Leaves: Gratineed

Yummy! Thanks to Ginny, for letting me know that these things even exist!

1 comment:

  1. oh how fun! we have one about ten minutes away but it is WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY more expensive than what your'e paying. when we first moved here I looked into it I thought it would be perfect for us, because I loved making homemade organic babyfood for briggy when we had a trader joes....but it was about $2000 a year, and there weren't weekly installments. I just think its the coolest, and so good for your family! Our particular one had fresh organic meats the first saturday of every month too!
    Your recipes sound soooooo good!


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