Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Strawberry Fields Forever

The Farm is back!  For those who were reading last year, you may remember that I promised to tell you about the great fresh veggies and post recipes for everything I got in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.  Yeah...sorry about that.  Really though, recipes are abundant online, so I probably won't post those.  I may occasionally add a link if I find something super fantastic.

First, a little about CSA's, in case you ain't never heard of 'em:

This is becoming popular in the US as people become more cognizant of where their food comes from, and thankfully, people like Tom and Sarah at Flying Plow Farm have the entrepreneurial spirit to go out there and, well, farm.  The business model is that people pay in the fall or winter for a share of the farm's crops, to be delivered or picked up weekly during the summer.  This gives the farmers the capital needed to sow the fields, and it also gives them some assurance of their income for the year, regardless of how well their crops grow or sell.  The "investors" get a huge amount of fresh produce, usually picked the day of pick up, that is organic and locally grown.  It's win-win - because there is no major transport or packaging for the produce, there is less of an environmental impact, and the veggies taste better, are more nutritious, and help small local businessmen (aka "farmers") compete with the huge farm corporations.  The shares run a bit more than you might normally spend on produce, but not much.  I paid $450 for my half share, which is good for 2-3 people, and I have easily gotten $25 worth of produce each week until Thanksgiving.  It worked out to about $30 a week.  Most farmers are actually willing to negotiate on the price, I've heard.  So if you can't afford a CSA, talk to the farmer and see if you might be able to work in the fields a bit or pay in smaller increments.


As I was saying, the farm is back, and unlike last year, I hope to maintain the blog often enough to tell y'all more about it.  This week, I picked up red leaf lettuce, baby spinach, "yukina savoy" (a leafy green similar to spinach), kale, baby turnips (I am not a huge fan), bok choy (aka Chinese cabbage, and definitely a new favorite veggie), and strawberries.  Strawberries were a "you-pick" item, which means I have to pick them myself, but I can pick as many as I want.  Naturally, I picked only a sensible gallon.  Just kidding!! I picked two gallons.  Plus the quart I got as part of the normal share.

Let me just say: they are deeee-vine!  I can't get enough of them!  Each time I open the fridge, I pop a berry.  I have had them for breakfast, as a side for lunch, on salad at dinner, as snacks in between, and for dessert.  I thought of making a strawberry pie, but I really do not love strawberry pie.  I prefer them plain, or on top of something.  So I bought some ice cream today.  Can't wait!

What else, pray tell, did I make this week, what with all my green-leafed veggies?  Well, I learned last year, that the green leafies will be here for a few more weeks at least, and I learned quickly that leaf-centric meals are not generally crowd pleasers.  I cannot, for instance, serve up a bit of cooked greens, tossed in olive oil and gently sauteed with a few choice spices.  Even though this is a great way to serve greens, the man in my life will not even try it, and if he does, he will make "that face" which I reserve for strong rums, and look at me like, "See?  I told you."

I find this very annoying.

But, I have successfully made meals that we both like, and used my greens.  After a while, I realized you can just toss them in with whatever you were planning to cook.  Maybe not a lot at a time, but chop them up fine, and throw them in with your casserole, spaghetti sauce, or stir fry, even put them on your pizza.  If used correctly, your greens will silently add some nutrition to your man's diet, and he will only occasionally ask if you are trying to poison him.  To which you will reply, oh yes, it was my plan all along to string you along and get you to move in with me, and eat my food, only to poison you with nutrients that do not happen to be found in beer and pizza.

Has anyone noticed that men are like toddlers?

Just an observation.

Anyway, I made stir fry with some marinated chicken, onions, carrots, the turnips (finely chopped as I do not love them) and bok choy.  I made some pasta with kale and black beans, tossed with pesto I made last year and froze.  I made spinach salad with strawberries and mandarin oranges.  I plan to make salmon with a strawberry mango salsa, enchiladas with yukina savoy (basically a regular enchilada recipe with the greens tossed into the filling).  Bok choy soup for my lunches, and kale and eggs with a side of strawberries for breakfasts.  I also made some rice pudding for the first time, and it was so stinkin' easy!  I plan to top it with strawberries!

And the best news?!  I nearly smooshed a toad in the carport last night, and the strawberries in my own little patch have yielded two slug-free fruits!  Yay!


Out of My Mind said...

Look what you did! Now I'm hungry and I don't have any veggies at all so I have to go to the store (we don't have CSAs. We have a farmers marked ton Wednesday's and Saturday's but it is Tureday). Then I have to wash the veggies and actually cook them. Awh, mannnnnn, gotta go lots to do before dinner.......kt

Danielle Mari said...

This may be my favorite sentence ever:
"I nearly smooshed a toad in the carport last night, and the strawberries in my own little patch have yielded two slug-free fruits!"

CSAs are awesome! And I would eat your leaf-centric meals with no snarky tude. Just saying. Of course, I'm not a guy.