July 27, 2009

CSA delivery: or, how to make Monday your favorite day of the week

Getting this delivery of local organic produce every two weeks has changed our lives! Cooking is more fun, and my husband is eating more fruit. On top of being better for the environment by cutting down transportation costs and supporting the local farmers, this stuff is much fresher, so it lasts longer, and it tastes absolutely delicious.

Here's a rundown of this week's bounty (I definitely need to consult the list because I don't know what some of it is): starting from the back and moving roughly clockwise is watermelon, bi-colored sweet corn, cavallion melon, red butter lettuce, a beefsteak tomato, zucchini, Ronde nice squash, cherry tomatoes, black grapes, homemade tomato sauce, plums, nectarines, red onions, rooted basil, and Armenian cucumber. Those purple goodies in the middle? Fresh Black Eyed Peas in the Shell. I've never seen those before.

I can't decide what to have for dinner tonight. I'm really excited about the corn, we'll have to eat that. Maybe I'll tackle those Black Eyed Peas, there are instructions on how to prepare them. And I'll definitely be referring to all the zucchini recipes I received from my readers when I cook that zucchini later this week.

I've posted today's recipe below, although we didn't receive eggplant, so something must have changed at the last minute. Our CSA visits four local Farmer's Markets over the weekend and picks the freshest offerings each week.

If you live in Los Angeles, this CSA operates through the restaurant and catering company Auntie Em's. This delivery costs $42, and we're getting it every two weeks, which is plenty for two people. I like what the owner has to say in this week's newsletter about the whole issue of trying to eat responsibly for our bodies and the planet: "I think that we should all try to do the best we can, and be proud that we're making a difference. Don't beat yourself up over the fact that you're not eating grass-fed beef, if you are buying organic produce, recycle, and are walking more places. It is really hard to do it all. But you can make good choices everyday."

I agree. And Auntie Em's is helping my husband and I make a good choice. I believe that many people making a lot of small changes has a greater impact than if a few of us become Ed Begley, Jr. (no offense to EB). The point is that you do what you can, and it all adds up. For me, the baby steps method works well so that I don't become overwhelmed. I can incorporate small changes into our lives like composting and eating local produce without a huge outlay of time or resources.

Becoming a non-consumer has led to a slew of other healthy lifestyle/good for the environment changes for me. What about you? Do you have a CSA option or Farmer's Market near where you live? Maybe you grow your own produce. Have you ever made Black Eyed Peas from the pod? Do you boil or steam fresh corn? Please leave your thoughts and questions in the Comments section.


Stephanie said...

Hi Angela,

I just wanted to let you know that I wrote an article about your blog on the Mother Nature Network.



Michele said...

What a great mix, once again!
When I get fresh corn still in the husk, I like to throw it on the BBQ and let it steam that way. Just remove the silk as much as possible (it stinks when it burns)and throw the ears onto the hot grill. The outside leaves may char a little, but that is ok.
Tastes divine!

If I have to cook it indoors, I boil it just until hot (about 3 minutes). Cooking it too long will make it tough.

Angela said...

Hi Stephanie-Wow. I like the article- thanks! That looks like a really cool site. I'm happy to be in it.

Michele- Yes, we are so lucky to have such a wonderful variety. We're going to make those black-eyed peas with our niece and nephew who come for a visit tomorrow. It will be interesting for them to see where beans come from- and for me too!

We had the corn tonight- it was so delicious it didn't need any salt or butter. So sweet. I just boiled it. I have had corn from the grill and it's tasty.

Meg said...

I like the idea of a CSA box. In fact, I almost signed up for one recently at the farmer's market I now go to weekly. However, when I asked how they determined how much food to put in each box it was something like, "We put $16 worth of food into each week's box" -- exactly how much the box costs to get each week. Well, if I have to come to the farmers' market to pick up the box, why should I just spend $16 or however much I want on what I want, instead of getting the presorted box that might not have what I want? And that way I don't pay for boxes I don't pick up, like if I'm busy or if it rains too hard for me to want to go pick it up.

Is that normally how these things work? I think the other CSA program is similar, but there's a wait list a mile long for that one and the list for this one is filling up fast even though it's brand new. I guess it works out great for them -- sort of like selling gift cards that can only be used at certain times for a certain amount and they pick the stuff, lol. But I just don't see any benefit to me unless they're going to give me at least a little discount.

tammy said...

I grew black eye peas last year in the garden but didn't this year. They took up a ton of room and black eye peas are fairly inexpensive. It was however, fun to shell the peas and cook them knowing they were from my own garden.
Shelling peas is very calming- it's almost a zen thing. I love shelling my butter beans from the garden.
This is bounty indeed Angela. HAVE FUN!

Angela said...

Meg- Great question. I'll address it more fully on the next CSA day.

That was exactly what I thought initially. And I think if you always, or almost always, get to the Farmer's Market, it's true. But there are other advantages of the CSA. Here is how it's worked for us:
1) We have delivery, which is an incredible extra bonus and convenience. Many times I can't get to the Farmer's Market, even if I want to.
2) Our CSA is very experienced with all the local Farmer's Markets and knows what is the best each week- therefore we are truly eating seasonally. I plan menus around what we receive.
3) Getting the variety makes me cook more creatively, and our CSA includes recipes and simple instructions on how to prepare
4) They give us produce I would never choose myself, mostly because I'm unfamiliar with it, so we're eating more variety which is healthier.
5) The food is so much fresher that it lasts a lot longer and so it's easier to avoid waste. I have eaten some of the produce right before our next delivery (2 weeks) and it's still delicious.

Thanks for the question!

leigh @ compactbydesign said...

Angela, I love hearing the excitement in your post each time you write about your CSA. I think this might be one of the greatest (and unexpected) benefits to your taking on the Compact this year!
And I completely agree with Auntie Em's comments. Their cupcakes are so divine I can't have just one, I have to walk more just for that!