May 13, 2011

First foray into community-supported agriculture

May 13, 2011 - Categories: cooking, kaizen, life

W- borrowed In Defense of Food from the library. I read it with him, dipping in and out of the book when he read nearby. Now we’re tweaking what and how we eat: buying organic vegetables, checking out a nearby butcher, and preparing lighter summer fare.

We signed up for a local spring share from Plan B Organic Farms. The way that community-supported agriculture works is that you buy a share in a farm’s produce and you get a portion of whatever’s being harvested. Plan B Organic Farms works with several farms, so you can get a good selection of food (and your risk is probably lower, too). We signed up for a bi-weekly regular-sized share to see what it’s like. We’ll probably sign up for a weekly half-share for summer, as the garden will yield fruits and vegetables too.

After much anticipation, we picked up our first box yesterday! It contained:

I rinsed and tossed handfuls of lettuce, baby kale, sprouts, and pea tenders with vinaigrette. I added dandelion leaves from the garden. (Mwahaha! It’s extra-satisfying to pull up weeds for munching.) A sprinkling of pine nuts on the greens, and tada! Salad.

Meanwhile, W- cooked the sausages and prepared pasta with store-bought pesto. (Haven’t started our basil plot yet!) We added some sage, oregano, and thyme from the garden – just a bit, as the plants are still small. Yummy!

Working with a random assortment of fruits and vegetables is a lot more fun now than it was back when I was a student cooking for myself. I used to get the Good Food Box (another organic/local produce subscription service) when I lived on campus. Identifying the vegetables that came and figuring out good recipes for them that wouldn’t result in too much waste – that was quite a challenge! I remember losing the list of the box contents and then flipping through the pages in my full-colour fruit and vegetable identification book (a gift from my family), trying to figure out if I had beets or rutabagas. (Beets, as it turned out.) Now, W- and I can bounce ideas off each other, we have more flexibility and a better-stocked pantry for quick meals, and we have the freezer space to handle odds and ends if needed. Yay!

I’m still looking forward to getting our garden growing. The plants look promising. I’m learning how to pack the garden more densely and to grow more kinds of food. But it’s great to enjoy lettuce and all these other things while the garden gets started, and to get fruits and vegetables we won’t be growing ourselves.

The community-supported agriculture shares will be a great addition to our kitchen, encouraging us to be more creative with our cooking and more diverse in our diet. It’ll be fun – and it will be good eating!