the magical vegetable fairy.
let me say this, there are many expected pleasures of joining a CSA (community supported agriculture) group. [note: if you have no idea what a CSA is, go here or here to read more, but in short, you pay money up front and get a weekly delivery of organic, locally grown (my favorite part) basket of seasonal veggies/fruit/dairy or what you signed up for). after you wheeze a little from the dent in your wallet (after all, even if it is a good deal, paying up front for anything necessitates a lie-down and the commencement of cocktail hour), you get a present each week of very fresh food from your CSA, or as i like to refer to it, the magical vegetable fairy. convenient, healthy, all-granola and politically correct, you know, all that.
my parents and i decided to split a small vegetable share and a single fruit share (they have shares ranging from single to large family), and chose a pickup that is 1/4 mile from our house. every tuesday, around 3:00, one of us goes with our bags in hand and picks up our loot. we sort through the trade box to offload anything we have too much of or want more of, say hello to the other veggie-philes, and haul it home. surpassing the expected plusses, however, is the unexpected good stuff.
i’m not going to lie, it feels a little like christmas, each time.
i get really excited to pick it up, peering inside the basket to see what awaits. see, you don’t ever know what you’re going to get. [insert overly-used and unfunny forrest gump chocolate box comparisons here. or don’t, because you’re my friend.] sure, there’s a calendar showing which foods are in season which months, but you don’t know which kinds, how much, what’s new, which farm had a frost…it’s a surprise. and if i like anything, it’s gifty-surprises. and the fact that this surprisey-spirit now surrounds not electronics, or clothes, or music – but vegetables. (side note: my family calls surprises “sussies”, does yours?) VEGETABLES. now, i do enjoy vegetables, but in the busy-ness of life, i often forget how much. i settle for the quick food that comes in its own packaging and requires no less than 30 seconds to get at it.
i’m food impatient, sometimes.
well, if we’re honest, i’m impatient about many more things. i am a card-carrying member of the instant gratification league.
so this is why the CSA is perfect for me. because it is conveniently inconvenient.
– it reminds me, weekly, to eat my vegetables
– it is overall much, much cheaper
– it supports local farmers
– i don’t wander around the grocery store figuring out what to buy; it makes the decision for me
inconveniently, but rather good for me:
– i’ve already paid for it, so regardless of whether i’m in the mood to eat veggies or not, i do. i don’t like things to go intentionally to waste.
– it puts food in front of me, food i would never have chosen, and forces me to figure out a way to cook it; thus, i find new recipes.
– i have to clean all the vegetables and find a place for them, therefore making me LOOK AT EACH VEGETABLE and naturally think about when i’m going eat it and with what = built-in meal planning
– i have to spend TIME. not a huge amount of time, mind you, but just time paying attention to what i’m eating.
good, good, good, SO GOOD for me.
now, lest we affix that healthy-halo a little too tightly to my head, let me say that not all my recipes are the healthiest. i mean, put enough spices, oil/butter, sour cream and cheese on something, and i’ll make anything taste good. but those are just first few weeks trials, as you get used to cooking new foods and fearfully add more fat so that you don’t disappoint your dinner companions. or the weeks when i’m too tired to cook and clean up the meals (although it should be said that the boy actually likes doing the dishes, the weirdo, so i’m lucky).
also, what else can you do with that much dill or cilantro but make lots of creamy dips, I MEAN REALLY.
i have never bought so much buttermilk in my whole life; i now have the facts that the small container is $67 cents and is the exact amount i need memorized.
but it’s good. it’s been one of my favorite things this summer, both visually (i took all of these pictures) and especially gustatorily. this week i’m making salmon salad with dill sauce, lime-cilantro chicken fajitas with pea-pasta salad, and halibut fish tacos with greens and roasted radishes.
doesn’t this make me sound like a fancy cook, or even someone who cooks rather than only reads books about julia child and watch the food network, jealous?
good thing we all know the truth 🙂
thanks, magical vegetable fairy and sidekick fruitman, you’re making my life better.