For a while now, I have been interested in taking advantage of all of the wonderful, delicious, locally grown produce that is available to us living here in East TN. There are several local farms that over a crop share for a fee where you are guaranteed fresh, organic fruits and vegetables available for pick up every week. Jonathan and I did some talking and a bit of research and decided that we would give it a try. Doing the math, it broke down to a reasonable amount of money each week and guaranteed us fresh, seasonal food that was also organic.
Our first harvest from the CSA (crop share) that we joined arrived last Thursday. We decided to take on this endeavor with some friends of ours, the Slagers, so we are actually sharing a large "box" each week. Mia Slager and I take the time to divide the spoils each week and also share ideas on how to cook and prepare each thing. It's only been a bit over a week, but we are already loving it.
Look at all of the stuff we got last week at our first pick-up:
Things I learned from my first week: When Mia brought the food over, we washed everything quickly and divided up the food. I found out through the course of the week that some of the lettuce did not get washed well enough. So, last night after we got our second week's worth of food, I washed everything very closely. I took every piece of fresh lettuce and washed it well, removing all dirt. This will hopefully diminish our loss of food and will keep any little creatures from living and eating off of our veggies before we consume them. (I did find a little caterpillar that had fattened up on my broccoli last week).
As far as other things I did with the produce, we made taco salads on Memorial Day with the lettuce and I gave my radishes to my in-laws. I am not a fan! I still have the Swiss chard which I am going to sautee this weekend to have it wilt with some olive oil in a skillet.
I do want to show you a picture of the produce I received yesterday for our second week.
This is a picture off of my phone, so the quality isn't that great. This is just my portion, but as you can see, it's a ton of food. We received a huge head of cabbage (which I cut in half for Mia and I), another huge head of romaine lettuce, a head of red bibb lettuce (I think), fresh spinach, strawberries, and some squash and garlic. I hope to make some yummy stuff this week including some chicken lettuce wraps! Also, I may experiment with making a green smoothie with my fresh spinach, but if not, I'll just wilt it as a side-dish for dinner one night this week.
I am loving this food challenge! I really love to cook and having access to these wonderful foods is not only beneficial to our health, but it is pushing me to cook more and to cook healthfully. Our kids are open to trying new things more than they ever have before. I hope that this experience continues to benefit us and broadens our horizons a bit! So far, it is really fun and really tasty!
I will do my best to document some of our food and how things are going with the CSA. I won't even try to plan for a weekly post because--as we all know--I won't be able to keep up with that. We have lots of busy weeks ahead, so I will try my hardest! Do any of you participate? If so, I'd love to follow along on your journey and find out what you are doing with your food. I love new recipes!