Saturday, August 8, 2009

Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)















Steve went to the Greensboro Curb Market this morning for our usual weekly goodies. We always get our whole milk from the Homeland Creamery. Often we get their butter, but they were out this morning. My friend, June, from the Calico Dairy also has incredible butter - very smooth and creamy like European Butter, but he forgot to go by there as he was running around telling everyone about our first egg!



We got a roasting chicken from John Handler, Weatherhand Farm, and I will cook it tomorrow. He always leaves such a long neck on them and I cook this up for my dog, Missy (yes, I painstakingly take all the meat off the neck and don't give her the whole thing.) His chickens are a Cornish Rock meat bird. They are raised out in the open and have a pretty happy chicken life. Speaking of chicken - it always cracks me up to read labels on chicken and egg products when they claim that the birds have been fed a vegetarian diet - I think, how sad! Chickens are not vegetarians, they love bugs and worms. You should see Oliver, my neighbor's 7 year old son, come over and dig up a big handful of worms out of the compost pile to feed the chickens, they love him!

Lastly, we got our CSA bag from our friends, Pat and Brian Bush, of Handance Farm. We have used their community supported agriculture program for 2 years now and we are never disappointed. CSA programs are when you buy, pre-season, a share of the produce that will come from the upcoming farm season. Every week you get a bag of fresh produce and you never know what you'll get so it's like having a weekly food b'day present! It forces you to be a little creative in the kitchen, but I love that!


Today we got 1 pound of slicing tomatoes, 1 pound of Juliette tomatoes (they are the ones in the bowl in the picture and are similar to mini plum tomatoes.) I dehydrated 12 pints of Juliettes last week and I will be eating these all winter. After dehydrating them, I soak them in olive oil, then I pulverize them in the food processor. Then I add tablespoons onto pasta dishes, salads and in casseroles, meatloaves and egg dishes. There was also a pre-packed tomato salad which beats any bag salad mix you'll get at the grocery store. This must be eaten today or tomorrow. I sometimes use these ingredients when making a Tuscan bread salad vegetable mix that becomes lunch for days. We got about 6 sweet bell peppers of all colors and shapes. I love the unique texture and feel of real food. Industrial agriculture forces all produce into uniform shapes and sizes for ease in processing - they take the soul of a piece of produce and make it generic - yuck! And we got 1 1/2 pounds of Yukon Gold potatoes which are just the best. I love getting fresh potatoes that I know haven't been held in Controlled Atmospheric storage (CA) for up to a year and then shipped to the grocery store so we unknowing consumers can get old veggies. How many times have you gotten produce that goes bad within days of coming into your house - well, that's because it was old when it got to the store, despite the CA system.



So, really - quite a nice haul for the week! I might have to hit the market on Wednesday for a few mid-week items. I don't have a plan for this week as I am enjoying the spontaneity of the last two weeks of summer before school starts.


Tips:

1) it's good to see dirt on your produce - it makes me feel happy to smell earthy soil from newly dug potatoes. Do you remember that smell - the smell of healthy dirt, of your childhood?

2) it's good to find bugs on your produce - they are annoying but, they mean that chances are high that it's organic produce and you are not consuming pesticides or sanitized produce. When I find a bug or a worm I celebrate and cut the little bugger off and throw it out to the chickens - chicken treats!

2 comments:

  1. And I am off to the Longmont, Colo, farmers' market this morning. What a nice post to read while sipping my morning coffee (alas not local) and thinking of how to fill in my garden pickings with the farmers' market fair. I'm missing big plump tomatoes and corn, but not for long!

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  2. Bestway and Deep Roots both carry Homeland Dairy products - no need to go home empty-handed!

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