Posts Tagged ‘CSA’

Summer Yum

Summer is in full swing, we have more tomatoes and blueberries than we can eat (and keep getting more via the CSA), and the heat is still oppressive, especially midday. Still, there are signs that autumn is on its way.

There are green muscadines popping up on wild wines throughout the forest. I’m looking forward to hiding in the shade to pick them in a few weeks. If my dandelion wine turns out well, I may try a batch of muscadine wine this fall.

For some reason, it seems that our area had a rather poor yield of eggplant this year. None of our neighbors had any that yielded, and I’ve found surprisingly few that have filtered through the CSA. Still we’ve had few, and with the bounty of tomatoes we’ve had, eggplant parmesan in an ample pool of marinara has been a good meal choice for us after a long, hot day of clearing brush and debris.

If all goes as planned, the site will be cleared and ready to start on by this fall. I’m hoping to have building permit in hand and the ability to pour the slab after high temperatures start to edge down closer to the low 80’s every day. Given that the site of our future home was used as a glorified dump site for construction leftovers and broken machinery for the last 20 something years and the floods last year gave everything a good tossing around, this is going to be no small task. For now, it’s just one step at a time, some praying that the road won’t be long, and lots of salad and cold soup to cool off and re-energize after a round of people vs. the insane mess that people are capable of leaving behind them.

Playing Catch Up

Yesterday was CSA pick up day, and I realized that I never posted last week’s CSA contents. Mellie has been ready for a nap right after getting home both weeks, so neither box has been photographed before being put away. In any case, the last two weeks have included radishes, strawberries, spinach, oyster mushrooms, lettuce, onions (green last week, sweet yellow this week), sugar peas, beets and green beans.

Out of our own garden we’re also getting radishes now. The first eggplants of the year are visible of the plants now too! I love eggplant so much and am really looking forward to these.

I haven’t been giving the garden the love and attention it deserves lately in favor of other projects (though I spent a good portion of yesterday catching up on weeding, thinning and moving seedlings, and laying out some fresh mulch). I’ve been finishing up half finished sewing projects (I had a box full of them) so I can start some new ones.

I have a bunch of fleece remnants I’ve been collecting that I’d like to turn into a small horde of plushies, some for gifts and others for sale. I keep my fabric scraps to reuse as stuffing, and I’ve accrued enough that it’s really time to use some.

I also got word yesterday that there is a Dwarf Nigerian doeling available for us to reserve from Flights of Fancy Farm (dam: Indy, sire: Koda)! I was hoping to get a pair of does, but we’re going to get a pet wether to keep her company instead.

She will be our first dairy goat. No name yet, but I think she looks like a “Violet”. We need to do a little more work to get every thing ready for her, but there is time. She’ll be staying with her mama for a few more weeks until she is weaned. I can’t wait to have her join our little setup here. In addition to being super cute, she will give us milk and manure in trade for a little space, hay, and grain.

CSA: Week 2

It’s our second week with Farmer’s Fresh CSA. I added a couple of extra goodies to our order this week, but pretty much what you see pictured is what was included.

This week we got:

  • Wild caught Georgia shrimp (I think it may be from the same people I used to buy from in Savannah)
  • Goats milk soap with oatmeal, no scents and no dyes
  • Herbal tea
  • Two dozen free range chicken eggs
  • Mixed bean sprouts
  • Oyster mushrooms
  • Spinach
  • Frisee lettuce
  • Kale
  • Celery
  • Strawberries
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Radishes

I fixed a quick salad with the remainder of last week’s butter lettuce, plus some of the the frisee, grape tomatoes, and some of the been sprouts. It was simple, but light and perfect on a long, hot day.

I also went ahead and made the tea (a lemon thyme based blend that was supposed to help with allergies, not sure if it did, but it tasted good), which was surprisingly good over ice.

If it’s not too hot tomorrow, I think I may make gumbo with the shrimp and some of the leftovers from last week. Mmmm….

Growing Bellies and Baby Plants

The garden is coming along well. The rain gave it an amazing boost. Some of our plants have had growth spurts so drastic, it’s a wonder we didn’t see them growing.

I’m looking forward to the first meal we get to have entirely from the garden. For now we’ll be eating some of the goodies from our new CSA membership. I stumbled across this one recently and am very pleased with the first delivery. It’s a group of small farms instead of a single farm, so the variety is awesome. Our first box contained¬† locally grown carrots, lettuce, cabbage, coriander, fresh herbal tea mix, apple mint, strawberries, kale, spinach, and leek, local raw wildflower honey, cornmeal, grits, and pancake mix from local farms and mills, locally roasted fair trade sumatran coffee, a baggie of roasted nuts seasoned with rosemary, and a tiny loaf of cranberry nut bread. Since it was our first delivery from them, it also came with a cookbook and a reusable bag.

I’m not thrilled with the fact that everything comes bagged in plastic though. There must be some way to get around that. That said, it’s still a world of improvement over a trip to Kroger.

On a non-food related note, I had the pleasure of doing a belly henna design yesterday on an expectant mama who had a general idea of what she wanted (grapevines) and let me just run with it from there. I love being able to just freehand things with the henna. I’m thrilled with how it turned out!

I had a bunch of henna left over (I mixed up a good deal since I didn’t know what design she was going to want), so I decided to do a little work on myself. I managed to get some time to let it sit and dry (thank you Calvin!), but eventually the need to do things other than sit playing cards became too great, and that time ran out. I got a pretty decent stain out of it for only having it on for a couple of hours though. A couple of spots the design got sort of rough, but I’m trying not to worry about it too much. The soles of your own feet aren’t the easiest places to reach while maintaining control over the application.

Green vs. Sustainable

This is another post with more typing than pictures. More baby photos and images of spring again soon, but not right now.

I was asked by a Facebook friend why my last post mentioned sustainability, but not the green movement. To be honest, it’s pretty simply because I feel they’re two different (though admittedly related) things, but I’m just not all that interested in the green movement.

Don’t get me wrong, I think people being more conscious of their impact on the environment is a good thing. That said, I think the green trend in its current state has a tendency to be counter-productive. Exorbitantly priced supermarket organic fare, chemical cleaners in plastic spray bottles marketed as being “green” with a price tag inflation riding along with that earth shaped sticker, and alternative fuel source cars that can cost enough to buy a small house… what part of that is expected to be appealing to your average family? The movement, I’m sure, springs from nobler roots, but the current trend seems to be in the direction of using the idea of “going green” as a marketing technique to sell us things we don’t need or to jack up the price on things we do.

The approach I prefer is a little different. I like the term “sustainable living”, but like so many other environmental buzz words, what, exactly, that entails may vary depending on who you talk to. To me it is a matter of saving “recycle” and “reuse” for when you absolutely can’t simply “reduce”.¬† I find it amazing how many things we just do not need, but buy anyways, almost out of habit. We have been convinced that we do need them, and over time it seems to become comforting that we have all of these things that we “need”. I don’t believe that the whole world should live only with the most basic food, water and shelter necessities of life. The unnecessary “needs” I refer to are things like the wall clock by my desk that I “needed” to tell the time, when in fact the batteries haven’t been changed in, literally, years because I always check the time with my computer clock or cell phone.

The idea of a sustainable approach that I favor is something I truly believe anyone can get behind and benefit from. The basic concept is simple: live better on less. There are simple ways to do this that are surprisingly easy on the wallet. For starters, don’t buy on impulse. Sure, the store display makes it look like something everyone should have, but will it really get used more than a time or two? If you look around your home, how many of these buys are there lurking in the backs of cabinets or bottoms of drawers? Maybe you didn’t even unpack them after the last time you moved. Without those things, how much money might you have saved, and how much less clutter might your home have?

Then there is the issue of the recurring purchases. Almost everything your average, American, middle class family is expected to buy every month can be simplified. Most of the occurrences we buy disposable items for can be addressed with non-disposable things with ease, especially if a household has a washer, dryer and dishwasher. Paper towels and other wipes can be replaced with dishcloths, tissues with handkerchiefs, plastic bags and throwaway tupperware with glass jars and other reusable containers, etc. If the environment is a concern that has to come well after making ends meet for your family, consider the savings you would incur if you didn’t have to buy all of those things over and over again each week.

You know all those super expensive “natural” cleaning products? Here’s the not so dirty secret to how they work: the vast majority of household cleaning can be done with baking soda or vinegar and a fraction of the cost. Worried about germs? Vinegar is anti-bacterial and is far more human friendly than bleach, not to mention it breaks down pet smells that your average drug store cleaner can actually chemically burn into a surface. As the mother of a budding toddler I’m also a big fan of this approach for the simple reason that fewer toxic chemicals in my cabinet are less potential trips to the ER.

Then there is food. Fast food is cheap, quick and generally accepted to be tasty. You don’t have to know how to cook or spend time doing so. It also runs up a tab in unexpected ways. We all know that fast food is related to obesity, and you’ve probably heard about the effects on heart health, and maybe even recent research suggesting a link to breast cancer. Medical costs take time to show up though, and American culture is very oriented on right now. So let’s look at right now. Right now, the price of a single organic eggplant at the supermarket could easily cost you the same as a small bag full of hamburgers. That’s just sad, but even with that being true, less processed food tends to fill you up faster and keep you full longer resulting in less food being needed.

It’s time to get out of the chain grocery store and get closer to the source, where you’re not paying to have things shipped from Chile, driven across the country, and displayed in spaces with astronomically high commercial real estate rent. Try your local farmer’s market or community supported agriculture (CSA) program. You can find a CSA in your area on LocalHarvest.org. Most offer organic, or mostly organic produce at prices well below what you’d pay at the grocery store. Some even offer other products and services, including meat, dairy items, bread, eggs, honey, soap and other beauty products, and home delivery.¬† I’m a huge proponent of growing your own food, but if that’s not practical for your life, then I would consider this to be the next best option. It’s less wasted fuel in the transportation, less wasted electricity in the storage, and less wasted money on your part in not having to pay for those things.