Monday, October 18, 2010

Veggies! Get 'em while they're...Crisp.

Never trust the Man, man. Unless he's wearing overalls and a big straw hat.

One of my favorite and delicious choices I've made in this fine city was joining a CSA. While paying up front for six months of groceries was hard to swallow, it's more than paid for itself both in quality of food and in what I've learned (been semi-forced) to cook.

Every Wednesday, my friend Lizzie and I split a share of fresh fruits and vegetables from local NY/NJ farms, which is delivered directly to our office.

It reminds me of a grab bag (aptly titled The Bag - Jamie, you know what I'm talking about) full of jewelry, which you don't get to open until you purchase. While living in Ann Arbor, my roommates and I shared one CSA with another house (meaning it was essentially split six ways), but ironically, we rarely finished it. Reminds me a little of the bystander effect, if you think of vegetables as desperately wanting to be eaten, which I generally do.

Having ownership of an entire half has caused me to step up to the (dinner) plate, and up my cruciferous game. No two weeks have been the same, and I can honestly say I wouldn't ever have bought on my own:

fresh dill, parsley, thyme
swiss chard/kale
leeks
radish
to name a few.

It's kept me on track to eating well every week, since it comes automatically and doesn't require a trip to the grocery store. Obviously, living in a food capital like this one, it's easy to eat out and spend little time in the kitchen, which I find incredibly soothing (I really hate identifying with gender stereotypes, but I seriously love to cook. Give me an apron and pie recipe, and I'm set.) I probably end up shopping even more to make complete meals with seemingly random vegetables, but it's so worth it.

I've only had two issues with the CSA, since the rest has been bliss:

1. It's awkward bringing a bag o' groceries with you to bars and happy hours. Be prepared to be called 'Farmer Cathlin' by friends.
2. The peaches. They just haven't been rave-worthy this season. It wouldn't be a big deal if it weren't for the free, amazingly succulent peaches we have at work...mere feet away from where our food is delivered. I know this makes me a bitch for complaining about this, but there it is. I'm impressed with local peaches.

Lesson #35 in moving to a big city: Join a CSA! Or at the least, vow to shop weekly at a Farmer's Market if you're not ready for CSA type commitment. Not only will this help you feel more connected to local farms and your community, but you'll cook more adventurously and often. My only regret was taking so long to join to get in on the action.

So now, I leave you to chew on this thought:

"Sex is good, but not as good as fresh, sweet corn." - Garrison Keillor.