Community Supported Agriculture and Stuff

Friends. Romans. Countrymen. Anyone who's actually reading this blog. I've done you a disservice by disappearing for quite such a long time. Not to worry (if you were)! I've been taking photos of all the crazy food that I've been making, so there's a definite backlog of recipes and food items I have here to work through.

A lot has happened since last we met. But the most important thing of all (culinarily-speaking, of course) has been absolutely REVOLUTIONARY.

Friends, I've signed up for a CSA.

CSA, if you haven't heard of it yet, is a Community Supported Agriculture program, where farmers put their food together into shares that you pick up and take home with you. It's like if the Bacon-of-the-Month Club were the Giant-Produce-Box-of-the-Week Club. And I do mean giant. I subscribed for the half-share, since it's just me and my itsy-bitsy kitchen, and each picture you see here is one week's half-share.

Because it's just me, I've had to get sorta creative to make sure that I use all the vegetables (and fruit! Sometimes I get fruit!) before they go bad on me. Usually this means dinner parties- I like cooking for other people a lot. But sometimes there's just loads of leftovers. Lately, with the summer fruit flies slipping their way in through my ancient screen windows, I've had to keep everything in the fridge, with the exception of the bananas, which get nasty and black if you put them in the fridge. Those guys hang out in my freezer. They make awesome smoothies, since you don't need ice! (Another post on that later.)

I've signed up with Farmer Tom's CSA here in Chicago (and if you're out here, you should totally check it out). As much as they can, they provide local and organic vegetables, but sometimes it's one or the other. Which has been pretty important to me lately, after watching movies like Food Inc. and reading An Omnivore's Dilemma. Switching to a diet of mostly plants (and taking a care to focus on organic and local, since I'm trying to help support farmers that practice sustainable farming as well as doing the best for my stomach- the less pesticides the better, amigos) has done a lot for my health, including a bit of healthy weight-loss.

Sometimes the best thing about the CSA has been getting things that I have absolutely no idea what to do with. Surprising vegetables (like fennel, which I had never had outside of a restaurant before) that meant some research (thank you, Tastespotting!) and some experimentation- some of which didn't work out quite like I wanted it to...

All in all, this has been a great program, and definitely it's meant that I've been getting a lot more of those recommended servings of vegetables and fruits. Plus they're lovely photo ops, as you can see below:

Anybody out there have any experiences with a CSA they'd like to share? It's been marvelous for me so far- hope it's going well for all y'all too!

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