Thursday, June 23, 2005

Think Globally, Eat Locally

Although I fail miserably 99% of the time, whenever possible, I do try and practice what I preach. I recently joined a Community Supporting Agriculture (CSA) program not to far from my new home. What is a CSA and how does it work? Here's a snippet from my CSA's website:

How it works:
Members join the CSA during the winter and early spring. They pay in advance to provide
Norwich Meadows Farm with starter money to buy plants, pay labor expenses, and get things rolling wihout having to take out a high interest loan. Starting in June, as the crops begin to ripen, through the end of the season in November, our farmer Zaid will deliver weekly shares of his harvest for members to pick up.

Why it's great!
CSA is good for your body, your mind, your taste buds, and your wallet, good for the farmer, the farm, and good for the environment. Forming this kind of partnership cuts all the middlemen -- the farmer gets all of your food dollars as opposed to the huge portion that usually goes to shipping, packaging, advertising, etc., in the traditional food market. You can afford to get fresher, tastier food for less money while supporting a system that keeps small local farms in business using sustainable, earth-friendly, organic growing methods. You know where your food is coming from, who is growing it, and the ways it has been tended, and our farmer gets to know who is enjoying the food he and his family have worked hard to produce. Everyone wins!

I picked up my first share of veggies and fruit last week. The produce varies from week to week depending on the harvest and I never know what I'll get. Not only am I supporting a local, organic farmer, I also eat more veggies, and I keep variety alive in my diet. My bag of goodies included:

Two heads of romaine lettuce
A big head of bok choi
A bunch of white radish
A bunch of bitter greens that I wasn't familiar with but which were very tasty
Two leeks
Three stalks of rhubarb
Several Apples

I got all this for an average price of $10 - A overflowing bag of organic veggies for $10 - that's unheard of in NYC. My bag of goodies was transformed into the following menu items:

The romaine lettuce became the foundation of a HUGE salad
The bok choi found its way into a tasty garlic saute and also into a big homemade pot of soup
The kale and bitter greens also joined the pot of soup, as did the greens from the radishes.
The white radishes were eaten raw as I'm a big radish fan
The leeks joined some eggs, potatoes, and garlic in a nice little omolete
The rhubarbs were peeled, diced, and stocked away in the freezer. I'll transform them into a nice strawberry-rhubarb pie when a baking fit descends upon me
The apples were eaten right away

One veggie share is meant for 1 - 3 individuals and they weren't kidding. In my mad rush to eat through my weekly veggie allotment, I found little time to eat anything else. That's another benefit - I'm eating loads more veggies.

Although the harvest season has started, it may not be to late to join a local CSA. Here's a list of CSAs in NYC. I'm sure a quick google search will turn one up in your local 'hood.

I'm going to try and keep a post of my weekly veggie and fruit share. I think it'll be fun.

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