Wednesday, July 7, 2010

It Ain't Easy Being Green: Step One Toward a Greener Kitchen

Wednesday has quickly become my favorite day of the week.
And not merely because reaching Wednesday means we're halfway to the weekend.
Nope. I love Wednesday because that's the day I get my box of fresh organic produce from the Riverview Farms CSA program. 
It's so thrilling to know I'm supporting a local farm and farm family while doing something good for the Earth. Better than that is getting a bounty of superfresh, from-the-farm, dirt still clinging to them, delicious veggies, some of which I would never buy if left to my own devices, not because they're not delicious but because of my fear of cooking vegetables I've never cooked before.
I picked up my first box last week, coming to the game a bit late. I have wanted to participate in a CSA for some time, but hesitated because of the upfront cost. After reading Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, and watching Food, Inc.,

I decided that I had to just stop dabbling with feeding my family in a more conscious manner and really commit to it. 

We had already eliminated almost all high-fructose corn syrup and Nutrasweet. Giving up Diet Coke was a major sacrifice since Scott and I were both kind of addicted to the stuff. And giving up HFCS has meant thoroughly reading every single label and much to my children's dismay giving up much-loved breakfast cereals in favor of healthier choices. 

Joining a CSA just seemed like a good choice for us. And at just $25 a week for a huge box of organic, locally-grown veggies and fruit, it's also kind of a bargain. 

Just look at the photos here to see what last week's box contained: okra, green beans, zephyr squash, cucumbers, six ears of corn, over a quart of the sweetest blueberries I've ever tasted, two huge heads of garlic, a mix of new red and Yukon Gold potatoes, tomatoes, and fresh basil. 

I have no doubt that I had bought the same amount of organic produce at Whole Foods or in the organic section of my grocery, I would have paid well over $25 for the lot. Organic blueberries alone are $5 a pint and I can't say that I've ever even seen organic okra at either of those places. 

And even though my first thought with the okra was yuck!, I managed to find a way to cook them that was truly delicious and opened my mind to how good it could really be.

I can't wait to see what today's bounty holds and what new recipes I'll get to try as a result. I'm hoping there will be zucchini that I can use with the remainder of the corn to make a corn and zucchini salad. 

I'm also hoping for more of those crazy good blueberries.

But we'll see. That's part of the joy and excitement of belonging to CSA. There are few truly fun and good surprises left in life and for me, opening that box to see what natural bounty lies in store for me and my family is one of them.

As I work toward creating a greener kitchen, and a happier home, this is one easy change to make. And hopefully, just one of many that will result in a happier and healthier family and also make our Earth just a wee bit happier and healthier, too.