Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Farmer in My Kitchen

On Saturday, we received our first farm share from the CSA Farm that we joined (Ohana Farms in Coldwater, MS). Rather than spending $25 on produce each week from Easy Way (much of which comes from far far away places), we decided to put our funds towards a local farmer and reap the benefits of his family’s hard work. And of course, we want to support local agricultural instead of the giant industrial farms that strip the land and use who know what kinds of chemical on our food.

Our booty this week was, well, somewhat limited. Our famer explained that last year, they were eating ripe tomatoes on June 1. This year, because the weather in our region until recently has been cool and rainy, most farms in the area are suffering a bit. Instead of gorgeous juicy red tomatoes, we got turnips and kale. My 6 year old self is saying, “Ick! Turnips and kale? Gross!” [Note: I really do like turnips and kale, but my excitement over the CSA and its possibilities made me revert to my 6 year-old mindset.]

Initially, I was terribly disappointed and even wanted to get a little annoyed with my decision to join the CSA. We paid good money and this is what I get? But then I realized why I wanted to do it in the first place. I want to support the local guy. I want to eat what’s fresh and available instead of expecting plump juicy peaches to magically appear in my kitchen. I wanted to change my food philosophy and habits in hopes to help the environment and better nurture my family. So, I took sour lemons and made lemonade. Barbara Kingsolver would be so proud.

I decided to pull out an old cookbook I bought several years ago when we were living in Rochester and enjoying the city’s weekly (and wonderful) public market. This book, Local Flavors, is one from which I have never really cooked. Surprisingly, it is also mentioned in Barbara Kingsolver’s Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. It’s like I was meant to eat this way. I first looked up turnips and found a delicious recipe for a Turnip Potage. When I told my mother the name of the recipe, she said, “Gross.” But it is actually quite delicious. It’s basically a turnip, potato and leek soup (the potatoes and leeks provided by my local Easy Way). I am pleased to say that even my picky eater, Charlie, enjoyed drinking down a cup.

My next challenge was to find something palatable for the kale. I wanted a meal, not just a side dish, so I opted for a dish of Kale, Beans, Cilantro and Feta (I also threw in the greens from the turnips). When I told my husband the name of the recipe, he said, “Gross.” Again, though, the recipe is really tasty. The cilantro and feta give it a unique twist and after eating a bowl of it last night, I was stuffed. It’s amazing what real food can do for you! Charlie ate a few of the beans but was not too thrilled about the kale. I’ll keep working on him, though!

So here’s to a successful first week of being a part of a CSA. So far, I am pleased with my choice to take part in the partnership, and I especially look forward to seeing what is to come this summer! Now, if I could just break my pregnancy guilty pleasure from the organic ice cream sandwiches that make their way to my freezer all the way from Eugene, Oregon…


Stacey Greenberg said...

way to go!

warren sautes kale with onion and soy sauce (i think) and it is yummy. satchel gobbles it up. (jiro abstains!)

Kerry said...

congrats! You are inspiring me! Check out cookinglight.com, they have a recipie finder that you can put in one ingredient and it will give you a bunch of choices on what to do with it!

Kerry (steph's friend from Rhodes (formerly))

Cheapo Mimi in Nashville said...

Hey Cathy,

I don't usually have the time to peruse my kids' friends' blogs (although I do occasionally look at the pics of all the beautiful kids) but I just happened to catch your post on your CSA experience. We've done it three years here in BNA (with two different vendors) and, as I am not much of a greens lover, I have to say you need to kind of hang tough for the first month or so until the summer veggies start coming in. And if I could, I would move to rural SW VA and become a AVM apostle. That book is awesome! It's like a grad course on food and animal production in the US and it is, by and large, not a pretty thing, is it? Bwana made some amazing Tuscan braised kale last weekend that I am still dreaming about . . .