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Archive for the ‘CSA notes’ Category

CSA tip: Start in the spring

Considering joining Farmers Fresh CSA or another Atlanta CSA program? Now’s the time. Spring is the best season to get used to preparing local produce for one reason:

Salad. (more…)

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Sometimes, you just can’t swing a CSA subscription.

If this is you, consider a different kind of commitment to a local farm and yourself – buying market credit. You can think of market credits as gift certificates you buy for yourself from a farmer. (more…)

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Here’s an explanation of the statements I recently suggested to help people assess their CSA-readiness.

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CSA program turnover is a problem: people get excited about the idea but don’t really know what’s required. So let’s look at the ideal CSA subscriber and see how close you get.

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Heard about the tanning and vegetables study? Basically, if you eat a bunch of vegetables chock-full of carotenoids, you look less pale. And this tanning effect is more attractive than one produced by the sun or booth, according to study participants.

The vegetables named in the article are carrots, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, bell peppers, spinach, kale, and cantaloupe. A little more research shows that beet greens, turnip greens, collards, cabbage, winter squash, and pumpkin also have high levels of beta-carotene. And according to Mother Earth News, the eggs of free-range chickens contain 7 times the beta-carotene of regular eggs. Beta-carotene is what causes the yolks to be that happy neon-orange color.

I’ve definitely been eating my share of greens, carrots, sweet potatoes, winter squash, and eggs lately.

See?

And I think I know what they’re talking about. The effect may be short-lived – only a day or two, but in the mirrors at the gym last week after eating the lunch pictured above, I noticed my skin tone looked more even than normal – like it does with a little sun. (This was at the beginning of a workout. At the end, I looked like a strawberry.) I also remember getting into the bath a couple of weeks ago and thinking my legs looked oddly not pale for the end of January.

I’m one of the paler people on the planet, so the effect may be more obvious on me. But I’m also eating a lot of these vegetables, and the ones I’m eating are more likely to have high amounts of nutrients, having been grown in good soil nearby.

It definitely doesn’t top my reasons for eating more local food, but it doesn’t hurt either!

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Sustainability doesn’t stop at the farm. Joining a CSA is neither sprint nor short-run performance – it’s a lifestyle change. (You’re not doing it just because it’s trendy, right?) Check your dreams of instant local food bliss at the door. There’s simply too much work to be done.

Is your operation sustainable?

It’s a good idea to prepare for this long-term effort by dreaming up and adopting sustainable practices for you and your household. By sustainable, I don’t mean environmentally sound. I’m talking about  careful stewardship of your household’s most valuable resource: your sanity.

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A lot of people think of summertime vegetables when they think of local produce – bright shiny tomatoes, corn, green beans, and more.

But I think fall produce is way yummier: salads, greens, and winter squash. It’s also much more pleasant to “slave over a hot stove” when the days are cooler and the nights are cooler still.

So here are some recent autumnal meals we’ve had with local produce from Farmers’ Fresh. They’re repetitive, but we love them. If you’ve been overwhelmed lately with greens and winter squash, maybe this will provide some inspiration. (more…)

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SOS: Saving Our Stems for lo mein

For lunch today, we had a themed lo mein – stems!

Chopped arugula stems, beet stems, broccoli stems, and garlic

I cooked this with four beautiful CSA eggs, noodles, and Annie Chun marinade. It was delicious, nutritious, and in no way compromised by consisting of veggie parts of lesser charisma.

This dish would have been even nicer with thinly-sliced beef. Next time.

If you need a lo mein recipe, here’s Rachel Ray’s. It calls for hoisin sauce, but could use any stir fry sauce you like (or find on sale). Or you can make your own. This site has some great details on how.

Stems also work with fried rice. If you’re more into fried rice, here’s a good place to start.

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I hab a cold.

For the past couple of days, I’ve been with cold – sneezes, coughing, the works. I’m not sure I had a single cold last year, so I’m out of practice.

If there’s a good part to colds, it’s coming up with new theories of cold-handling while you’re shuffling around all bundled up. A few years ago, I swore by Airborne, the tablet that dissolves in water with lots of herbs to stimulate your immune system.

This year I’m of the mind that stimulating your immune system is like when your boss hires a consultant to help you finish a big project. You don’t need an outsider peddling advice. You need money, manpower, coffee, and pizza. You need tools.

So I decided that my immune system needs only basic tools: fluids, salt, and rest. I’m doing pretty well with the first two.

Fluids are coming almost entirely from lemon verbena tea from Fran. Lemon verbena tea with generous amounts of honey is like a liquid cough drop. Very nice.

Hey, that's a local mug, too, made by Helen Helwig in Carrollton!

Salt comes from ramen noodles. (The extra fluids are a bonus.) Something about hot, salty broth makes me feel better. I dress up regular ramen with a couple of local eggs beaten and then gently stirred in for the last few minutes of simmering.

The results are delicious and fortifying. Of course, if I were awesome, I’d discard the packet and use homemade chicken stock made with local chicken scraps. But I am not awesome and have no stock.

One thing I’m pretty sure of is I caught this cold after consuming entirely too much sugar on Halloween. Lucy sent me home with four iced, sprinkled sugar cookies, and I sat down and ate them all as soon as I got home. First, the rush, then the crash, and a day later, the cold. I don’t think it’s coincidence. Back to good, local produce for me! Or at least only one iced sugar cookie per day.

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Next Saturday, Farmers Fresh is hosting an art exhibition. Turns out many local farmers are also artists!

And even if you’re not all about art, there will be more to do at FarmArt:

  • Impromptu farmers’ market – chat with farmers, buy yummy and interesting stuff!
  • Yoga demonstrations!
  • Other local merchants and their wares!
  • Live music!

And the Farmers’ Fresh store will be open, too. (Hint: stuff’s cheaper at the actual store than it is online. No cost to deliver. So it’s a great chance to stock up on stuff like meat, seafood, cheese, etc.)

So come to downtown Carrollton next Saturday, October 23rd between 8 am and 2 pm.

See you there!

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