In almost every town across the country a tiny farm with hard-working folks, beautiful sights, cute fuzzy farm animals, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables can be found. And on many of these farms they participate in a community supported agriculture (CSA). If you have not ever tried one, now is the time. If you have…well you probably will nod your head and smile in agreement to this post.
Trying to eat locally can be daunting. It feels like your food budget can not possibly be spread that thin. You have kids! Your significant other eats too much! Everyone is too picky! While some of these excuses are quite reasonable (if no one will eat the food why get it?), others just don’t cut it. I have bought full and half shares at three different CSA’s in three different states. Each farm does things their own way, and never am I disappointed. Yes, sometimes swiss chard and collards gets well…boring. Sometimes you just can’t think of another use for red cabbage. But, you do. And you eat it. And guess what? It is usually really good. I mean who would have thought cabbage soup would be so absolutely delicious. Not me! But I can now say that Ribollita is one of my most treasured recipes. Someday I will share that one.
You learn to adapt to the seasonal way of eating. When at the market you notice things that just don’t seem right. You start to really contemplate your family’s addiction to things like…bananas or mango. While these fruits are examples of mother earth’s perfection they truly are not meant to me eaten this way. It makes no sense. Besides, they taste better at the source I have heard.
Then comes spring and the asparagus! And the seasonal greens become lettuces, and beets turn into berries and your taste buds welcome and cherish every second of it. It is exciting to eat. It is exciting to see what you get next. Your meal planning revolves around the season just the way it should. It is extraordinary, I am telling you the truth.
And for the money? Well, I am the budget queen. Well maybe not the queen but at least a lady in waiting or something of that stature. I most often stick to $100 per week for my tiny family. Although we eat meat rarely, I do roast a chicken most weeks and pick it to the bone. (Well, that is lee’s job I hate picking chicken) I make a stock as well and can usually make that chicken last for 3 meals. I even toss a bone to the baby for those sore gums…does that make me a redneck? Perhaps. Otherwise it is lots of rice, lots of eggs, lots of grains, and of course lots of fresh crunchy vegetables. On that kind of budget you can’t buy too much snack-y food, which is a good thing if you stay home all day, because believe me you- I would eat every last morsel. Helps the wallet and your waistline if you just make it yourself.
Well, I will step off my soap box.