fruit

Buying Local: Week 16

We are ALMOST FINISHED WITH AN ENTIRE BOX!!

The cauliflower is on the meal plan for tomorrow, and I eat an apple every day. Now what to do with all those cucumbers?

Sixteen weeks into this journey K has finally figured that we should take a closer look at a more plant-based diet. We shall see where that takes us.

Our CSA box runs through October and it is already time to start thinking about signing up for a fall box that would last through December. It is definitely something to consider!

CSA week 16

What We Bought:

  • Brussel sprouts from Marengo, IL
  • Spring lettuce mix from Marengo, IL
  • Oberweis milk from family farms around IL and WI
  • Turano bread from Berwyn, IL
  • Corn from the Midwest (grocery store was not very specific…)

What We Learned:

  • How to freeze apples, beets, corn, and tomatoes. The apples and beets will be used in smoothies and the tomatoes for sauces.
  • How to blanch tomatoes.
  • K tossed some of the frozen corn into our chicken and bean quesadillas the other night and it was super convenient to have cut up corn on hand.
  • We did end up getting additional corn from the grocery store, but both of us have declared that farmers market corn tastes way better.

Buying Local: Week 15 & 6th CSA

We have really been rolling with our box this week.

K made a tasty veggie ragu Saturday night, then we used the cucumbers in a tangy yogurt sauce Sunday, and we also tried our hand at cooking green beans two different ways.

CSA week 5

We are going to attempt to finally get through an entire box without any of it going to waste. I will keep you updated if we accomplish that. Fingers crossed.

What We Bought:

  • Bell peppers
  • Red thumb potatoes
  • Mix tomatoes
  • Jersey mac and pristine apples
  • Mira sweetcorn
  • Candy onions
  • Newhall Carrots
  • Cauliflower
  • Assorted cucumbers
  • Green Beans
  • Jalepenos

    veggie sauce

    veggie ragu sauce

What We Learned:

  • Thank goodness we have compost because we are creating a lot of food waste when we don’t get to something on time.
  • To use up some of the veggies from the previous week and a couple of the new ones, K made a fantastic red vegetable sauce. We ate some and then froze the rest.
  • You can freeze corn! We got 6 ears of corn in our box so we are going to save a few by cutting the kernels off the cob and freezing it for later.

Buying Local: Week 14

CSA week 4 (2)

We have eaten just a bit of everything so far, but haven’t been able to fully get through any produce from last week’s CSA box. I had a couple beet smoothies and made a big batch of roasted veggies to take for lunch this week. For dinner the other night, K made some omelets with a mish mosh of veggies folded inside.

week 14

As usual, I ate most of the fruit from last week, so popped over to the farmers market to get some more this weekend.

What We Bought:

  • Dozen eggs from Benton Harbor, MI
  • Raspberries from Benton Harbor, MI
  • Blueberries from Bangor, MI

What We Learned:

  • We are getting better at incorporating our produce into basically all of our meals. A piece of my breakfast, lunch, and dinner, can easily have something from our box in it.
  • Basically, any vegetable chopped up and added to an omelet is delicious!

Buying Local: Week 13 & 5th CSA

market saturdays

It was a CSA week this past Saturday and we got a pretty amazing box. My bag was exploding with produce as I lugged it home. It had to be the heaviest one yet!

CSA week 4

What We Bought:

  • Boone Green Beans
  • Cappuccino SweetCorn
  • Yukon Gold Potatoes
  • Pristine apples
  • Cauliflower
  • Red Beets
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Eggplant
  • Green Peppers
  • Napa Cabbage
  • Summer Squash
  • White Onions
  • Oberweis milk from family farms around IL and WI
  • Turano bread from Berwyn, IL

What We Learned:

  • K does not like Napa cabbage. We chopped some up for a slaw with our BBQ chicken tacos and after a taste, he promptly refused to ruin his taco with it.
  • Shelling peas is intensive work and that is why they sat in the back of the fridge until they were finally composted.
happy sunfloer

Besides our CSA box, I picked up a vibrant sunflower at the farmer’s market. She’s so pretty.

 

Starting Tomorrow: Local Food Only

Since making the decision to purchase a CSA share this summer, K and I also decided to take it up a notch.

We figured we were already devoting ourselves to local produce, why not add in locally sourced dairy, meat, and other staples? Since I will have to walk over to the farmers market every week to pick up our share, we might as well grab some eggs and meat too.

How we are defining local:

350 miles from Chicago

local foods map

(Basically, it is about how far a truck can travel in a single day)

What is included:

  • Produce
  • Meat
  • Dairy products & eggs

What is not included:

  • Going out to eat
  • Eating at other people’s homes

Potential Benefits:

  • An increase in vegetable intake
  • A decrease in meat intake
  • A decrease in processed foods
  • A decrease in food packaging, so less waste
  • A decrease in GHG used to transport our food around
  • A decrease in our  waistlines

Potential Costs:

  • $$$$

While our CSA share does not start until June, we are starting when our local farmers market returns outside tomorrow.

HRC telling us how it is on Sesame Street 1993.

 

Can’t Wait for Our CSA Share

Can we just put a CSA share on our wedding registry? Is that not normal?

Either way, I am beyond excited to purchase our first CSA share for this summer.

For those of you that don’t know, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is:

…a food subscription service that allows you to purchase locally and seasonally as part of a farm share. It is a great way to support local farmers. –FamilyFarmed.org

Basically each week (or every other week depending on your share), you pick up your CSA box (or you can have it delivered) that is filled with in-season produce from a local farm.

Whatever you get in your box depends on what is ripe and ready on the farm.

We already know that I am a nerd for maps, but I am also a nerd for Excel spreadsheets. So much so that I set up a spreadsheet to help decide which CSA we should pick for this summer.

csa

The factors that are going to go into our decision include:

  • Price
  • Time frame (how many weeks?)
  • Add-ons (can we add fruit or eggs?)
  • Pick up location (can we walk there?)

While there are many CSA options throughout the city, we are limiting our scope to ones that we can pick up from the nearby Green City Market.

green-city-logo

A CSA may seem expensive up front, but when you spread it out over the course of 22 weeks, it is really not that bad. Plus, you know exactly where your food is coming from and create a connection with that farmer.

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CSA Resources: