produce

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!

Keeping Food From the Landfill: ’17 Totals So Far

We are now in the 8th month of the year! Yikes!

And once a month I have been putting my food scraps out by my front door to be picked up by Healthy Soil Compost.

compost bucket7

Before I put it on our stoop in the morning before pickup, I weigh my bucket with a hanging scale and mark down the weight in a spreadsheet (nerd status over here).

Here are the totals from the past few months:

January 15.5 lbs

February 17.22 lbs

March 12 lbs

April 18.74 lbs

May 8.8 lbs

June 20.44 lbs

July 22.84 lbs

So far this year we have diverted 187.66 pounds of organic waste from the landfill!

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.

 

Buying Local: Week 12

It was not a CSA week this week and I eat fruit pretty fast, so I had to run over to the farmers market to get some supplemental fruits (and a giant sweet potato).

peachers

What We Bought:

  • Oberweis milk from family farms around IL and WI
  • Greenridge Farm lunch meat from Elk Grove Village, IL
  • Turano bread from Berwyn, IL
  • S. Rosen French rolls from Chicago, IL
  • Peaches from St. Joseph, MI
  • Blueberries from Marengo, IL
  • Sweet potato from Marengo, IL

CSA4 week 2

What We Learned:

  • I tried the beet smoothie K made last week, unfortunately, I think I used a little too much beet and not enough berries…
  • We got almost got through the rest of our CSA box this week!

 

beet smoothie

So beety.

 

Buying Local: Week 11

K picked up our CSA box this week and he took a page out of my book by bringing a bag to transfer the produce so we don’t have to bring the box home. He also purposefully did not bring any cash to the farmers market so he would not be tempted to make any impulse buys.

 

CSA4

This is K’s attempt at taking a cool artsy picture for me.

 

What We Bought (From the CSA):

  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • New baby yukon potatoes
  • Bok Choi
  • Red Beets
  • Parisian Market Carrots
  • Raspberries
  • Blueberries
  • Summer Squash
  • English Peas

What We Learned:

  • Since we failed on using the beets from the last box, K instantly used some of the gigantic beets we got to make a beet and berry smoothie and absolutely loved it
  • Blueberries and raspberries disappear just way too fast!
  • This may be the first box we actually fully finish!

Buying Local: Week 10

I am back in the workplace now and no longer working from home, so it has been a bit of an adjustment. Unfortunately, I can’t just pop over to Green City Market on a Wednesday unless I go at 7 AM before work.

My biggest challenge right now is incorporating all our produce into my lunches.

CSA3 week 2

What is left from last Saturday’s CSA box

What We Bought:

  • Oberweis milk from family farms around IL and WI
  • S. Rosen bread from Chicago, IL
  • To be honest, I don’t even remember what else (It’s my second week at a new job, give me a break!)

What We Learned:

  • Cherries are not the easiest snack to eat at work, but I do keep all the stems and pits in my glass container to bring home and compost. I’ve been eating them everyday.
  • Did not eat those beets fast enough, into the compost they went

Buying Local: Week 9 & 3rd CSA

Instead of hauling our box home this week, I brought a large canvas bag to transfer my produce into. This way I did not have to take the box back to the farmers market on Wednesday, I just left it with them to reuse again.

That will have to be my new routine because I am no longer going to be working from home anymore (I got a new job!) and can’t just pop over to the Wednesday market whenever I feel like it.

Although that is a bummer, I am excited to pack my lunches again and see what I can do with our produce.

CSA3

What We Bought  (From CSA box):

  • Red Beets
  • Fennel
  • Baby Carrots
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Head lettuce
  • Spigareillo
  • Sugar Snap Peas
  • White onions
  • Raspberries
  • Tart cherries
  • Oberweis milk from family farms around IL and WI
  • Turano bread from Berwyn, IL

What We Learned:

  • K and I both like cherries!
  • We did not eat last weeks radishes fast enough, so into the compost bucket, they went…
  • So far two of my friends (outside of my enviro group of friends) have started composting! I am so thrilled!

Buying Local: Week 8

Just as we started figuring out how to deal with all the leafy greens like spinach and kale (ex: smoothies), their growing season has started to wind down.

We are looking forward to our next CSA box which should include some summer crops of raspberries and carrots.

2nd CSA share week 2

We gobbled up the broccoli, spring onions, spinach, and kale from last week’s box

What We Bought:

  • Oberweis milk from family farms around IL and WI
  • Turano bread from Berwyn, IL
  • Greenridge Farm lunchmeat from Elk Grove Village, IL
  • Greenridge Farm chicken sausage from Elk Grove Village, IL
  • Did do some random shopping at Trader Joes
  • Non-local flour and sugar

What We Learned:

  • The quality of your blender makes a huge difference when making smoothies.
  • Spinach season does not last forever. Thank goodness!
  • We still don’t know what to do with radishes…

You Can Compost More Than Food

Most of the time when we think of what goes into compost, we think of organic food waste and yard clippings.

compost container

While that is entirely correct, there are plenty of other natural items that can be added to your compost pile as well. Here are some other items you may have been tossing into a landfill that are perfectly acceptable to be returned back to the soil.

  • Dry Cereal
  • Bread
  • Crackers & pretzels
  • Pasta, rice, and grains
  • Loose leaf tea
  • Natural fibers (ie. cotton, hemp, silk, wool)
  • Coffee grounds
  • Shredded paper
  • Human and pet hair
  • Sawdust
  • Cardboard
  • Lint from dryer and vacuum
  • Napkins, paper towels, and tissues
  • Wooden chopsticks and popsicle sticks
  • Wood ashes
  • Brown paper bags
  • Old spices
  • Egg shells
  • Expired jams and preserves
  • Nail clippings
  • Cotton balls & cotton swabs (the cardboard kind)

Think of what will actually be left in your trash can! Probably not a lot!

All of this depends on if you are composting at home or using a service. If you have compost collection, your municipality or service will give you exact guidelines of what is and is not allowed.

Below is what my pick up service, Healthy Soil Compost, accepts.

what-to-compost