Adventures in CSA

It has become appalling clear to me in recent weeks that I don’t eat enough vegetables. Some time in May I got talked into buying a portion of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share for summer along with a couple of neighbors and my then roommate. I thought it would be a good idea for three reasons:

1. I (a normally meat and potatoes type girl) would be forced to eat more vegetables.

2. I would feel good about supporting small farms and do my little bit to support more sustainable  and organic forms of agriculture.

3. I would save money.

My shameful confessions start now. The first week I picked up the CSA share from our neighborhood butcher, I was so overwhelmed by the weight and quantity of it all that after I dropped off the vegetables at home and dutifully split the vegetables up for the neighbors I walked down to the corner and got a 2 piece meal at Popeyes with french fries and a large soda. I couldn’t identify half of the vegetables in my refrigerator and quickly realized my vegetable prep knowledge was limited to raw, steamed, roasted, or grilled.

My second confession is that I volunteer to pick up the vegetables on Mondays so that I can pawn off more of the share to my neighbors. I deny this vehemently when accused. I can’t eat a quarter share of vegetables people! I’m inexperienced as a vegetable preparer and eater. Vegetables as I have known them up until recently have served as a side dish, nay a garnish to a big steak or  rack of ribs.

Third (and final)confession is that I have thrown out SO many of the vegetables. My hope in signing up for this was that I’d cook at home a lot more rather than eating out. The thing I didn’t account for was where I was going to get the time to do all of this cooking. I tend to do most of my going out during the week so many days I don’t even get home until around 10:30 and by then I’ve already eaten and the last thing I’m thinking about is cooking vegetables.

I was starting to get rather hopeless and was ready to just put this in the things I failed at category but last week I ATE ALL MY VEGETABLES!!! The even crazier thing was that I actually enjoyed it. Somehow after all these weeks of stress and plotting and planning my menu for the week I have figured out how to incorporate vegetables in my life! There is hope for everyone. So I thought in the remaining month or so of my CSA I’d document the things I’ve been cooking and the new veggies I’ve discovered. I tried this Velvet Lemon Ginger Chicken w/ Snap Peas recipe last night (thanks Pinterest), and it was a real winner.

Lastly I just want to mention Lancaster Fresh Farm Cooperative who supplies my vegetables, fruit, and eggs every week (they do cheese, flower and hog shares too) and Harlem Shambles who provide me with the steak that accompanies my vegetables and kindly offers their shop as a pick up point for my CSA share.

F. Scott

I was listening to this podcast back in April and one of the commentators mentioned the reading project she was embarking on which was to finally read the books that she’s only faked reading. I thought this was a brilliant idea, and decided I would make that my summer reading project. First book on the list was the Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald. It somehow was not part of my required reading in high school so it left a gaping hole in my literary knowledge. I finished it this past Saturday and loved it. I enjoyed it so much that I picked up a collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s letters. I’m fascinated by his marriage to Zelda and was eager to read some of his letters to her. I was delighted to find that the first letter was to his younger sister, with some wise brotherly advice like:

– (on general conversation) Always pay close attention to the man. Look at him in his eyes if possible. Never effect boredom. It’s terribly hard to do it gracefully. Learn to be worldly. Remember in all society nine girls out of ten marry for money and nine men out of ten are fools.

– (on expression) A good smile and one that could be assumed at will, is an absolute necessity. You smile on one side which is absolutely wrong. Get before a mirror and practise a smile and get a good one, a radiant smile ought to be in the facial vocabulary of every girl. Practise it – on girls, on the family. Practise doing it when you don’t feel happy and when you’re bored. When you’re embarrassed, when you’re at a disadvantage. That’s when you’ll have to use it in society and when you’ve practised a thing in calm, then only are you sure of it as a good weapon in tight places.

– (on dress) I’ll line up your good points against your bad physically: Good – Hair, good general size, good features; Bad – Teeth only fair, pale complexion, only fair figure, large hands and feet.

– General summing up: (1) dress scrupulously neatly and then forget your personal appearance. Every stocking should be pulled up to the last wrinkle (2) Don’t wear things like that fussy hat that aren’t becoming to you – At least buy no more. Take someone who knows with you- someone who really knows. (3) Conform to your type no matter what looks well in the store (4) Cultivate deliberate physical grace. You’ll never have it if you don’t. I’ll discuss dancing in a latter letter.

Wasn’t that great? Great authors are keen observers. I found it endearing that he would take the time to pen an instructional note to his little sis, even if it was totally cringe-worthy. If you’re interested the book of letters is:

Next on the reading list is either Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust or Middlemarch by George Eliot.