Monday, June 29, 2009

Week 2 CSA Summary & Review

Bean Salad Before Mixing

Here is what I actually did with Week 2's share.

As you recall, week 2 had:
Strawberries (2 quarts) - Cut them up and ate them for dessert
Kale - Made this Bean & Kale Soup
Parsley - Used it in the Bean & Kale Soup above and in the tomato & bean salad pictured above.
Lettuce (2 bags) - Made 2 strawberry salads (we picked the strawberries, they weren't from the CSA) and 2 salads topped with the bean & tomato salad.
Garlic Scapes - Made the bean & scape dip. I also added them to the tomato & bean salads.

It's only been a week, but I've already noticed a couple of changes:

1) I don't default to baking. Normally whenever I had to bring something somewhere, I bake something. Since I had loads of lettuce to use, I brought strawberry salads. It was nice to be bringing something that was healthy and fresh.
2) Diversity at Dinnertime. Normally I cook a main meal and veggie, but since we had all the lettuce, it was nice to have a fresh salad with our meals this week.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Garlic Scapes & White Bean Dip

This week, one of the items we got in our share was garlic scapes.

Garlic Scapes

The farm sent out an email with this article about scapes from the NYT. One of the recipes was for a White Bean and Garlic Scapes Dip that I decided to try.

The recipe called for canned beans, but I find the flavor and texture much better when I cook the beans myself. For this reason I got a Pressure Cooker a couple of months ago so I can cook dried beans when I need to without pre-soaking them. If you are wondering about the oil, my Pressure Perfect Cookbook said that beans foam a lot and that you need to stop this by adding oil. So that is what I do. Here are the beans ready to be cooked:

White Beans Ready for Pressure Cooker

And here they are cooking:

The next step was pretty easy, just put the scapes, lemon juice, salt and pepper in the food processor and blend it up:

Ready to blend up the Scapes

Scapes in the food processor

Then put the beans in the food processor, add some water and olive oil until you reach a consistency you are happy with and then you have this beautiful and tasty dip:

White Bean & Garlic Scapes Dip

For lunch I spread the dip on our sandwiches and added a little parlsy, cheese and salami.

For dinner we had it with some Whole Wheat Melba toast crackers.

I think the Melissa Clark, the author of the original recipe, had it right when she descripted the taste of scapes as "a gently spicy undertone and an exquisitely fresh green, mellow taste."

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Strawberries, originally uploaded by HiMalta.

The strawberries, all cut up and ready to be eaten for dessert tonight..

We got two quarts in our share today, I prepared one for dessert, but we all liked them so much that I cut the next one up too. Not too worried about going through them all at once because we are going to go Strawberry picking on Friday at another farm.

With all of the strawberries that will be making their way into my house, I've got my eye on two kitchen gadgets (an extreme weakness of mine).

This strawberry slicer & Strawberry huller. Necessary? No. Fun? Yes!!!

2nd Maple Creek Farm CSA Share

Today was my first pickup date for the CSA Share (the 2nd for those who signed up on time).

Above you will see the boxes that we get each week. I bring my own bags, so I put everything in my bag, break down the box and the farm picks it up to reuse it next week.

There is something kind of liberating about picking up my product and then deciding what I will make with it for the week rather than choosing what to make and then going to the grocery store.

Below you can see what was included in the share. There isn't a ton, but the kids will love the strawberries, and my husband and I will eat the lettuce for lunches through the week. You can click through to the picture on Flickr to see the notes I made on the picture. I know from my 2006 membership that the bounty increases as we get further into the season.

One noticable difference that I always notice right away is the smell. The food smells wonderful and fresh!

So far my plans for this share include:

  • Scape Bean Dip. The farm sent a link to a NYT article on garlic scapes, and I am going to try and make this scape bean dip from that article. Can't wait to try it, I'll share the process/results here.
  • Cut up the strawberries for dessert and mabye make some strawberry ice cream.
  • Salads for lunch for the lettuce
  • Bean & Kale soup for the Kale
  • I think I should have enough scapes left to make a cold white bean, garlic scales, tomato and caper salad. Probablly would taste good over the lettuce for lunch.
  • I've got to figure out what that little bundle of stuff is so I can figure out what to do with it.

Week 2 Maple Creek Farm CSA 2009

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Pantry Commentary

Pantry Commentary, originally uploaded by HiMalta.

Here is a photo I took today of my pantry. Click on the picture to go to Flickr and see the tagged/commented area notes.

Why Eat Michigan Organic Food

Today I came across the Eating Oragnically Guide (pdf) from the Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance. It was a nice guide on organic sources of food. Below I have posted a few excepts that I thought provided good summaries on why you should eat organic and how to start eating organic.

Why you should eat Michigan Organic Food:

1. Freshness & Taste. Locally-grown fruits and vegetables are usually harvested within 24 hours of being purchased. Local Farmers grow and raise foods for their taste and nutrition, not for durability in harvest, shipping or storage.

2. Nutrition. Nutritional value declines as time passes after harvest. Because locally-grown food is fresh, it is more nutritionally complete. Studies indicate that organically grown produce has more of certain nutrients.

3. Cost. Our globalized food system produces cheap food, but it costs more than you think. We all pay the price when Farmers can’t grow crops at a profit, when water wells are contaminated by agricultural chemicals, and when store-bought foods look good, but are tasteless. When you buy local, organic foods, you get more for your money.

4. Avoid the Unknown. Produce grown with banned pesticides is imported into the United States. Meat may come from animals raised in confinement and fed hormones or antibiotics. Organic foods are produced and processed under special standards. Organically-raised animals have outdoor access and don’t get antibiotics or hormones. Organic crops are grown without the use of toxic chemicals and without GMOs.

5. Regional Food Self-Reliance. Dependence on distant and global food sources leaves us vulnerable to supply disruptions. When you buy foods from local Farmers , you create a relationship of mutual support that enhances a community’s economic vitality, and keeps family farms alive.

6. Protect the Environment and your Health. Farming with pesticides and synthetic fertilizers can cause water pollution, and leave unwanted pesticide residues on the food we feed our families. You can protect our natural resources, your health

I also found their Eater's Pledge to be a good place for most people to start:
  • Spend at least 10% or $10 of my weekly food budget on locally grown and made organic foods and/or those carrying the Michigan Farmers Pledge.
  • Buy food directly from local farms that are either certified organic or have signed the Michigan Farmers Pledge as often as possible.
  • Choose local organic or Farmer’s Pledge foods when possible and other local foods when those are not available.
  • Learn to eat seasonally, enjoying fruits and vegetables at their proper time.
  • Encourage locally owned food businesses to buy local organic and farmers pledge products and patronize them when they do.\
  • Try at least one new locally grown fruit or vegetable each week.
  • Preserve fresh seasonal foods to enjoy later in the year (freeze, can, dehydrate).
  • Plan at least one meal each week featuring local organic or farmers pledge foods for family, friends or neighbors.
  • Choose regionally grown/produced and/or fair trade foods when organic or farmers pledge local foods are not available.
If you are looking to start buying at least a few organic items per week, I found the local harvest website a great place to start when looking for places to get organically grown local food.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Organic CSA Membership Blogging

I am super excited to begin my CSA blogging journey. Today I joined the Maple Creek Farm CSA an Organic Michigan Farm in Yale, Michigan.

My plan over the couse of the next 19 weeks is to share my share with you. I will post what I did with the share for the week, photos of each share and any videos of what I think may be helpful. I hope to document my experience for others who may be wondering what a CSA is all about.

This is not my first time participating in this CSA. I was also a member in 2006. The next two years I considered joining again, but I knew that with expecting a baby ('07) and then having a baby ('08) I wouldn't have the time to devote to using all of my share. Now that my kids are 4 and 2 and life is getting easier, it is time to try it again.

Wednesday is my first delivery. Can't wait.

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