Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Veggies - here we come!
Being “wild” about eating my vegetables is a fairly new experience for me. Knowing how to prepare vegetables so that they are tasty is even a more recent experience. While I enjoy most raw vegetables, cooking and serving them for a meal is a whole different story. After moving to Indiana seven years ago, and having access to locally grown organic produce, I appreciate the fact that it seems to taste 100 percent better than canned, frozen or trucked-in varieties.
Tomatoes are an excellent example. I’ve compared hot house or similar tomatoes from the grocery store to vine-ripened, pesticide-free heirloom tomatoes and the taste difference is amazing. The color difference is amazing. The naturally grown tomato is wonderfully tasty and juicy.
In a recent farming experience at the University of California, researchers found that “organically grown tomatoes are richer in certain kinds of flavonoids (antioxidants) than conventionally grown tomatoes.” Tasting is believing, for sure! Read more of the story here.
I like to know where and how my food is grown. “Organic” means the farmer does not use chemical fertilizers, insecticides, herbicides, animal antibiotics and growth hormones, and they aren’t treated with waxes or preservatives. Did you know that many EPA-approved pesticides were registered long before research linked them to cancer and other diseases? The EPA now considers 60 percent of all weed killers, 90 percent of mold killers and 30 percent of insecticides as potentially cancer causing. I’m not super keen on putting these chemicals into my body, are you?
Sometimes produce in the grocery store is made available whether it’s ripe or not, due to consumer demand. I’m excited to get produce that is picked at its peak and at its best. It will also be a challenge to fix it before our next “share” is ready for pick-up.
Here’s the list of items that I hope to enjoy with the CSA: onions, tomatoes, salad greens, spinach (okay, maybe “enjoy” is too strong a word), potatoes, green beans, green onions, eggplant, cabbage, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, sweet peas, beets, mustard greens (someone please take my share), asparagus, radishes, fresh herbs, carrots, peppers, and some surprises. White Violet Center is also good at providing recipes. One year at their Saturday market I brought flying saucer squash. What a great name for a vegetable! The gardener gave me several ideas on how to prepare them and, while they weren’t my favorite, it was fun trying something new.
Consuming locally grown food also reduces my “footprint” because it takes less gas, pollution and other harmful environmental factors to produce and deliver my food when it’s grown less than a mile from where I work. I was paying more for organic produce in my local grocery store so I feel that I may even save money on our summer eats while supporting local agriculture.
I’ll let you know how it goes. Keep your fingers crossed and if you have any tasty recipes for Kale, please let me know – soon!