It’s that time again and our CSA, Eating with the Seasons, has opened its doors. On the menu are a lot of veggies and fruits as well as packaged items made locally. It always excites me when the season begins. And then it also gets a little terrifying.
Like most people in the Bay Area, I’ve spent a great deal of time eating out. Or eating out while eating in (aka take out). I get home and I’m tired or mentally drained. The last thing (and I do mean, the last thing…) I really want to do is hang over a stove, cooking. Someone asked me once why I like soups and stews so much? Well, there’s reason number one. Yet, I love to cook so I have a quandary.
This time around, I’ve tried something different. Sunday or Monday night, depending on how busy the week begins, I’ve started “cooking” for the week. Since the CSA forces me to plan meals to use all those wonderful fruits and veggies, it makes it easy to have to pick out of the freezer what will go with them. Thus, I’ve begun a whole ‘nother way of thinking (and fodder for another blog entry), which is answering the question: What goes with the veggie? – as opposed to what goes with the protein. On Sunday, I look at what I’ve got, I look at what’s coming from the CSA, and see what I can do or am interested in doing. The CSA makes it easy; they tell me what is in season and being shipped on Mondays and I can go from there. This week: ham hocks and beans as well as lamb curry. I still get my stews and my soups but with a lot less daily grind.
I don’t really need the CSA to do this but it sure pushes me in the right direction. The nice thing is that they offer eggs, meat and “accessories” like jams and pickles, all of which offer a spin on the way I order my veggies. Many other CSAs are adopting this same approach: anything that gets you away from the big supermarkets and into local, direct-from-the-farm eating is far better for us all. I rarely go to the big supermarket these days. It means perhaps paying a slight bit more but we also eat less. And we certainly eat out a lot less. How can that not save us money, and health, in the long run?
Using a CSA has been a very rewarding experience and I intend to use one no matter where I live. It takes planning and a willingness to cook. I think, though, it also takes flexibility and the willingness to learn your own modus operandi for providing food for your family. Trying different things and be willing to fail. For me, doing the mass cooking once a week has been a pleasure. I can eat a nice meal with my husband, knowing it comes from a great source, and I don’t have to do it when I’m not up to it.
Where there is a will, there is a way. Yum.