Fitting that I'm writing this entry on Valentine's Day, because I think there's something inherently romantic and intimate about food. It is routine and it sustains life - yet can be enjoyed and relished and savored - there's the foreplay of preparations. The anticipation. Salivating as you chop and shred and slice and dice. The sounds of sizzling and steaming. The varieties of spices and seasonings. And you finally eat it and experience bliss. There's turn-taking in the rituals. Followed by content satisfaction.
We recently signed up for New Roots Organics. My brother and sister-in-law signed up for a CSA last summer and they both seemed to really enjoy it. They're comments - they loved the food and that it forced them to try new things. But it is a challenge to try to use up all of the food.
We signed up for the small ($25) bin every other week. I'd rather start slowly, and then upgrade later if we love it. So far: We love it.
I may forget a few items, but our first bin included: apples, pears, oranges, grapefruit, potatoes, cabbage, bok choy, cauliflower, onion, bell peppers, carrots and chard.
The first night we got the bin, we used their suggested recipe - we made mashed potatoes and mixed them with steamed cabbage. We ate it with chicken.
JK doesn't care for cauliflower, so I just steamed the whole head one morning, put some freshly grated Parmesan on it and brought it to work. I actually ate it cold - there was something refreshing about it that way.
The fruit was mostly consumed by itself - when either of us was craving something sweet. One night we had pears and blue cheese for dessert. One of my favorite combos.
I snacked on a few of the carrots, but eventually used them, the bok choy (chopped) and some onion in a stir fry. I had some rice noodles and black pepper stir fry sauce on hand. Added a couple eggs for additional protein. It was tasty.
The bell peppers were used in a Thai chicken curry dish. We have finally learned to put enough red pepper flakes in it to get it spicy enough for both of us. Other ingredients included onion, bamboo shoots, coconut milk and fish sauce. We're getting this dish to the point where I'd rather have our homemade curry over jasmine rice than go out to Thai.
I finally steamed the chard a couple nights ago. It reminded me of collared greens.
We managed to eat everything in the bin and not throw anything away!
Our fruit bowl looks empty, but for now we'll keep the every other week schedule. Just two more days until our next delivery. Can't wait to see it change as the seasons/harvests change.
I'm not going to go into the economical, environmental, health and social benefits of choosing organic produce delivery. (But check out this NYT article) But from a practical point of view - it's been easy and I've eaten more (fresh!) fruits and vegetables in the last 2 weeks than I otherwise would have.
One of the best things so far has been the variety. Not to sound boring, but most of the time, when I'm at the grocery store shopping for produce - I go for the basics. The vegetables I'm used to using. So having things like chard and bok choy were good challenges. It forces us to try new things, new recipes. To learn how to prepare these things I don't usually buy.
New Roots seems like a good way to go for first-timers. There isn't a long-term commitment and they deliver it directly to you. With most CSAs you have to go pick it up at a local spot. Granted, the ones I looked into had pick up locations within walking distance to our home - but they also seemed a little more pricey. Also, their customer service has been great.
I highly recommend the experience so far and hope to write more about our experiences with it as well as post pictures of some of our dishes. Because who doesn't love some good food porn.