|Our first CSA bounty!|
But I soon discovered it's not easy to find local produce in Tucson. While doing research for my blog Food Security in the Desert, I learned that only 1% of the produce at our neighborhood grocery store, Sprouts, was grown in Arizona. It is difficult for local farmers to compete with conveniently located supermarkets that carry a wide diversity of affordable crops year around. But there is a bigger cost to consider. Imagine the carbon foot print of transporting all that produce hundreds of miles from Mexico or California or shipping it across the ocean. Thousands of pounds of damaged produce is thrown into landfills every day while poverty stricken farm workers can't afford to eat the produce they harvest.
That first Wednesday, I excitedly toted my reusable cowgirl bag to pick up our share. I was surprised that there were seven nice bunches of veggies! Curly kale, chioddia beets, carrots, burgundy colored chard, cilantro, kohlrabi (what's that?), and arugula. This was our chance to try some healthy greens (yikes!) and even some weird veggies we had never heard of.
Oh, no... Not curly kale! Dan was the only one who would eat it out of our own garden!
We were delighted to see beets included in our weekly offerings. Roasted beets are a family favorite! When we cut into them there was a cool surprise: pink stripes!
|Our first CSA meal: roasted beets and carrots, steamed beet greens, and salmon.|
We didn't know what to do with all of the veggies. What is this strange alien plant kohlrabi? But one of the benefits of being in a CSA, is that you can get cooking advice from the other members when they pick up their share. One guy suggested that we peel the kohlrabi like broccoli (you don't peal broccoli, do you?) and steam them. Dan googled kohlrabi. (Google is Dan's best friend.) It is also known as a German turnip or turnip cabbage. We're kinda roastin' fools, soooo...
|roasted kohlrabi and steamed chard|
Wednesday rolled around again, so I checked to see what foods hadn't been eaten...
Argh! Despite our best efforts all this was left in the so-called "crisper."
|hmph! wilted cilantro|
Determined to keep those veggies from the compost pit, we decided we would eat several that night. We noticed the chard that had reseeded itself in our garden was starting to wilt too. We added it to the menu.
I also picked some fresh parsley from our garden to liven up our quinoa. We had steamed chard; quinoa with leaks, onions, and parsley; roasted carrots; and beets topped with feta. The USDA would be proud!
|vegetarian dinner for two|
We learned to add steamed greens to any meal. (And we liked it!) We added leeks to pasta with leftover salmon for an easy dinner. And baked up some yummy kale chips. My teen not only tried them, but tried to steal the whole bowl!
|a side of colorful chard with potato leek soup|
|"Why do I have to be in the pic?"|
Having a share in Sleeping Frog Farm's CSA, encouraged us to try new foods, grow to love kale, be creative, and eat healthier.