Leeks, lemons, tangerines, apples, and celery roots.
Subscription is the best thing to happen to vegetables since the agricultural revolution. I’m a total convert.
I should eat more fresh vegetables like everybody, but when you put me in front of the that wall of produce at the supermarket, what’s the chance I’m going to pick up (let alone identify) kohlrabi or leeks on a whim? I end up getting things I know I’ll like (or I know will keep), like garlic, onions, carrots, tomatoes, and lettuce (all good, but boring after a while). Beyond that, there’s a risk to buying perishables: if I’ve got no reason in advance to cook them, they’ll end up going bad, and I don’t want to waste food or money (think about the starving children in ___), so I end up taking less risks. It’s a slippery slope that always seems to land at the lowest common denominator.
One of the great benefits of moving to the city has been signing up with a local CSA called Eat with the Seasons. For $15 dollars a week, we get to choose 6 organic and in-season fruits and vegetables from a substantial list, that are then delivered to Stephanie’s pilates studio. Some choices translate to multiple items, so for example a unit of apples might include 4-5, and a unit of leeks would include 2. In the end, those 6 items (the extra-small bag), turn out to be a veritable cornucopia for the two of us. And it’s had some unexpected effects on my cooking and shopping habits.
For one, I’m cooking more. The constant appearance of novel vegetables in various quantities has inspired me to want to do something with them when I come home from work. That and I get home about an hour or two before Stephanie. That and for two weeks we forgot to choose our veggies in time, so they picked things for us that were similar to what we’d gotten previously. Which happened to mean potatoes. Lots of potatoes.
Over the last two weeks I’ve made twice-baked potatoes with ham and spinach,
french fries with herbes de provence,
and tonight I made a potato gratin with cremini mushrooms.
The other thing I’ve noticed is that the predictable weekly appearance of new fruits and vegetables has somewhat lessened that urge to do those mega-restock shopping trips every two weeks, the ones where I always end up getting way more processed food than I need. You know that feeling when there’s nothing left in the house to eat—but actually there’s tons to eat, just nothing attractive, nothing fresh, and nothing to munch on? It seems that always having fresh veggies around makes that yellow curry Thai sauce and those frozen chicken thighs look a lot more palatable.
The other thing that I’m growing to appreciate is that since all the produce comes locally, it’s seasonal by its very nature. Which means we can’t get avocados right now :(, but we can get celery root! At first this was annoying because there were all these autumn vegetables to choose from that we had no interest in (i.e. cabbage and squash), so we ended up getting lots of fruit. But each week the list changes, which means I can see what’s new in a way that I probably won’t register those 8 token celery roots stuffed in the corner at the local grocery market. It also keeps things interesting. I’m actually excited to see what’s new next week (actually next month, they take a few weeks off at the end of the year) and to decide what 6 things we’ll get to pick.