Sunday, January 8, 2012
My Winter Farmbasket
Labels: Eat Local
Growing up, we always knew where our food came from. Our produce came from one of the many farms and orchards, our meat came from ranches in the eastern part of the state and was butchered by one of the local butchers, and our eggs and dairy came from one of the dairies just outside of town. Sure, there was non-local items in the grocery store, but there was something about supporting the local shops because the quality was better and they were our friends. Please keep in mind, this is all before they built a Wal-Mart when I was in high school. Things have changed a bit since then, but I have a feeling that this is the case in a lot of towns (speaking of the change in food sources). Unfortunately, we traded quality for budget and have grown accustomed to eating food that is nutritionally lacking and grown by a faceless farm in an unknown location.
Stepping off my soapbox, and onto my farm box. I'm a part of a co-op with a local farm. Each week I pick up my basket/box of organic, seasonal local produce and farm raised eggs. The particular farm I go to offers three sizes of boxes that I can change each week. Another great thing is that I'm not obligated to buy a box each week. So it makes it really easy to manage and reduce waste. Every week, there's usually something in there that I've never seen or cooked with before. I really enjoy those surprises. Last week it was watermelon radishes, this week, it's mustard greens. Being winter, my giant bags of fresh basil are no longer present, but have been replaced with giant bags of greens and an abundance of apples. I consider myself fortunate to live in Arizona where we get 300 sunny days a year and produce that is out of season in other areas is in season here and doesn't need to come from 1000 miles away.
Another great benefit to my farm baskets is that it forces me to eat more fresh produce. It also forces me to cook with new vegetables. A neighbor of mine suggested sauteing the mustard greens in olive oil and garlic, so I think that's what I'm going to do, keep it simple.
What are some of your efforts to eat locally and/or support local farms and businesses?