It is amazing how much our diet has changed since we became part of a veggie share, aka CSA. I used to peruse through my various cooking magazines at the beginning of the week, pick out a few for the week, then head to the grocery store to pick up all of the ingredients, in season or not. These days I get all of my seasonal veggies from a local farm and then figure out recipes from there. The pressure of my weekly veggie pick-up forces me to get creative with different ways to incorporate the veggies so that they stay not only literally fresh, but the recipes stay fresh and interesting as well.
As our veggie share pick-up is on Wednesday, Tuesday night dinners are almost always dictated by the veggies that we have on hand. Last night, I needed to use onions, squash, and mizuna, so roasted chicken breast with summer squash hash and wilted mizuna salad was on the menu. As for wine pairing – time to break out a summer-time favorite, a Pinot Gris (aka Pinot Grigio if it is coming from Italy), light, fruity and fresh, and perfect with all our veggies.
Since joining a veggie share, I am reminded of my mom’s stories of summer when she was growing up in the midwest. My grandmother was forced to cook seasonally, because seasonal veggies were all that you could get. My mom fondly recalls having fresh corn on the cob, tomatoes, green beans for every meal, lunch and dinner, until they were no longer in season. There was an anticipation each vegetables commencement, then you would stuff yourself silly with it, and by the time you were growing tired of that veggie, it’s season would conclude.
Personally, I think this is a heck of a lot better way to eat, rather than having veggies transported from the far reaches of the globe just so you can have a tomato (that doesn’t actually taste like a tomato, I might add) in the middle of winter. I know I’m not the first to stand on this soapbox (and hopefully not the last), but food just tastes better when you eat seasonally an locally.
Yeah, it can be daunting to come up with yet another recipe to use radishes when you are up to your eyeballs in every variety of radish known to man, but at the same time you step outside your proverbially recipe box, and try recipes you would have overlooked.
As if delicious food, trying new recipes, and vegetables that actually taste like vegetables weren’t enough of a reason to eat seasonally, taking part in a veggie share has made both of us much healthier. In yearly check-ups my husband’s cholesterol went from pushing 240 to just over 100, and the only major change we’ve made is diet. I’ll take a salad, green beans and curried cauliflower over Lipitor any day!