Friday, June 18, 2010

More veggies than you can shake a stick at

I moved into the city in January. It's been a bit of a transition for me. But one of the things I was most excited about when I moved in was joining a CSA. "CSA" stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, a group of people get together and decide they will pay an area farmer up front for produce that the farmer will then provide through the season. Every week, you pick up your share, and the farmer provides whatever is fresh and in season that week.

When my dad got sick last year, I started to get really serious about eating more vegetables. I decided to take the Bittman challenge and not eat meat during the day at all. Unlike Bittman, who is a "Vegan before 6," the best I can do is be a "Vegetarian before 6." That part is easy. The part that is tough for me is the no dairy. I really, really like a yogurt or a yogurt smoothie in the morning. And I really, really want cheese at lunch.

Anyway, I digress. I have a friend who signed up for the Paisley Farms CSA for a winter share last year. It sounded amazing. So when they announced they would have a pick up site right near me for their summer share, I wrote out my check and eagerly waited for June 9th to role around. The first week went fine - we got radishes, green leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, rapini, mizzuna, turnips, and maybe something else that I can't remember now. I met my site coordinator, and he told me he was going to be away on vacation for a couple of weeks, but someone would fill in for him.

This week, I dragged myself up the stairs (elevator is broken at the pick-up site, otherwise there would be no Megs slogging up 5 flights of stairs), walked over to the veggie bins, only to discover.... a single head of lettuce and one bag of dried black beans. What? Yeah. A gentleman who got there a few minutes before me was in the same boat. All the other beautiful veg were gone! No kale for me! No cucumbers!!!! The ditz who was running the show couldn't understand what had happened. But as she explained it, the list she had was for 11 people, and they had only gotten 7 of each thing. So me and my new tall friend were SOL.

I wrote a somewhat snotty e-mail to the farm, wanting to know how they intended to rectify the situation. The next day I got a phone call from the farmer, Mike. Mike assured me that there are only 7 people on the list for the site, that they had provided enough for us, PLUS two extra servings in an attempt to encourage other people at the office to sign up. His best guess was that the girl covering for our coordinator just let her office mates go nuts or something. He then offered to drop my share off at my apartment building the next day.

Today when I got home, I found three boxes waiting for me. They had sent me a double share with stuff that was different (and in my opinion, way cooler) than what I had missed at the site - fresh garlic! And two beautiful potted basil plants. And kale, radishes, romaine, red leaf lettuce, MORE dried black beans, cooking greens (I think it's tatsoi, but I'm not sure), beets(!), turnips, zucchini, and cucumbers. Amazing!

I'm going on vacation to LA next week, and Jeeves has already left on our vacation, so there's no way I can eat all this stuff myself. But I suspect that some friends and family will be very excited when I roll in with all this produce. Hooray for my CSA!

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