Thursday, May 3, 2007

Local Harvest

Here is my stash for the week from the farm stand. Everything you see was picked the morning that I bought it. It's all so fresh and smells wonderful! All of the zucchini came in a basket for only $1.25. They sell oversized, misshapen, or slightly damaged veggies in these baskets for $1 or $1.25. As far as I'm concerned, the freshness matters more than the looks, but you have to get there early to get these specials. They get snapped up quickly. The two large zucchini's have already gone into a creamy soup using coconut milk and two of those gorgeous carrots.
Those luscious strawberries are the cheap ones! Three baskets for $7. They have really brightened my breakfast meal for the past few days. If you store them in Tupperware with a dry paper towel, they will last a week even though they were picked fully ripe. The farm stand people expect you to eat them the day you buy them, and I do stuff my face with a few before I put the rest in the fridge. In fact everything lasts longer if you buy it the day it is picked. I have also found that freshness matters more than variety. I can eat a salad every day for lunch and not get tired of it as long as the ingredients are fresh. When faced with the usual salad you get in most restaurants with wilted or brown lettuce and veggies that look like they have seen better days, my appetite turns off. I think it must be part of our basic instincts to seek out fresh food to eat.

Community Supported Agriculture or CSA is a movement to support local farmers and share in their harvest which started in Japan, spread through Europe, and then came to the US. But it has not come to my corner of Southern California yet, although I hear there is something in the works. Anyway, to find if there is a CSA farm near you, go to this USDA website which has several links to other sites that have directories of CSA farms anywhere in the US.

My daughter sent me this link to certified farmer's markets in the Los Angeles area. We do have several of those to choose from. Local Harvest, whose site I linked you to for CSA farms will also link you to farmer's markets in your area.

And last but not least, you can find farms that sell grass-fed beef and other pastured animal products at I just received a shipment of beef from a farm in California yesterday. The New York steak I had for dinner last night was delicious.

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