Thursday, August 18, 2005

Eating Local

I'm sorry but I have not been following all of the other Eat Local Challenge attempts, but I wonder has anyone mentioned the obvious? August is not exactly a strenuous time to eat local (at least in the Northern parts of the USA, in Florida it could be a challenge challenge). For the second week, we picked up a friends box from Angelic Organic's CSA, giving us local vegetables for a while.

I DO appreciate the capital providing aspect of a CSA, but as a practical matter, I much prefer getting my stuff at the Farmer's Market. Yes, there is a neat, Iron Chef aspect of getting a weekly box of cooking materials. "What shall we do with two zucchini, hon?" But that is precisely the problem. If last week it was two small zukes, this week it was one medium sized eggplant. What would Morimoto do with one eggplant? Worse, we got like a half a bunch of swiss chard. With last weeks bit of kale, there might be a portion there soon. What we are getting is, is a lot of sweet corn. And if I'd like more eggplants, I'd take less corn. Corn is weekend food, fire up the grill food. Still, these six ears of corn in the box demand pretty immediate attention. Luckily, Mark Bittman has some ideas of what to do with corn that sits for a few days. Last week was like one green bell pepper and one purple bell pepper that were sliced into rings and munched as a side. This week we got a fair amount of red peppers, and I am anxious to roast them (the question then becomes, store then in oil or vinegar). And I aint complaining with the amount of tomatoes received last week or this week. About a dozen "determinate" tomatoes (I always thought they were called hybrid) and a few heirlooms--more heirlooms this week. I do not have so many tomatoes that I am to the make sauce stage yet. I am enjoying all the versions of tomato salad I can contrive--today the kidz had the luxury of sel de gris purchased at the Maxwell Street Market (yes!) with their tomato chunks. It will be an easy week for me to eat local.

Eat local yes, eat well? The other thing I do not like about a CSA is you feel guilty about not liking anything. You own the stuff. It's like saying bad things about the kidz. When you buy at the Farmer's Market (or God Forbid the store*), it is an arm's length transaction. If you do not like it, you visit a new vendor next week. With great regret, I mention that we got some very weird carrots last week. Maybe they are good and we just do not know. Carrots ARE related to parsley. These carrots tasted a lot closer to parsley than carrots, or shall I say, the greens and the oranges did not taste that different. Maybe carrot aficionados, however, appreciate this uber carrotness to these carrots.

*I would like to report for all the millions who read this blog on an hourly basis that at the peak of local tomato season, Whole Foods in River Forest, Illinois was selling, well not just asparagus from Peru, but "vine ripened" tomatoes from Holland. Yea, there were organic heirrloom potato-tomatoes from California. Hardly matters. Senator Whole Foods, "do you have no shame?"

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