Natural Foods Week

I’m determined that this next week’s theme in my life will be Natural Foods Week. What does that mean? I want to accomplish the following:

  • Generate a list of local farms where I can buy fresh produce, meats and dairy: done!
  • Visit a couple of those local farms to get a sense of which one(s) will be my “regular” place.
  • Try a new recipe using fresh produce from one of the farms. Since the season is only just beginning, it will likely entail using early-season salad greens. Or perhaps late season potatoes or squash.
  • Look up growing/Harvest calendars and plot out key dates. I do NOT want to miss “pick your own” strawberry season again!
  • Start using up stuff in my freezer. It’s been consistently packed to the gills this year. I suspect some of it is starting to pass it’s prime. Time to make space for the fresh berries and veggies I’ll pick this summer!
  • Hopefully, possibly, with any luck, commit to a CSA.

My search for a CSA has not been very successful. I’ve tried 3 or 4 places that are within a half hour of my house: they’re all full for the season. There’s one more place available, but I’m not sure I like it. It’s less expensive than many of the others, but they have a very limited selection. They do have a decent fruit selection, but they don’t do a traditional share where you pay a set amount and pick up a mystery box of produce for the week. Instead, your money essentially becomes a gift card for the farm–you get what you want. Because you pay in advance, thus giving the farm a guaranteed earnings, they give you a 5-10% discount. (I’d buy a $250 half share which would earn me a 5% discount.)  They also aren’t organic, but they do use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) to reduce the pesticides they need to use on the farm.

Any readers know what IPM is and how it works? How effective is it at reducing pesticides in food?

Fortunately, they have decent hours and are already open for the season, so I’m planning a little field trip out there tomorrow morning. We’ll see how it goes. While I may not walk away with a half share in a CSA, I hope to at least get some fresh lettuce, maybe some early season beets and even some fresh eggs. I have a friend visiting this weekend and would love to surprise her (um, unless she decides to read my blog today) with a fresh salad of roasted beets on wilted greens, homemade citrus vinaigrette and maybe even some goat cheese. Yum-o!

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