|Gorgeous first box from Zephyr Organics|
In the past few years since we've started making a conscious effort to be aware of how our food gets to our table, we've traded yucky bland supermarket meat for an all natural and very local butcher, and have tried our best to stay away from overly processed or artificial foods. (For instance, why does yogurt need guar gum? Unless it's not really yogurt and it is mostly thickened milk products :)
Until recently, I would get most of our produce from a great independent produce supplier, who made an effort to have organic and local produce at reasonable prices... and only in stock when it was well-priced and high quality. Inadvertently, this made me shop more seasonally and locally since she often would not have fruits and vegetables that were not selling at good prices for that particular season. Unfortunately, I was saddened to see a seizure sign on their door this past winter and since then I've been relying on the supermarket for my produce needs.
Luckily, many supermarkets nowadays are starting to understand that their consumers would like some choice in their food purchases and are stocking organic produce more often. However, this still didn't solve one of my main gripes with supermarket produce - freshness. When it has to be bought by a central office and then repackaged and shipped off to one of their many stores, this makes even "Ontario Grown" produce at least a week late in getting to my table. I've been spoiled most of my life by a father, who I thought was pretty corny while I was growing up, because we grew vegetables in our backyard, made tomato sauce for the winter, and bought all our summer fruit from local farm stands where we lived in St. Catharines (hello? fruit belt of Ontario?). So I'm pretty snotty about eating winter tomatoes from the store or buying peaches from the supermarket :P
So I started researching CSA's (community supported agriculture). Check it out here. I love the idea of supporting our local farmers and paying an upfront and fair price directly to them to supply me with the fruits of their hard labour.
I decided to try out a half-share (vs. a full share) with Zephyr Organics since we were CSA newbies and I didn't know how much freezing and preserving I would be able to do this summer. And here it is all rinsed and laid out...
Look at the size of those rainbow chard leaves! And the kale is the crispest and freshest that I've ever had. (That one lone strawberry is the only misfit... it's from a sad looking bush in my garden :)
So, in an effort to make myself worthy of these tasty morsels, I'm going to try to post about all the good things that come from the farm box and what they become. There may be some items that I wanna learn more about (like rhubarb) and old friends that I'm hoping will challenge me to try something new that will really showcase them (like bok choy). I can hardly wait!