Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Experimenting with New Tastes

For the first time, we are participating in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) this year. For those unfamiliar with CSAs, it is basically a farming cooperative. Traditionally, participants pay for a share of the harvest at the beginning of the growing season, thus sharing both the risks and benefits of the growing season. Ours is a bit different in that the risks are pretty much eliminated. Instead of paying for the share up front, we pay a deposit and then a weekly amount (paid at the beginning of the following month). Our cost is $16/week.

One thing I like about participating is that it forces us out of our routine and into trying new foods. Instead of a steady rotation of a few vegetables that we love, we’re suddenly incorporating a variety of produce, some of which we’re tasting for the first time. The challenge, however, is adapting my menu to accommodate foods I have no idea how to prepare. Or what to pair them with. But I’m working on it.

Last week was our first week participating. As we learned, we’ll receive 6-8 produce items each week. Many of these are presented as a choice. For example, we could pick rhubarb or strawberries, asparagus or radishes. That first visit, I let my son do all the choosing. His strategy seemed to be, if it looks weird and I can’t recognize it, choose that. It’ll be fun watching mom try to figure out what to do with it. This week, I did the choosing. Variety is good, but too much is overwhelming!

This week’s CSA haul, much if which you’ll see incorporated into my dinner menu, included red potatoes, salad greens, lettuce, bok choy, sugar snap peas, radishes, and garlic chives.

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