Saturday, May 23, 2009

ECO ACTION: 2nd Farm Share & More Tag Saling

I'm a big fan of abundance on a shoestring.
Another armload of gorgeous vegetables today from Studio Farm.

I didn't make it to the farmers market to pick them up.  I thought the market was 10-1 today as it had been during the winter.  Spring and summer hours are actually 9-Noon.  Also, I'd stopped at every tag sale along the way between home and the market.  When I arrived the park was empty.

So, I arranged to go out to the Stonyledge Farm this afternoon to pick them up instead.  I was greeted by several happy free-range chickens as I got out of the car.  Belinda and Ed were very accommodating.

This week's CSA half-share included (photo above, clockwise from top left): a very large head of tatsoi, a generous helping of mustard greens, 2 heads of kale (I think), chard, 3 small heads of loose-leaf lettuce (red and green), spinach, a bunch of fragrant mint, chives, mixed greens with flowers, half-dozen very large eggs, and several long rhubarb stalks.

And the fate of last week's veggies was as follows:
  • Tatsoi stir fry with garlic scapes, onions, sesame oil, brown basmati rice, scrambled egg, and 5 chinese seasoning.
  • Eggs: used 2 in stir fry, 2 in tapioca pudding, and 2 hard boiled.  They turned the tapioca pudding a wonderful shade of yellow that just can't be matched by grocery store eggs.
  • Spinach, kale (or was that mustard greens?), and broccoli rabe all steamed and eaten.
  • Lettuce used for several salads, shredded for black bean burritos, and in sandwiches
All delicious!

As of this morning, I only had a little lettuce, a few garlic scapes, the 2 hard boiled eggs, and some rhubarb remaining.  Because it was so fresh when brought home last Saturday the lettuce is none the worse for a spending a week in the refrigerator.  Much, much better than store bought.  The remaining lettuce and eggs will become a salad for dinner this evening, with rhubarb crisp for dessert.

In spite of the doubts I expressed last Saturday we ate our way through the vegetables quite easily. If I hadn't gotten involved in a project, lost track of time, and ended up skipping lunch a couple of times this week we would have completely emptied the vegetable drawer in time for today's pick up.

One of the reasons I signed up for this CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm share was to learn.

I wanted to learn about new foods, new ways of cooking familiar foods, new insights for my own garden, and to experience the feeling of enjoying an abundance of fresh healthy food on a regular basis.

I wouldn't have chosen to put all these greens in my grocery cart if I'd been buying them at the super market, but I've learned that what looked like a lot of fresh spinach and kale turned out to be just enough to accompany several meals when steamed.

Just right, not too much.

Tatsoi stir fry was also a first for me and it turned out great.  I wouldn't have taken a chance on this at the grocery store, not knowing in advance what it would taste like or how to cook it.  At the farmer's market, though, Dot Wingate gave me simple verbal instructions for cooking it when I picked up my share.  It couldn't have been easier or tastier.

I figure that nature has a wisdom of its own.  The abundance of fresh greens available in spring is probably just what our bodies need to restore themselves at the end of winter and get ready for summer's active season.  These greens were loaded with flavor and probably lots of good healthy stuff never find on a food label.

I know that I can't remember ever feeling healthier.  Looking forward to more.

Here are this weekend's fabulous tag sale finds (photo above, clockwise from top left):

For a GRAND TOTAL of $27
  • 3 variagated solomon's seal plants
  • 7 antique hand-painted china dessert plates, signed by a (locally) well-known local artist
  • 8 Books: "Lectures and Biographical Sketches" by Ralph Waldo Emerson, "The Complete Poetical Works of John Greenleaf Whittier," "Little Songs of Long Ago", "Drawing with the Right Side of the Brain," "A Whack on the Side of the Head: How You Can Be More Creative" by Roger von Oech, "Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook" (to give), "The Food-Lover's Garden," "Neal's Yard Natural Remedies"
  • A small, 1 page-per-day diary for writing down little daily happy things
  • 2 pocket charts (teaching tools)
  • Kitchen Stuff: a pastry knife, a blue-green resealable glass jar, a garlic press (actually I'll use this for extruding clay, not garlic), a cookie press, AND a sturdy 10 inch cast-iron skillet--I'd been looking for one for a long time (favorite find of the day).
  • Misc: 1 new package of binder tabs, 2 new plastic pocket folders, an awl, a very basic digital camera with cable and software (tested and works on PC), two pair small sharp scissors (I keep losing my nail scissor, not good for one who plays piano and works with clay), an artist's paintbrush, a small hot plate, two colorful coin purses, a set of magnetic words (for songwriting play), and 9 new tennis balls (to turn into teaching toys).
Here's close-up of the hand-painted china plates.
Do I really need any of this?  Probably not.  Is it truly frugal to buy things I don't need?  Again, no.

On the other hand, these things will be used and enjoyed.  No additional resources were consumed to make them.  Each piece has a story and a connection to others.  I'm giving a good home to things that others no longer wanted, like bringing home abandoned puppies.

And I had a good time in the process.  I like the experiencing of happening upon things unexpectedly.  I like the feeling of discovery.

Now, I probably need to go through our house and liberate a few of my unused possessions so they can move on to homes where they'll be appreciated.

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