Saturday, June 07, 2008

Eat Your Vegetables

A few months ago my knitting friend Mrs. Budgie (who really has a budgie at home named Franklin) and I got to talking about vegetables. The big article in the big city paper that Sunday was about CSA's - Community Supported Agriculture. In other words, a lot of local farmers are growing vegetables for the local community. You pay for a share, and receive a box of veggies, fruit, and good things every week. She knew someone who had done it the year before and raved about it. I was interested, but face it, there's no way on earth I'd be able to utilize a single box on my own, since Mr. Bluebird is a tad - shall we say it? - fussy, when it comes to vegetables.

So, Mrs. Budgie and I decided to go in on a half share and split that. She's home by herself right now (hub is in the 'Stan) so that would work out pretty well. I actually did an analysis of the cost as well and it's going to cost me $120 for the season, which runs May through November. That's pretty good. And the local farm that does it is certified organic so that's another plus.

We got our first box last week and it was an eye opener...for one, there were vegetables in there that not only had I never had, I'd never heard of. Like perilla. Perilla is apparently a Korean veggie, and has a bit of a minty zing to it. We also had Swiss chard, lettuce, greens, green onions, kale, and basil. Fortunately, the organic farm is really good about sending out a list of box ingredients as well as recipes, because Mrs. Budgie and I were both going, "what on earth?" when we saw our goodies.

So, we split our goodies up and I had a frig full of leafy green stuff. Now the creative part. What to do with all this?

Well...I stir fried the perilla with soy sauce and onion. Awesome. I made a homemade Italian soup with the kale. Incredible. Hubby actually loves vegetable soup so I got bonus points for that. The basil went into a garlic basil mayo spread. The lettuce I used up in salads. The Swiss chard and the greens both got steamed and topped with a vinegar dressing. Yummy.

I've probably eaten more vegetables this week than I ever have.

My own garden is progressing. The tomato plants are looking healthy and have a lot of blossoms on them. The red pepper has two little peppers on it. The sage, basil, tarragon, dill and rosemary are doing great. I'm looking forward to doing some canning of marinara sauce and tomatoes this summer. I've already done one harvest of oregano and it's drying.

And then I found the Amish farmer! We've been buying produce from an Amish farmer who had a little stand nearby. Except now there's construction at that intersection and he wasn't there...but I found him a bit further down the road near a church. Yeah! He has some of the best veggies around and Mr. Bluebird loves the homemade cookies he sells as well.

So, I'm eating a lot of veggies...and still thinking about school. (Do we ever stop?) For example, how can I encourage my students to eat more of these things, and less of the crap they eat every day? I may take some of my organic stuff in to show them when school starts back in August. Mrs. Eagle and I did our plans for our new health unit and we are including a few "healthy cooking days"...hummmmm...


CaliforniaTeacherGuy said...

Good luck on getting your students to change their eating habits! (I cringe when I see the garbage my students put in their mouths!)

Miss Sub said...

I loved belong to a CSA! The best new veggies it introduced me to were sunchokes. omg..sweet potato like goodness. now my mouth is watering!

Hellie said...

I wish there was a CSA where I live. I love veggies.

Dragonrider said...

I found a small CSA locally and they deliver to my school on Mondays. The veggies are wonderful!
If you can't seem to find one, ask at a Farmer's Market. I was driving 50 miles one way to an organic Farmet's Market and it was worth it not to have the pesticides, etc. Of course, that meant I also got to visit with my son...LOL

Gregory Kong said...

Leave us alone to eat our 'crap', please.

/not in school or the education system anymore
//still a student though, will be till I die

I positively loathe vegetables of any and all sorts, except fruit, nuts and some beans. Soya beans, in particular. I'll eat them, because I recognise a diet is lacking without fibre and minerals and such.

Nowhere near as bad as my colleague who swears he hasn't touched a strand of fibrous plant material in years. (true enough, I see him picking the lettuce off his burgers)

But [sigh] if you seriously want students to eat more veggies, you probably have to make it stop looking and acting like veggies.

For one thing, use lots of oil and sauces. For another thing, no boiling or steaming. Frying is best. Mashing it all up into some kind of soup/stew would work also. Lots of MSg where indicated. Introduce it in some Chinese-style fried rice, even.