The first step to cooking is ingredients. Over the years, I have tried everything from cheap supermarkets to Trader Joe’s to Fresh Direct. I have concluded that cheap supermarkets are disgusting (at least the ones in my neighborhood) and that Trader Joe’s is more interesting, and more fairly priced, than Fresh Direct. But my favorite place to get food is from my local Farm Share, or CSA (Community Shared Agriculture).
A CSA is where a bunch of people buy shares in a farm. Or, more simply put, we pay a lump sum of money in the spring, and in return we get 6 months of food every week or 2. I am currently doing a ½ share of veggies & fruit. Half shares are for people who live alone or eat out a lot and full shares are for households of 2-3. You can also buy into cheese, meat, flowers, eggs, wine shares and more.
All the food is organic. It supports local farms. And some CSA’s have a social scene, like mine, where we have potluck dinners, and overnight camping once a year on the farm. A veggie half share is about $250 for 6 months in NYC. It’s actually a decent deal, considering all the food is organic, AND it’s ridiculously fresh & delicious!
I’m not kidding. I get veggies in colors and shapes I have never seen before. Tiny green tomatoes that burst in your mouth like a rainbow of joy. Green peppers with red and yellow swirls like Autumn leaves. Corn that is so sweet I have been known to eat it raw as soon as I get home.
As I walk home from getting my week’s supply, my mind is buzzing with possibilities. What will I do with this many potatoes? I’ve heard making gnocchi isn’t too hard. I think you can make pesto out of chard. With this many apples, I could make applesauce! And if I don’t have time to cook all these veggies, I’ll juice them! If you are ever stuck in a cooking rut, join a food share and you will be forced to expand your repertoire.
The best part about a food share is how life affirming it is. When I go to pick up my produce my senses are overwhelmed and I am thwarted into the present; the smell of fresh radishes, the feel of a dozen fuzzy peaches…. If I had been feeling depressed or sluggish earlier that day, that feeling has now been replaced with the sensuality of a celebration of life. Now what am I going to do with 20 potatoes???
P.S.: my cholesterol is now perfect ;)