Friday, June 08, 2007

[Hannah:] Why We Shouldn't Take Our Rural Fantasies Too Seriously

As I wrote last week, I just bought into a CSA [Community Supported Agriculture] for the season. This means that every week, a farm in New Jersey will deliver my "shares" of whatever they're harvesting this week to a farmer's market five blocks away from my door. Sounds great, right? Everybody wins and you get a little bit of rural fantasy in your urban life.

The problem is the first couple weeks. It's a farm. There is really not a lot ready to go in early June. There is a particularly painful dissonance this first week, when the bill for the entire season is on my credit card, and all I get is:

1) Chives
2) Grape Leaves
3) Two kinds of lettuce.

The farm seems to understand the tragedy of this, and it has sympathetically posted on its website several different recipes for stuffed grape leaves. I guess that's what we'll be cooking this week...


At 12:55 PM, Anonymous Kay said...

Hannah, you are going to have to be very creative with your cooking this summer. Several people in my condominium (including me)did the same thing you have done for a couple of summers. You will have to change your eating habits to cooincide with whatever is in season, and you may not be used to eating this kind of food, but think of it as a new adventure. You will get a lot of greens of one sort or another. Count on eating a lot of salad. You will get a lot of herbs. Luckily I already had a drier, so I dried most of them. I didn't have to buy bottled herbs for a long time. I made a lot of pesto and froze it. I made Harvard beets, which keep for a long time. Other people in the condo weren't able to deal with it, so it didn't last more than two summers. Rural folks who grow their own food are used to eating this way, including doing the work to put things up (like canning). We are not used to spending that much time and energy on our food. It's sad but true. Our organic farm put out a newletter with recipes too, and it was quite helpful. I still use many of those recipes. Good luck to you.

At 7:50 PM, Anonymous susanlynn said...

Having grown up on a farm , I agree completely with what Kay wrote. We had an enormous truck patch with tomatoes, peas, string beans , onions, cucumbers, turnips, zucchini, etc. and my dad grew acres of potatoes and sweet corn. I was chief planter and weeder and picker ,and my mother and I froze vegetables for everyone in our family--my aunt, grandma, sister's family, and us. It is a lot of work , but the taste of those vegetables was wonderful. I miss the tastes but not the backbreaking work involved. Hang in there...lots of good things will be coming your way.

At 7:52 PM, Blogger Jean said...

Hi Hannah: I've been part of a CSA for 3 years now. As Kay said, it's a challenge when you've got Swiss Chard coming out of your ears. But it's not a rural fantasy. The fantasy is getting lettuce from California or strawberries from Mexico in February. Of course, in NYC, you can just go down to the Union Square farmer's market for great local produce.

Of all the cookbooks, I have gotten to try and make the best of my CSA, the Victory Garden cookbook has been the most useful. It has recipes for each kind of vegetable. It's still in print.
Good luck and have fun.


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