. . . This, in answer to the question of why people choose to eat seasonal vegetables, from a recent survey I shared with my subscribers. Health and nutrition as well as keeping $ in one’s community were the other themes. If the quotidian task of nourishing ourselves and our families can be fun and interesting we have it made! And if fun and interesting can help us fight climate change and keep us healthy and keep our dollars in our community then let’s do that!
Farm land can stay farm land if there is a market for what our hard-working farmers are growing so let’s be that market. Every year I stop to consider why I so love (and have made a career of) local produce. It’s all of the things my survey respondents said. And it’s the relationships I’ve cultivated with farmers over the years. It’s getting a window into their challenges around soil health, pest management, volatile weather, consumer unfamiliarity with many vegetables they grow. . . and their joy in nourishing their communities. Farmers are truly my heroes: they’re doing more than their share because growing vegetables is at once one the most difficult and least financially secure things one can choose to do. And they make my life not just tastier but easier.
Getting beautiful CSA produce every week works for me. It’s even convenient–not a word typically associated with cooking. Yes, it takes time but the time is often of the fun and interesting variety. It’s not time spent running to the grocery store or figuring out what vegetables to buy. It’s time spent becoming a more creative cook. Often it’s the days when I have the least amount of time when I’m most grateful for the produce. It’s those harried days when grating whatever veg I have and sauteing it for 5 minutes and then drizzling with miso, soy sauce and sesame oil (recipe below) is what I muster. Or the days that store-bought pizza dough is topped with whatever veg I have and everyone is happy. Or the days when instant ramen is fancified with leafy greens about to go south and an egg.
All this to say that it may not be pretty or conventional or easy sometimes but it will be interesting and often fun and certainly delicious to have weekly vegetables, grown by someone near you. Friday 2/28 is CSA Day (yes, there is such a thing!) so if you like vegetables or want to eat more of them and don’t travel a whole lot and want to become a more creative, on-the-fly kind of cook, find a CSA that suits you and have some fun!
P.S. I’ve listed lots of resources here if you’re interested in finding a CSA. You’ll need to scroll down a bit!
Grated Vegetable Sauté with Miso, Soy & Sesame
This is a go-to method for a quick lunch or dinner. Grate or finely chop whatever veg you have. Top with an egg if you’d like or leftover meat or toasted seeds or enjoy as is.
Serves 2 +/-
3 tablespoons oil
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
Handful of mushrooms, chopped (optional)
4 packed cups grated vegetables (turnip in the above version)
A few pinches salt
Cilantro, leaves and stems chopped (optional)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons miso
2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
Hot sauce or dried hot pepper (optional)
Heat oil over medium-high heat in a large, heavy skillet. Add onions and mushrooms, if using, and saute for 2 minutes. Add grated veg and saute, turning up the heat to brown them more, until just tender and browning in spots. In a small bowl mix soy sauce, miso and sesame oil. Top sauteed veg with sauce and herbs and spice up with hot sauce or dried hot pepper if you’d like.