Wednesday is the day Terra Firma Farms delivers boxes of fresh produce to my neighborhood. At about half past noon, I go to the other side of the hill to pick mine up. It's a little like Christmas every week, this opening up a box to see what's inside, and I look forward to it. This week I find sugar snap peas, a big bunch of asparagus, salad mix, a pint of cherries, and—oh, goodie—a nice bunch of carrots.
This box of produce will the center of my meal planning for the next week. It's hard to cook this way, at least it is for me. I'm not the kind of cook who can just toss some things into a pan and deliver a delicious meal from whatever is at hand. I'm more of a recipe follower, though I drive my husband crazy with my practice of regarding recipes as sets of suggestions more than anything else.
Like everyone, I have favorite foods, and my mind turns first to those things when I am planning meals. Or not turn to them, as with carrots. I tend to use carrots for mire poix and little else, hence the giant backup in my crisper. Even with the addition of Shredded Carrot Salad to my repertoire, I cannot use as many carrots as I get in my box every week.
Before I subscribed to the CSA, my typical meal planning scenario was simple. I thought about what I'd like to have, got out a few cookbooks to see what I needed from the store, and made a list. Now the process is reversed. I pick up the vegetables and then get out my cookbooks to find recipes that will use up the ingredients I have.
The big advantage of this is that we eat a much more varied diet than we would otherwise. There are some vegetables one of us dislikes, and many vegetables I just never think much about. If they didn't arrive in my box every week, I probably never would buy them. As it is, I have to find ways to prepare all of them.
Another advantage is that we eat more fruit than we otherwise would. I'm not much of a fruit buyer. It's expensive compared to other things, and we almost never eat dessert—we rarely have room. So getting fruit in my box most weeks gives me fruit to eat and prompts me to think about supplementing that supply at the store.
Breakfast is my usual oatmeal and lunch is one set of leftovers (Couscous) for Jesse and another (Chili) for me. Dinner is one of my very favorite meals, Black Beans Charros, and it makes good use of the cilantro that remains. Our box this week has more salad mix, so we'll have that with dinner. I'll serve up leftovers from tonight for lunch tomorrow and pop some cherries into Jesse's lunch as a surprise.
Wednesday total: $4.60. Remaining weekly allowance: $34.20 .
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