Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Keeping Up With the Vegetables

Just look at this lettuce, picked the same day we got our box

Before we started buying a box of produce a week from some local organic farmers, our idea of vegetable consumption was to pick up some frozen peas and maybe some iceberg lettuce at the grocery store. Note that I didn't say anything about eating them. They just hung around, peas in the freezer (they are supposed to last forever, aren't they?); and the lettuce down inside the Invisible Vegetable Drawer until I cleaned out the fridge and tossed the moldy remains away a few weeks later. 

Ah, that was then, and this is now. Every Friday afternoon for the last few months, we've been taking a lovely ride through orchards and fields down to Mesilla to pick up our box of produce from farmers Charley and Emily. Now this is real food--it's beautiful, it's produced locally (for the most part), it's grown organically, and it tastes delicious. 

Until I tried this stuff, I thought that carrots were supposed to taste kind of soapy, which is the way supermarket carrots taste to me. Who knew?

The trick is to keep up with it all. This week's box contained apples, valencia oranges, carrots, garlic, snap peas, lettuce; red, yellow, and green onions; mixed stir-fry greens, chard, tangerines, and turnip greens. 

Here's how I've learned to deal with it all--I divide everything up right away. Fruits get separated--fruits to eat out of hand and citrus to juice (we just can't keep up with all the grapefruits, oranges, and tangerines otherwise).

I sort all those vegetables for roasting, steaming (Freshly washed and still wet greens go into a covered casserole in the microwave for 4 - 5 minutes--foolproof method, and it never burns!), stir-fry, salads, and some to eat raw. I roast a big pan full right away (my recipe is here), and eat those for lunches all during the week. We have salads almost every day, and build menus around the rest of the vegetables rather than the way we used to cook, with the menus built around meat. Last week I chopped up bok choy and added it to my recipe for potstickers, and they were outstanding!

Beautiful vegetables ready to roast: Sweet potatoes, red and green onions, colored peppers, carrots


Miss Becky said...

your photo of all those fruits/veggies is beautiful. the first thing that comes to mind when you mention growing things where you live (or near there) is the water situation. is water plentiful for growing produce? you're blessed to live near organic farmers, and we're all thankful to have them! have a great day.

charlotte g said...

Organic vegetables are almost impossible to find around here, although my church has a four-acre community garden that is churning out some great veggies. Living alone, I still have some waste, but the withered stuff just goes to the chickens. I agree--I buy meat on sale, then defrost according to the vegetables on hand. And I always buy leaf lettuce. Yum!

becky said...

That second shot is beautiful! Your veggies look delightfully delicious! I have not been to the farmer's market for a long time- I've got to get back. My "store bought" greens turn brown in a few days, but my salads from the from the farmer's market will last a week or so. Thanks for the reminder!
ps- didn't find that pedometer, but did get out for a walk this morning.

clairz said...

Miss Becky, all the farms here in the Mesilla Valley get their water from irrigation. Our home gets water from a community well and we rarely use more than the minimum. Now rainfall--that's another story. It's been months now since the last precipitation.

Charlotte, yum, indeed. I'm turning into a vegetable lover.

Becky, I actually own a pedometer (although I don't always remember what it's called!). I kind of know where it is, but I'm pretty sure that the directions are somewhere else. Best for me to stick to my pre-measured mile and a half for now. Guess what? There's always time for a morning walk in spite of the excuses I used to make for myself! Just 94.5 more miles to go on the first hundred...

Sandy ~~~ said...

Thanks for inspiring me....need to work on vegetable CONSUMPTION!

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

Clair -- that was a great post! We're trying to eat that way too (planning around the veggies. You're lucky to have the farm -- we visit our local produce stands, but are not guaranteed anything.

Linda said...

How stunningly healthy! You've obviously got a good system going for dealing with the riches that arrive each week.

Quiet Paths said...

Veggies will save our world, I think. It's wonderful you've discovered such a great place to get produce.