There are certain disadvantages to living in a large city. Small crammped living accomodations, confusing one-way streets and the never ending battle to find “free” parking. It of course has its advantages- great restuarants, happening nightlife and when you are a mom, a budding cook or a foodie like myself- a weekly farmers market.
I remember when my bestie was living in the city and was able to get CSA delivery to her door. I was insanely jealous. I searched the web but could not find anyone doing delivery down to the “burbs” where I live. So, when I saw the sign at the Dutch Farmers vegetable stand one day I was overjoyed. At first I was hesitant to commit myself to schlepping year-round on a Tuesday afternoon in sun, rain or wind with two small children to an outdoor market to get veggies. I decided to sign up for the 3 months and see how it goes. The rest of course, is history.
Tuesday afternoons at the Farmers Market is part of our routine. As much a part as going to work or dropping my oldest off at preschool. It’s just what we do. The kids love it as much as I do and on days when the weather is nice there is plenty of other things to peruse at the market besides fruits and vegetables. I would venture to bet most people go to shop and eat at the food stands rather than to buy vegetables, which is really a shame. Not only are they paying more at a regular grocery store, but they aren’t getting unique varieties, locally-sourced and organic. The week the farmers went on vacation I tried to replicate my CSA Bag (see “Getting This Week’s Fix”) and I had to go to three different stores and was unable to really replicate the freshness and quality of what I get every week.
I don’t know why more people aren’t taking advantages of CSA’s. It seems some people aren’t informed of what they are, but in general I find that most people feel they “don’t have the time” to cook with ingredients they are unfamiliar with.
I hear comments like -” Won’t I get tired of the same items over and over?” and “What would I do if I got four squash in one week?”
I always reply the same- “You read my blog, that’s what you do!”
My recipes are geared toward families, they are relatively easy and I try to keep the ingredients and prep to a minimum. I cook for my family at least 5 nights a week all while two small children whine, cry, pester and cling to my legs. So for heaven’s sakes, don’t use the children as an excuse not to get involved. The more familiar your children are with you cooking with vegetables the less hesitation you will see with them trying new things. Is there anything more impressive at party than someone’s child eating a bunch of veggies of their own free will? I am always impressed at the sight.
I should note however, it’s never my children eating the raw veggies. But still, a girl can dream…
If I can convert one family a month over to supporting their local farmer and eating organic veggies then I feel like I’m doing my part to change the world. Once you start with a CSA it’s unlikely you will go back to buying vegetables anywhere else than a farmstand.
If you live in a major metropolitan area there are plenty of Farmers Markets to choose from. If you live further out, it may be more difficult for you to find a CSA or a regular market. I do think that if you could find enough friends and neighbors to support it there is likely a farmer in your area who would be thrilled to sell you their veggies.
A good resource for all things organic in larger cities, including CSA’s and Farmers Markets is www.ecovian.com
San Diego County where I live has page on the county website listing all the Certified Farmer’s Markets, the locations, dates and times. This may be the case in other counties as well and if you are having a hard time finding markets in your area I would start my search on your county website.
If you live in San Diego and are willing to pick up your produce at one of the local farmer’s markets I highly recommend the Dutch Farmers CSA whom I use. You can reach them at their website- www.dutchfarmers.com
Maybe I’ll see you next week at the Farmers Market…