Thursday, March 26, 2009

What to do with all that local produce...

I found an entertaining article on today about one woman's experience with her CSA. Although author Catherine Price said she's a big fan, she said she often feels guilty about not using some of the produce she gets. Here's a link to the article itself: The Locavore's Dilemma.

As humans, our biology dictates that we get tired of eating the same thing, over and over again, so it's natural to experience some "dietary fatigue," especially during the winter months in California, where, if you're trying to eat locally, you end up with a lot of different broccoli dishes.

In Southern California, we're very much blessed with a climate that's conducive to growing a variety of fruits and vegetables year-round. Although that's a great thing about living here, our access to that range of great local produce, and all those supermarkets, makes us pretty spoiled when it comes to our dietary choices. When I start getting tired of the produce selection I have access to locally, though, I think back to my childhood when the only kind of salad I knew of had four ingredients: iceberg lettuce, cucumber, carrot slices and cherry tomatoes. In the summer to shake things up we'd add some sliced bell peppers.

Now I'm not saying that in the middle of winter you should force broccoli on your family day-in, day-out. But I think the author of that article has a real point in that trying to "cover up" vegetables with sauces and bizzare ingredients when you're experiencing "dietary fatigue" can actually make you sick of them faster than if you had used them in recipes that make them a central ingredient. Her conclusion was that she was really trying too hard to be creative with her vegetables and decided instead to focus on recipes that "complemented and highlighted" their natural flavors. Of course if you want to put broccoli stem slices on your ice cream to "liven things up," who are we to stop you?

A couple of things about Yard Famer with respect to this topic. First, our customers all prefer different types of fruits and vegetables. Because of this fact, the more customers we have, and the more local produce we're growing, the wider the range of produce we can offer customers in the Yard Farmer network.

Second, if you're getting sick of something, please let James or Noah know. Part of Yard Farmer's service is to provide (within the limits of the climate and growing season) what you and your family are interested in eating. James will be happy to tell you about your seasonal options. It does take time (sometimes a long time) to grow new fruits and vegetables, so if you are interested in some specific things for a given season, contact James or Noah well in advance, and I mean months, of when you want to be eating something.

Third, we're going to be posting more recipes on here in the future ourselves, but if you have any types of produce you'd like to know how to cook, let us know, and we'll test some recipes and post the results here on the Yard Farmer blog.

Next up will be a couple of recipes, so stay tuned.

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