We've been getting the weekly Planet Organics delivery for about a month now, and it's had its highs and lows. The lows were overdosing on cauliflower and getting a delivery of pears that were mushy and brown by the time we opened the box. The highs were discovering we could ban cauliflower altogether and then getting both cherries and blueberries the week after we did.
It's also fun seeing carrots come with the greens still attached. You just wanna walk around chewing it saying, "What's up, doc?" It seems like a shame to throw the greens down the garbage disposal, though, so I asked Nick to find recipes for carrot greens, but short of feeding them to rabbits or horses, it seems there isn't much.
We've been splitting the $38 weekly delivery with our neighbors, and I know that's been plenty for us to work our way through, even having vegetarian houseguests. At the same time, we've always had to go out and buy some additional fruits and vegetables when the contents of the box just don't match up exactly with what we want to eat or prepare.
But the best part is much more unexpected; I'm surprised at just how personal the experience of eating locally grown vegetables can be. Last week, we got tiny carrots that looked rather dingy. This week, they were big and lovely. The fruit is all much smaller than the stuff you buy at Safeway. And the newsletter that Planet Organics talks about the individual farmers providing the produce that you receive. I love that part of it. I saw some column in the NY Times questioning the validity of being a "locavore" (one who consumes locally grown foods) and arguing for specialization. I think they're missing the point. I don't need to grown my OWN carrots and peaches and pears and cauliflower, but I feel really wonderful knowing I'm supporting the following local specialists.
(excerpted from the latest Planet Organics email newsletter)
Jeff Ferrari is supplying us with WHITE FLESH NECTARINES next week. He grows delicious fruit, so think twice before you take these out of your mix.
The thing I am most looking forward to next week is coming from Terra Firma in the Capay Valley, which is their ORANGE BLOSSOM TOMATOES. Paul Holmes, one of the farmers, describes these as an orange version of an Early Girl. They will most likely come in varying degrees of ripeness as well, so just sit them out on your counter until they reach full color with-in a couple of days. Also from Terra Firma are BLACK PRINCE HEIRLOOM tomatoes and YELLOW BABY WATERMELON. Hello-summertime is here!
Local CUCUMBERS are finally here from Brad and Judy Wooley. A couple years ago, the kids and I did a Farm Tour at their farm in Gridley and I see them every year at the Ecological Farming conference. They are the loveliest folks you could meet. In Brad's spare time, his favorite activity is baking bread and tending to his flower garden. He's very sweet, mild mannered, and looks like Martin Sheen. He says folks tell him he looks like our current president. I prefer my version of what he looks like!
BLUEBERRIES are from John Lagier in Escalon, though they will have a Stemilt Label on them because he is packing some of his berries for them this year.