Archive for the ‘Organic’ Category

Great Expectations

Posted: March 18, 2013 in CSA, Food and Cooking, Organic
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Here is what is predicted to be in our CSA box this week and what we plan to do with it.

3 apples
2 mangos
4 oranges
5 pears
3 lbs. tangerines
1lb baby carrots
mustard greens
3 lbs. yellow onions
1 lb. red peppers
3 lbs. russett potatoes
grape tomatoes

From this I expect to make chili, cauliflower-pepper soup, celery soup, carrot cake, sauteed radishes, candied citrus peels and several salads. I’ll have enough onions and garlic to add them to many things like stew, roast and chicken. I don’t particularly like muzuna in a salad but it works well in soup or chopped up and added to potatoes. Nobody in my house likes cilantro so I will give that away.

Yesterday I decided to just “wing it” and clean out the fridge. I cooked 1 lb of ground beef with chopped up green onions, garlic, and red and orange peppers that I already had chopped up in a container in the fridge. I melted in some grated parmesan cheese and served it with leftover noodles. It look 10 minutes tops and everyone loved it. Yum.

I keep several small containers of pre-chopped garlic, onion, and peppers in the fridge and toss them into pasta, omelets and anything else that sounds tasty. It’s a great time saver to do this once per week and have it all ready to go.



Today I made the short journey to the weekly Farmers’ Market. There are others during the week but this is the big one. Here is what I found

  • Locally grown, organic whole wheat flour from Grindstone Farm
  • Locally roasted, organic, fair trade coffee from Recess Coffee
  • Locally made cheese from Buttercup Cheese
  • Locally made (but not locally sourced) granola made by the Amish in Ovid NY
  • Locally raised, pastured, organic beef and chicken from Longhorn Ranch
  • Locally made pure maple syrup from Tully NY

I had no idea anyone here was growing wheat. We are largely a corn growing area. They tell me the wheat and is soft and sweet tasting and makes excellent pancakes. I will need to cut it with regualar wheat flour and I haven’t found that locally.

Maple syrup is something I never buy from the supermarket. If we do not support small producers all we will be left with is maple flavored sugar water from the big producers. Someone in my urban neighborhood has been tapping trees right here in town and is boiling up the syrup in his backyard a few blocks away. I love that.

I don’t use tremendous amounts of cheese but we do like it grated and it really isn’t too much trouble to grate it myself and keep it in a handy container in the fridge. I have a small food processor that  will do the job.

I got the coffee as whole bean. They offered to grind it for me but I own a grinder and enjoy it made fresh. This company is right in my neighborhood about a half mile away.

The granola is something I have been eating for years. I’ve never gotten such good granola anywhere else and I like supporting my local Amish community. It has coconut and raisins and almonds in it so it certainly isn’t local and isn’t organic but I love it anyway and at $3.50 a pound the price is right. They also sell a large variety of delicious baked goods and I sometimes buy their bread. Bread is something I rarely make from scratch for two reasons – I don’t have a bread maker and it is very time-consuming. I’m actually afraid that if I get a bread maker I will eat tremendous quantities of bread and gain weight!

The big experiment is the meat. I love, love, love that it is local, pastured, and organic. That combination isn’t easy to find pre-packed unless you want to buy half a cow. My neighborhood has enough power outages that I don’t really want 6 months of meat in my freezer. I got a whole chicken, which is thawing for tomorrow. That means tomorrow night I will probably be boiling up the carcass for stock. I got 2 lbs. of ground beef at $2 a lb. less than organic at the grocery store. I got a chuck roast to make in the slow cooker sometime this week. It is all vacuum packed and frozen solid so I will need to remember to thaw things.

Later today I plan to whip up some pear-applesauce with help from my daughter. It’s a good day.

Oh, and I saw a bald eagle on my way home. I figure it’s a good sign.


I got an extra large delivery this week of my regular CSA box, an extra fruit box, and some ground beef. I was expecting brocolli and cauliflower but instead I received tomatoes and extra lettuce and peppers. All part of the adventure. The mushroooms will be sauteed for tonight since they won’t keep well. I plan to make pear-applesauce over the weekend and I think the kiwis are going to be freezer jam. The green beans will be blanched and frozen. The yams will be boiled and mashed and appear in Molasses Yam Cookies. I think the turnips will be stir-fried with carrots. They sent me an abundance of shallots so I’ll have to do some planning there. The bananas that aren’t eaten will turn into banana bread as soon as they ripen up a bit. The ground beef and cherry tomatoes will become chili. I want to try making cauliflower-pepper soup so I may just go get myself a cauliflower. Hmmmmmm. They sent me Russet potatoes, which are great for making soups. This is the fun and adventure of CSA cooking!

A Change of Season

Posted: March 12, 2013 in CSA, Food and Cooking, Organic
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We are off on a new adventure! We are going to see how close to home we can keep our primary food purchases. By “primary” I mean the food we cook our meals with. That does not include snack food or junk food that is purchased outside of home. I won’t even try to tell my two teenagers they can’t stop at the corner store for a twinkie and a coke. I CAN control what we eat for meals in the home. We will be doing this a bit at a time. I’m not suddenly going to toss out what’s in my freezer or try to purchase local meat outside the normal “processing” season. This will take some planning and extra expense.

We have been long-time members of our neighborhood organic co-op. It is a small store where for $100 up front and a small yearly fee you are a voting member of the enterprise. My membership also entitles us to a discount.

I recently signed up for one of our local CSA programs. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Our produce is now delivered once a week to a nearby porch and we pay for it using PayPal.

If you are lucky there are several ways to join a CSA. The first option is to buy a CSA share. That is a “share” of the seasonal crops. This means you may be swimming in lettuce in summer and drowning in beets in the winter. If you are up for preserving foods it is a great option.

The second way is to buy a “box selection”. This is a box of seasonal produce (small or large boxes are available) supplemented with non-local, non-seasonal items. There are kiwis and mango in with my squash and potatoes. I can specify what we do and do not want in the box. For example I always want leafy greens but rarely want radishes and I never want rutabagas. I’m never quite sure what will arrive in my box but if I occasionally give away an item I don’t like it’s ok with me. The farmer often sends a list of what will be in the box but not always.

The third way is to just buy specific items. I can buy pantry items, meat, cheese, and eggs and have them delivered to the drop-off point.

Ordering this way is very satisfying. The locally harvested produce is always extremely fresh, it is all organic, it forces me to be a creative cook and adventurous eater, it supports local farmers and ranchers and it cost less than if I purchased it at the store.

Here is what I have coming this week – I ordered an extra fruit box because my freezer is a bit empty and I feel like cooking up a storm.


3 lbs. Fuji apples and 4 (individual) Cameo apples
4 lbs. bananas
9 kiwis
4 lemons
9 pears
2 avocados
1 coconut
3 lbs. of tangerines


1 lb. green beans
1 head broccoli
1 head green cabbage
1 lb. baby carrots
1 head cauliflower
1 bunch celery
1 bunch rainbow chard
1/2 lb green peppers
3 lbs russet potatoes
1 lb turnips
1 lb yams

Meat and Dairy

3 dozen pastured eggs
2 lbs pastured ground beef

Yes, that is a whole lot of food for a family of four. I don’t always buy this much. There was a special on the eggs and I am trying out various local ground beef sources to see whose I like better. I can buy organic ground beef at the grocery store but it is imported fom Uruguay. Since I can buy local beef for the same price so I do. My family (sadly) doesn’t like organic milk and we do not always eat organic meat. We do not buy all organic pantry items. I do read lables, however, and avoid foods with added fats and sugars. We aren’t perfect. My kids like their junk foods and I don’t prohibit it. I am not here to preach a specific way of eating. We are omnivores but if you are vegan that’s a perfectly legitimate choice. I’m not starting a vegetable garden.  I am just here to share two things – the adventure of eating more like our great-grandparents did and the joy of cooking.