August 09, 2006

The farmers' market comes home -- this week's CSA box

"A modest garden contains, for those who know how to look and to wait, more instruction than a library." -Henri Frederic Amiel, 'The Private Journal of Henri Frederic Amiel'

After four days touring the bay area, today the market comes to me.

For me, my CSA box is like a bi-weekly holiday gift. Every other Wednesday a small cardboard box appears on my doorstep, stuffed with the freshest organic produce the Capay Valley northwest of Sacramento. Heirloom cherry tomatoes and just-picked spinach one week. Red flame grapes and lemon cucumbers the next.

I joined Farm Fresh to You last summer after doing extensive internet research on the bay area CSA options. My main objectives were to increase the quantity and variety of vegetables in my diet, and to support a small local producer in the process. In a year I've gotten all of that and so very much more.

After thirty-odd years avoiding them like the plague, my Farm Fresh to You experience has taught me to appreciate carrots even if I don't love them. It's introduced me to parsnips, kale and lemon cucumbers -- vegetables I would have skipped at the farmers' market in favor of something more familiar. This in turn has introduced me to new recipes and spurred some creativity in the kitchen.

This week's box brings late summer staples: cucumber, basil, green grapes, mini new potatoes, juicy canteloupe and heirloom tomatoes. The perfect inspiration for a salad of tomatoes, cucumber, red onion and grapes for our family barbecue this Saturday. And for dessert we'll slice the melon.

Stay tuned... tomorrow I head to my "home" market in Danville.

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