Saturday, August 11, 2007

Saturday, August 11: Day 11

Today was, once again, food procurement day. Scott went to the Dane County Farmers' Market as usual. He also went to the Westside Community Farmers' Market (for milk and yogurt) as usual.

We also got food from two new sources today. First, we are lucky to have a friend who goes out of town at this time each year and we get her CSA box from Harmony Valley Farm (click the link for a list of what was in today's box). Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a partnership between a grower and a consumer whereby the consumer pays to cover the farm's operating expenses in exchange for a portion of the harvest. The business idea originated in Japan where the practices is called teikei, literally "putting a farmer's face on food." Belonging to a CSA is great for people interested in eating locally but who choose not to garden or who want more variety than one family's garden can provide. CSA is a relationship that provides a healthy business, healthy land stewardship and delicious food to eat! You can pick a CSA with with mostly standard produce or pick one that throws in the unusual occasionally. We had fresh amaranth greens in our box today and served them as a salad with a warm bacon and shallot vinaigrette (our vinegar is finally ready!) We also got two exotic melons (Butterscotch and Orange French) that we can't wait to try. For more info on local CSA options in Madison contact the Madison Area Community Supported Agriculture Coalition. Click here to find a CSA anywhere in the US.

The second place we visited knocked my socks off. It is a farm West of Madison called The Tree Farm (thanksKevin!) The place has been in business since 1973 and is a pick-your-own vegetable and tree farm. They have tomatoes, cucumbers, okra, potatoes, herbs, flowers--you name it! The quality is wonderful, the quantity is staggering, the setting is amazing and the prices and fantastic. You must bring your own containers and follow their rules (nothing onerous) and the joy of harvest can be yours. Honestly, after today I feel I never have to yearn for a giant garden again. I can go harvest every year and preserve for winter. We picked a few tomatoes (ahem!) and sauce is reducing in our kitchen as we speak.

It took the whole day and quite a few dollars to outfit ourselves for another week of feeding ourselves from our immediate surroundings. I appreciate the hard work of farmers more than ever and I marvel at the diversity and succulence of what grows right here at home.

Oh yeah--what we ate:
Breakfast: toast with peanut butter and cider and blueberries
Lunch: snacked on produce and cheese and crackers all day
Dinner: cornbread, amaranth salad with bacon, corn on the con, red peppers and cucumbers

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