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Stalking the Veggie Van…

2008-06-04_csa-first-box_0001The  JavaKids love vegetables.

I don’t know how I ended up so lucky… whether it was following my sister’s advice to feed them green beans as their first baby food after rice cereal, some sort of divine intervention, or winning some sort of genetic lottery… but many times, given the choice between some sort of junk food or raw veggies, my kids will pick the veggies.  I have to pre-wash all vegetables before storing them in the fridge because JavaGirl will break into sealed packages of mushrooms and start munching on them when I’m not looking.  JavaBoy can clear out a crudites platter at any party.

So when I first learned about community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs, it didn’t take long to convince me of the benefits.  We ended up going with a very popular local one, Great Country Farms, which delivers the produce right to your door, but also allows you to go to the farm to pick additional bonus items.

We split a share with another family, which means two crates get dropped off at one house each week.  Last year the deliveries went to their house, so we never saw the delivery vehicle.  But yesterday, I happened to be behind a green van on the highway with a sticker that said GCF and the license plate “VggieVan” (or something like that) and I suddenly realized, we had spotted an honest-to-goodness Great Country Farms delivery van.  “Hey kids, look, it’s a Great Country Farms van!  They must be making deliveries!”  It was the first week of CSA deliveries and the kids were excited to see a veggie van — I suspect that their little minds were trying to figure out a way to hijack the van and get all the veggies — without earning a time-out from Mommy.

So perhaps I should not have been too surprised when I woke up this morning to a little boy jumping excitedly next to my bed at an ungodly hour…

“Mommy!  Mommy!”

“What time is it?”

“Mommy! Mommy!”

<JavaDad, standing there, looking slightly guilty, with a Diet Coke for me in his hands, knowing that this is way too early an hour to wake me up.>

“Sorry honey, I tried to hide it.”

“Mommy!  Guess what!  The veggie van came!  Our farm vegetables are here!”

Oh my!  You would have thought Santa Claus had come the way he was carrying on.  About kale, asparagus, spring onions, and strawberries.

And so begins our second CSA summer — we will pick strawberries, blueberries, peaches, raspberries, blackberries, and beans.  We’ll dig up peanuts (THAT was an adventure last year!)  We’ll ride the hay ride.  We’ll talk about all the varieties of fruits and vegetables.

And we’ll stalk the veggie van — hoping to get a glimpse of it like some kids listen for the ice cream truck.  Ah, summer.

I’m always looking for recipes for the fruits and veggies that come from the CSA and I know lots of people in the area belong to the same one — please share your favorite recipes here!  If we get enough of them, I’ll start a separate page for them.  This week I have kale, asparagus and spring onions… and not from the CSA but from my own garden I have lots and lots of basil (purple basil) to use up!

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  1. Here’s the green onion dip recipe I liked last year — typing it out in case the link ever disappears. Note, I prepared it as originally posted although some reviewers made modifications. It definitely gets better as it has a chance to sit and let the flavors blend, so make ahead of time.
    Prep time: 5 minutes, Let chill 2 hours, makes 12 servings
    INGREDIENTS:
    1 cup mayonnaise
    1 cup sour cream
    1/2 cup green onions, sliced
    1/2 cup fresh parsley
    1 teaspoon Dijon-style prepared mustard
    1 clove garlic, minced

    DIRECTIONS:
    1. In an electric blender or food processor, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, green onion, parsley, mustard, and garlic. Blend until smooth. Cover and chill before serving.

    Note: if you overblend, it can be a bit goopey, if after chilling it is still not the right consistency, blend in some cream cheese and it will be just as yummy!

    Here’s the link where I found it (I don’t know if this is the original source):
    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Green-Onion-Dip-I/Detail.aspx

  2. Here’s a very different (for a Southern girl!) kale recipe, but quite yummy — I made it last year and plan on making it later this week. I believe I made it as originally posted.

    http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Sweet-and-Savory-Kale/Detail.aspx

    Sweet and Savory Kale
    Prep time: 25 minutes, Cook time: 30 minutes 6 servings

    INGREDIENTS
    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 small onion, diced
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    4 teaspoons white sugar
    1 tablespoon cider vinegar
    1 1/2 cups chicken broth
    4 cups stemmed, torn and rinsed kale
    1/4 cup dried cranberries
    salt and pepper to taste
    1/4 cup sliced almonds

    DIRECTIONS
    Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic; cook and stir until the onion softens and turns translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in the mustard, sugar, vinegar, and chicken stock, and bring to a boil over high heat. Stir in the kale, cover, and cook 5 minutes until wilted.
    Stir in the dried cranberries, and continue boiling, uncovered, until the liquid has reduced by about half, and the cranberries have softened, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with sliced almonds before serving.

  3. We belonged to Great Country Farms for 10 years and just the year decided to shop the farmer’s market instead. I literally could not handle one more spring of dealing with Kale (I sauteed it with garlic, butter and bacon, thus robbing it of any nutrition whatsoever.)

    GCF was a pretty good deal when I had the energy to go U-pick. Bruce used to set us free in the blackberry fields ~ we’d come home with gallons!

  4. Also for the basil (mine’s great too) I’m going to make Basil Vodka Gimlets from epicurious.com this weekend for Father’s Day

  5. I haven’t made the basil vodka gimlets yet — but I did make basil lemonade and that was pretty good. If you and I are looking at the same recipe — the one where you make a syrup with basil and lemon zest — I just haven’t had a chance to make the syrup yet, but I thought I’d give that a try for both gimlets and lemonade.