My CSA finally started last week! The harvest on the East Coast seems to have gotten off to a slow start, but I don't mind because I was away when my vegetables should have started to roll in. Now that I'm home, I don't get to miss out on any bit of it!
I have been in love with the farmer's market for several years now. It's wonderful to go and pick out produce that you know is fresh, in season and local. I like knowing where my food comes from. But the CSA is an even more fulfilling experience: not only do I get vegetables that were picked that very morning (usually), but I get to pick some myself as well. Besides knowing that my produce is as fresh and delicious as it can get, I have seen several other benefits to this arrangement. First of all, I have an increasing respect for farm workers of all sorts. Now, I understand how difficult farming can be - one of my favorite books is Little House on the Prairie - but that intellectual understanding is totally different than the one I have gained by spending an hour in 90 degree heat bent over strawberry plants and snap pea vines. Second, I feel like I have made an investment in something worthwhile. I find it very soul-less to invest in stocks and commodities, making a profit off of companies that I will never see, that will never care about me in the least. This investment comes with a return that I have anticipated for months, and will look forward to week after week until the season ends. And besides that, I feel a sense of pride in walking onto the farm, knowing that I am a part of this effort to coax sustenance from the bare soil.
After spending yet another hour under the blazing sun this afternoon, plucking three pounds of snow and snap peas from their vines, I knew I had to do them justice by using them as soon as possible. These delicate beauties are best right away - storage in the refrigerator converts some of their sugar to starch, taking away from the flavor. I found an appropriate recipe in one of my produce cookbooks that used not only the snap peas, but the first slender zucchini of the season, fresh spring onions, and a handful of parsley from my garden. I wouldn't say this is the best vegetable dish I've ever had - it didn't blow me away - but it does justice to the vegetables by celebrating their individual flavors, which makes it an excellent early summer dish, in my opinion. Now if only the temperature would drop a bit so I could enjoy this outside . .
Snap Pea Stir Fry over Parsley Orzo
From the Rolling Prairie Cookbook. I'm already finding this book indispensable - it was originally done for a CSA, so the recipes are organized by the name of the fruit or vegetable, with two to four recipes each, so when you come home one day up to your ears in bok choy, you can more easily figure out what to do with it.
1 tbsp sesame oil
3 cloves garlic, minced