Changing Seasons, Changing Habits

As I mentioned in this post, I recently joined a CSA, Appalachia Star Farm. I am LOVING it so far, and I have definitely been forced out of my patterns thanks to okra, fennel, and hot peppers. Here’s the full list of what I received the first two weeks:

CSA Shares, weeks 1 and 2

I had dreams of making a tomato and ricotta tart, with my lovely Week 2 tomatoes, but my work schedule made this impossible, and I happily settled for pasta with tomato sauce instead. As I prepared myself for my Week 3 share, I had a realization: I have changed my habits in the sense of trying new veggies, but I have not changed my habits in terms of what I pack for lunch each day, and thus I have been having to work hard to eat all of my vegetables during the week.

So, for week 3, my goal was to plan my meals (lunch AND dinner) so that I utilized my CSA first, and added other things only after finishing the veggies from my share.

CSA Share, Week 3 (plus eggs, butter, arugula, and kale)

Week 3:

Tomatoes
Basil
Watermelon
Peppers
Eggplant
Sweet Potatoes

Over the weekend, I roasted eggplant and sweet potatoes; made a pasta sauce of tomatoes and green peppers; made a batch of basil pecan pesto; and sliced up the watermelon. It looks like I will just get through this weeks supply before Saturday morning! I received my weekly newsletter today, so I know what I should be getting. I’d love any suggestions for creative things to do with Week 4‘s share (especially the okra…):

Lettuce
Garlic
Potatoes
Okra
Tomatoes (either big tomatoes, or Roma tomatoes, or cherry tomatoes)
Hot Peppers
Parsley

Lovely peppers

In addition to changing my habits, eating locally from my CSA is making me even more aware of the changing seasons. Kathryn from Appalachia Star Farm described this beautifully in her newsletter:

“We have definitely noticed a shift in production the last week – with cooler temperatures at night and cloudy or rainy days, summer crop production has dropped quite a bit.  And while we do still have late plantings of tomatoes and summer squash, for instance, they won’t ever be as productive as those late July and early August plantings.  We still have tomatoes for the shares, but significantly less than some of the last few weeks.  But then – you might not mind having a few less tomatoes to get through at this point in the season!  For me that is part of the beauty of living in Virginia – having 4 seasons and something to look forward to in each of those seasons.  In the winter, just when I think I can’t bear to eat another turnip or cabbage, the spring salad greens come in.  And after I’ve eaten my fill of lettuce and arugula I can switch over to cucumber and tomato salads and BLT’s and pesto and all the bounty of summer!  And now that I’ve eaten tomatoes every which way I can possibly think of, I start to dream of kale and turnips again!”

As summer gives way to fall, we change our habits, settling back into routines. The days shorten, the temperatures cool down, and things move at a different pace. My time in the kitchen becomes precious, as I squeeze it in to my busy work days and fun-filled weekends (fall means football games and lots of friends passing through Charlottesville!).

I am so glad I joined the CSA, forcing me to get to the market, to eat seasonally, to get into the kitchen, and (even just for an hour) to slow down.

-L

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2 thoughts on “Changing Seasons, Changing Habits

  1. You should make gumbo! It would use not just the okra, but garlic, some of the hot peppers, and parsley too! You could even serve the potatoes with it as opposed to a traditional rice. Its also a great dish to make to have leftovers ready for later in the week…and something tells me your Foodie Pen Pal box has all the supplies you need!

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