Last Week

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I’ve gotten off my blogging schedule. Usually I post at 9am on Saturday and Wednesday, but this week I’ve been doing the fun stuff.

The week started with car troubles.  It’s a long story, but the car is running, and I live in denial that I need to fix anything.  I have decided what car I will buy next however it is 100% out of my budget. I’m thinking maybe I need a part time job…

Hot Yoga

hot-yoga

This style of yoga came highly recommended to me by a friend.  She told me that it was yoga in a sauna room that was not very hot, but just a warm room.  When the class before mine ended and every single person came out drenched in sweat and mascara running down their faces I knew I had been lied to.

One hour later and I was raccoon eyed and drenched too.  I may be hooked.  In fact, I decided to ditch my gym altogether, I may have to do a blog post about getting out of my contract.

Waste of time dates.  One I went to one and I pulled a no show on another.  Date number one was a shittier version of his pictures online.  He was covered in dog hair and may or may not live with his parents.  As he walked me to my car I noticed something.  I was walking a slow pace for me, and he was huffing and puffing, 90 year olds are more fit than this guy.  He had a freakishly large head and reminded me so much of this Family Guy character.

Celebrity City

The other date was as secretive as an undercover spy but was cute enough that I was willing to put up with his artful dodging of my questions.  At the last moment he changed the date to a bottle of wine on his couch.  I suspect he actually had a girlfriend and didn’t really care who showed up at his house that night.  With no one else on the horizon, I may have to meet the guy behind the dumpster at the 7-11 after all.

I also went to the farmers market to buy from my grumpy vendor.  This week she was happy, chatty and offered to put aside whatever I wanted since she was mostly sold out by the time I arrived.  I also made a quick stop at a small business vendor event at The Elk’s club in White Rock.

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Community Supported Agriculture Box 2015

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A long lovely blog post was written, and then poof! It was gone.

I just got the official CSA 2015 email!  (if you want to learn more about Community Supported Agriculture click here: http://www.pitchforkorganicfarm.com/csa-information/2015-csa-information/)

This year there are a lot more options, lots of add-ons like flower bouquets, eggs, and extra boxes.  However there are some downsides.  Last year I chose to do a short 16 week season as I was going on vacation and the last few boxes would have gone to waste.  They aren’t offering a short season this year.  This year the regular season is 22 weeks with the option to add-on a 4 week early spring season.  Unfortunately the price has gone up even with the early bird discount.  I’m pretty sure the boxes were $25 each last year and this year they are $32, with the early spring boxes being $30.  Last year it cost me $500, and this year it’s a rather painful $824. Ouch!  Correction, I redid the math, each box was $31 so about the same, but the longer season has sure upped the price.

I’m still going ahead with it though.  Aside from wanting to support my local farmer and wanting to eat as much organic produce as possible, there are other benefits.  I still have onions, garlic, beets, cabbage and half of a squash left from last season.  Although the CSA season was only 16 weeks, I’ve been eating from the stockpile much longer than that.  I’m thinking that a 26 week season should give me enough food for most of the year.  I was telling my friend about the cost this year and fully anticipated her telling me I was crazy.  Nope!  She thought it was great because she benefits too.  I give her the stuff that I don’t like -leeks, eggplant and radicchio!

The first boxes will arrive mid-April which Is still feeling like a long way away.  My plan is to blog each box every Wednesday.  Last season about half of the pictures were pictures that my farmer had posted on Instagram, this year I will not be so lazy and will take my own pictures.  If you want a sneak peak, follow me on Instagram!

Farmer’s Market Burnout

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I think part of the charm of going to farmer’s markets is getting to know the people that produce your food.  I like going around and chatting up my favorite people.  Truth be told it’s probably when I’m the most outgoing.  Last summer I brought a friend to the market and she commented that I made eye contact and smiled at everyone and talked to everyone- she thought it was weird for me.  Overtime I think I developed a connection with the vendors and that’s what keeps me coming back.

I’m sad to hear that my CSA farmer will no longer be doing the farmer’s market circuit.  I really liked seeing them every week and chatting about the farm, and how things were going.  They’ve opted to drop the CSA boxes at a central place for people to pick-up.  I assume that they won’t be at the pick-up locations which is too bad.

Last Saturday was the New Westminster winter market.  I’ve missed the last few, and so made a point of going to this one.   There was one vendor that I really wanted to buy from and made a B-Line for.  Here’s the thing, I love the product, but cannot stand the producer.  There is something about the attitude, like me buying is such a pain in the ass for them.  Not a smile or a bit of banter to be had although I buy something every week.  This time there was someone else manning the table, a smiling, happy face that made me feel happy.  I ended up buying more than I had originally planned, and it was a good experience.

SOUPNAZI

I got to thinking how much do the farmer’s market vendors actually like being at the farmers market?  My CSA farmer says it’s too much work and would rather just do more CSA boxes.  I can understand that everyday at the market means a day not working on the farm.  The other vendor has a brick and mortar store, so maybe the farmer’s markets are just for promotion of the main store.  Maybe it’s just a case of farmer’s market burnout.  I found it draining to be self promoting at vendor events every week for a couple of months and the farmer’s market season is much longer.  How to prevent the farmer’s market burnout?  I’m not sure, but I think a good start is to tell the producers just how much they are appreciated.  My intention is to win over my grumpy vendor this year.  I want to feel good about buying from them every week instead of dreading the attitude.

CSA box week 12

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week 12

 

Another killer box from my farmer.  Beets and onions went into the stock pile.  Tomatoes, cilantro, jalapeno peppers and onion became fresh salsa which I put on beans, rice and topped with avocado.  The blueberries I was so excited for!  The last time blueberries were in the box I gave that box away because I was on vacation.  They were delish!  I’m always so sad when blueberry season ends, it’s a long wait until they are available again.  Luckily for me I bought 30 pounds of frozen blueberries to get me through the winter.  I had already stocked up on raspberries and bananas and wasn’t sure I could fit it all into my freezer at once.  It wasn’t easy, but eventually it all fit.

packaging up for smoothies.  2 cups per bag

packaging up for smoothies.

My freezer from last month:  40 lbs bananas, 30 lbs blueberries and 10 lbs raspberries

My freezer from last month: 40 lbs bananas, 30 lbs blueberries and 10 lbs raspberries

Back to the CSA box, butter lettuce was such a nice change from the endless red leaf lettuce.  I made lettuce, tomato, sweet onion, avocado sandwiches with gluten free Portuguese buns from the farmers market.  It’s been about 7 years since I’ve sandwich in a bun, gluten-free baked goods have come a long way.  Next week I think I’ll buy some more.  More carrots, some of these I juiced, the rest went into stir fries.  Finally there was kale.  I actually didn’t know what it was!  I thought it might have been some sort of collard, but it’s flat leaf kale.  It seems all I ever see in the stores is curly leaf kale, I figured that just how all kale was.  I chucked it all into my morning smoothie.

CSA Week 11

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A massive box this week

A massive box this week

This week my farmer passed me my box and right away I commented how heavy it was!  There are some definite highs and lows here.

1. Leeks.  I seriously don’t know what I’m going to do with these.  The last bunch I gave away to my dad and he hasn’t used those ones yet.  He’s not super keen to take more.  Suggestions needed.

2. Zucchini- I added these to the pile of zucchinis from the previous weeks and then realized I gotta start using them!  I spiralized half of them into noodles and made massive salads and I juiced the balance.  Wondering what I mean by spiralized?

spiralizer

I spiralize cucumber, zucchini, and carrots into noodles and either treat them like past noodles or do a noddle salad.  Change the texture of the vegetable and it’s like it’s something completely new and different.

3. Potatoes… added to the stockpile.

4. Gem squash – I haven’t used these, I’m waiting for the weather to cool and then I’ll bake them and then add them to a salad.  I’m not the biggest squash fan, I fear this is the start of many more to come.

5. Corn- again I chowed this down so quickly.  I brought the corn with me to work and was eating it at my 10am coffee break.  My co-workers thought it was weird, but why wait until lunch, it was as sweet as fruit!

6. Beans.  I polished off last week’s yellow beans in record time.  I was at a berry farm on the weekend and saw that they were selling beans for dirt cheap.  I didn’t anticipate that I would be getting more beans, so I bought a massive bag.  Fast forward to mid way through week 12 and I am still trying to eat all these beans.  I should probably have made pickled beans, and will probably regret it later.

7. Tomatoes- All of the tomatoes this year have been super ripe.  I don’t know if this is how ripe they are supposed to be.  Maybe the supermarkets have trained me to think that tomatoes should be kinda hard.  Essentially they all needed to be eaten in a couple of days.  I ate a lot of salads, and I ended up juicing some of them.

8. Swiss Chard – I actually ran out of swiss chard part way through the week for the first time ever.  I found myself hunting in the fridge for something, anything green I could toss in my morning smoothie.  I’ve actually had swiss chard in my garden all summer but haven’t touched it because my farmer has been giving me so much.  Silly me I forgot all about it.

9. Eggplant.  As a rule I don’t like it, it’s the slimy texture, I just can’t stand it.  I’m sure I read an eggplant jerky made in the dehydrator somewhere, now I just gotta find it.

10. Poblano peppers- I probably should have used these to make salsa, but I didn’t have cilantro and I just knew it wouldn’t be the same.  These peppers are still waiting for me.

CSA week 10

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My favorite box of the season

My favorite box of the season

It’s been a busy August full of lots of fun things and some changes.  I scheduled a lot of posts way in advance so I could take time to chillout and enjoy without thinking about what I was going to blog.  Today I realized that a post should have hit the blog at 9am today, but I hadn’t written anything.  Apologies lovely readers. 12 hours late I’m sitting in my garden while the hose is rejuvenating my veggie plants after a hot day.

So week 10 of the CSA box was my absolute favorite.

1. Sweet onions- added to my collection of onions.  I won’t be buying onions until the spring I think!

2. Cherry tomatoes- a rainbow of sweetness, red, yellow and purple.  I pretty much ate them with everything, and they didn’t last long.  Each colour had it’s own flavour and consistency.  They yellow was softer and sweeter and the purple were more firm and less juicy.

3. Beets- also added to my crisper of veggies that keep well.  I did toss some of the greens into my morning smoothie but I find they go limp so quickly that I often don’t use them fast enough.

4. Cucumbers and zucchinis- cucumber is one of my favorite things to add to juices.  For some reason this week I just haven’t felt like juicing.  I have pretty much used my juicer every single day for the last 4 years, so this is really unusual for me.  Instead I’ve become obsessed with lemon and cucumber water steeped overnight in the fridge, it’s been the perfect summer drink this year. The zucchinis sat neglected in my fridge until week 11.

5. Carrots- also added to the stockpile and ignored until week 11.

6. Beans- oh man am I in love with beans this year. I’ve been eating them raw and adding them to everything imaginable.  It’s amazing how often people see me eating them raw and comment  that they didn’t know it was a possibility.  Inevitably they grab a bean, taste it and comment that it tastes the same as cooked.  I don’t know why that is a surprise to most people.

7. Cabbage- added to the fridge and ignored until week 12.  Are you seeing a pattern here?  There was a tipping point when I thought I can’t possibly pick-up my CSA box today, my fridge is still full.

8. Corn!!!  Oh my giddy aunt this corn was so freaking good.  It was so sweet and best of all it is GMO-free.

 

 

CSA week 9

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week9

Honestly that is such a massive box!

More F-ing swiss chard. I cannot begin to tell you how over swiss chard I am. I put 2-3 leafs in my morning smoothie, and I try to make a stir fry once a week to use up the stalks. It’s a losing battle my friends. I finally asked my farmer if there would ever be spinach again? She told me it’s just too hot and it goes to seed too fast. However they just planted some for the fall, so I will have to wait 5 weeks for spinach.

Tomatoes and cilantro and sweet onion?  Sounds like salsa, but I really wish there was a hot pepper in there. I might turn this into a salad dressing type thing.

I’m thrilled to see more garlic, I have big plans to roast you!  I have already been warned that this is it for garlic until next year.  It’s heart breaking news.

So many beets!  I think I’ll just stock pile these for a while and then do a roasted veggie pot with potatoes, carrots, onions, garlic and what ever else comes along in the box.. squash???  It’s too hot right now and these will keep for a long time.

Zucchini I think I will spiralize and toss in a salad with lettuce, tomato and avocado

Dill, I have no plans for you whatsoever. I dried the last bunch, and I really don’t need anymore dried.  I wish it wasn’t so hot, I might have done some sort of dill, beet, potato, onion dish… maybe I still will.

This week I picked up my box, then went out for dinner and then returned to the farmers market with my sister’s family.  They hadn’t been before and it was fun to see the market through fresh eyes.  I see the vendors every week, so I don’t always go to every booth.  This week I think I talked to every vendor!  I even bought a beet/horseradish tapenade from a vendor I had never spoken to.  It’s delish, and similar to a aussie beet dip my sister brings me from Hong Kong.