So last year, along with working out with Mike the Trainer Guy, I started looking into eating differently, specifically, eating more fish and non-meat protein, less meat, more produce and basically trying different foods. Trying to wake up my taste buds as well as eat more healthfully. At the supermarket, as I'm looking for foods that are new and interesting to me, it seems that there are so many things there. So many things that don't seem all that food-like. So many things touting claims to have x% more omega-3 or y% less sodium or no trans fats, etc. etc. So many things with packaging that doesn't let you get a real good look at the food inside. So many things with long lists of ingredients. I was kinda hoping I could just eat some food.
So I started noodling around for information on, you know, food. Some friends/co-workers/patrons told me about veggie co-ops so I looked into those. For some you pay $X at the beginning of each season to a farmer or group of farmers. That gives them the funding to go about their farming business and gives you a share in their harvest. Every week (or every other week, whatever the co-op does), you go to the farm and pick up your share (or it gets delivered to a point person's house).
For others, you join a co-op and pick up a delivery of produce on usually a bi-weekly basis (some may deliver to your home). You can often get a trial basket, which is what I did for a couple of co-ops in the area. They all had good produce, but I eventually went with the bi-weekly The Big Basket from the Mountain Lakes Organic Co-op bc a) I like the person who runs it; b) I like the produce; c) I like that I don't have to do any work (some co-ops require that you take a turn receiving and dividing the delivery); and d) I like that I'm not obligated to get a basket when I'm away, I just have to tell the Head Veggie that I don't need a basket that particular week. So I buy 2 tote bags, one of which stays there for the next delivery. Here's a recent delivery:
Here's what's inside the bag. That's Eddie making a beeline for the pineapple leaves...he loves to chew on them. Miles, too. They gnaw and gnaw and gnaw on them. Actually, anything small and round is fair game for Miles. We now call the china cabinet the tomato safe and the potato safe bc he will bite into them and try to make off with them. What he intends to do with them once he gets them to the safety of his lair, I do not know. But if the tomatoes are left out on the counter, they will end up with bite marks all around them and sometimes he'll get one on the floor or, if it's a smallish tomato, he may get it out of the kitchen.
Ed's blocking the view of some of the produce, but this -- minus the cheese -- is $40 every other week. The cheeses and some other dairy products are in a fridge and you just add them to your order as you like and tack them onto the $40 check you leave.
We've gotten a few baskets so far and it seems that we always get a few greens (maybe a couple of lettuces and then something like chard, kale, etc.); root veggies; onions; apples; bananas; some citrus; and then some other stuff. In the above delivery, things we got then but don't always get are figs, strawberries, cauliflower, avocado.
I've really enjoyed the food we get from the co-op. It's fun to get surprises and figure out what to do with kale, chard, acorn squash...even celery. I found a great recipe for steamed celery from a Lidia's cookbook (I love what that woman does with food)...it was delicious and will make its way to the blog one Monday.
Now, what does this mean for my new year's resolution to save on groceries? Well, it will probably not help, although I don't know if it will hurt very much. And the stuff is so much better and gets me eating different stuff that it's well worth it. I think we may also tend to eat in more if we've got good stuff handy at home. In any event, I don't think $40 for two weeks worth of good produce for two people is exorbitant.
Although very handsome in his own right, the cat in the picture is not my even more handsome Miles, who can be seen here, resting after he's helped me make the bed (the above picture came from the ICHC site).
Quick mention here of a couple of good books about food: I'm currently reading Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma and recently read his In Defense of Food. They both give some good history into why our common, i.e., supermarket, food choices are what they are. Often it's just plain profit that drives certain food trends; other time it's advances in technology; most times it's a combination of profit motive plus something else.
So today's a pickup day; I'll pick up the goods after work tonight. I wonder what will be in there that I'll have to learn about preparing. I'll guess that one of these days there will be Brussel sprouts and I won't be ready for them.