I have the attention span of a gnat lately — photos unedited, notes scrawled on scrap paper for recipe ideas, a half-finished video, four emails in my saved drafts folder. Each project tempts me down a winding path of more ooh shiny! topics and distractions. So many exciting things to do!
Blogging has turned into something I get to do once I finish my list. The problem is that I want to be blogging, so the other items seem like punishment in comparison. Let’s get back on track!
There are three main reasons I post my bi-weekly CSA share: to identify and demystify some of the “weird” vegetables that are found at farmers’ markets, to help inspire and educate people who may be on the fence about participating in a CSA to tilt one way (or the other – they’re not for everyone), and so I can plan dinner without having to go look in my fridge.
You’ll still find me at the neighborhood farmers’ market on non-pickup weeks. Our market is every Thursday from 3 to 7pm — I go early so there’s enough light for photos when I get home. This week I thought I would bring you along for my weekly walk. Isn’t the owl logo cute?
San Diego actually has a ton of farmers’ markets. Most (mine included) are small with a few stand-outs.
I try to take a different zigzagging route every time, but I have some favorite neighborhood gardens to walk past. We’re starting to look at houses (that sounds so scary and grown-up!), so it’s all in the name of research.
Someday I shall have bougainvillea…
One feature I love about San Diego is its unique neighborhood signs. Kill some time on Flickr checking them out!
Hello, North Park Farmers’ Market. The food trucks on the left were new last week. After running the delicious-smelling prepared food vendor gantlet, you reach the produce stalls ahead on the left.
My first stop is always the Suzie’s Farm stall. We pay online each quarter then show up on the appropriate dates to claim our produce.
My friendly marketeer goes and gets my box from the nice, shady truck while I nosily eavesdrop on other people’s conversations.
I’m always impressed how she oh-so-patiently explains, week after week, that no, tomatoes and peppers are not at the markets in May. See the summer squash on the left end of the table (below)? First of the season!
Our original pickup location was at a private residence where I unloaded a box from a stack in the driveway like a veggie thief. They actually sent my first share before they cashed my pre-online-payment-system check, so I sort of was!
The farm recently began offering smaller CSA shares, but ours is the “large” box which runs $25 per box and contains 10-15 different items. To buy the same items at the market would cost about $30, so you save about 20% by paying ahead and not picking things out yourself.
I consider $12.50 per week for the vast majority of my fresh, organic produce a good deal. For two of us, that’s $6.25 each. Two lattes? A “value meal?” A paperback book?
Other member benefits include specialty produce (like strawberries) when the yield isn’t large enough to sell yet, and special member events (last year we gleaned the strawberry fields).
The funny thing about getting “a box” every other week is that you don’t actually get the box.
Say hello to my favorite reusable bags. Grocery store cashiers usually ask where I got them, impressed with their capacity and snap-and-fold storage. They’re from a local grocery chain in Minnesota, much to the cashiers’ dismay.
The good thing is they hold tons of food. The bad thing is they hold tons of food.
The trek back home is a good work out!
… and I’m not even done shopping yet.
Next stop: Smit Orchards. We’re BFFs. The end-of-season apple display is relegated to a corner now that spring cherries are stealing the spotlight.
Smit sells apples, peaches, nectarines, cherries, and grapes, all listed in the “Dirty Dozen” most pesticide-ridden foods. Good thing theirs are organic and pesticide-free. (They’re not paying me to say this, but I wish they did so I could spend more money on their delicious fruit.)
Last week a gorgeous bottle of balsamic vinegar I am tempted to eat by the spoonful came home with me from Bistro Blends, but they weren’t there for this week’s photo op.
This is Tonya, the mastermind behind The Salt Farm gourmet sea salts where she offers a beautiful variety of natural salts, plus some lovely hand-crafted infusions and blends. I did some serious Christmas shopping with her and was thrilled with both her service and her products.
They also have lovely serving sets for fancy salts which I would buy in an instant if I thought my husband would not be peeved at my breaking of the firm “no more kitchen items” rule we have set in place. Sigh.
You can do salt tastings at the market which is a great way to compare the subtleties of her products. We got my mom the espresso infused salt (perfect for finishing chocolate chip cookies) and the lavender blend for my mother-in-law (great with lamb, chicken, or beef). The last vial of truffle salt came home with me, however. She adds new combinations all the time so I like to check back regularly.
Twenty pounds of produce gets lugged back home past my neighbor’s beautiful flowering vine pictured here. A friend came over the other day and actually stopped to snap a picture on her phone. Aren’t they spectacular? A Facebook friend informed us that they are called “passion flowers!”
Upon my return, the CSA share gets lugged upstairs near my only source of natural light to become the bi-weekly photos you see here. And that’s my routine!
Any questions? Do you have a local farmers’ market? What do you usually buy there?