Oh joy! Today marked the first day of my new CSA, and my first produce box ever! How exciting! (Well, exciting for me, and possibly also for the people I gave my money to for the privilege.)
I trundled the mile and a half to the drop point with my little red cart (uphill both ways, btw) and picked up a big ol’ box of gloriously fresh, local, and in-season produce.
The box from Eatwell, which cost me $27, contained enough produce that I felt I got my money’s worth. Everything was in beautiful shape save for one bell pepper (a rotted spot, easily cut out). The box contained:
2 pints of cherry tomatoes, so sweet I can never go back to grocery store varieties)
2 medium eggplants, perfectly firm
a bunch of fragrant basil, perky and bright green
a half-pound of tomatillos
a handful of hot peppers
2 sweet green peppers, small
several pounds of Roma and heirloom tomatoes
2 small and very sweet cantaloupe melons
1 lb of small potatoes
a half-dozen plums, which were decidedly yum!
I also paid the extra $8 for a dozen fresh, local, pastured eggs — very worth it. This is one food I don’t skimp on; eggs are a perfect food when they are from properly cared for hens. Supermarket eggs just cannot compare, neither nutritionally nor in taste. I believe in supporting local farmers, too, so now I can combine my desire for the freshest, most nutritious food with my need to treat the animals I eat as ethically as possible into one major league case of self-righteousness. 😉
A couple of of the heirloom tomatoes were too soft to eat in salads or on sandwiches, but since I was going to make a tomato sauce to go with that nice-looking eggplant and pungent basil, that was fine. Soft tomatoes are perfect for sauce; it’s the perfect way to use up fruit that’s just about ready to go over.
The plums were firm, and as a soft fruit lover I was prepared to dislike them. But there’s a world of difference between farm-fresh hard plums and supermarket-hard plums…supermarket plums are often plucked while still unripe so that they can be shipped thousands of miles without squishing, stored in atmospherically controlled chambers, and then artificially ‘ripened’ (meaning ethylene gas is used to make them turn a convincing ripish color). The local plums from Eatwell are tree-ripe, firm, juicy, and a perfect combo of tart and sweet.
The only problem with the quality of the produce overall was how very delicious everything was. The cherry tomatoes were so good we stood by the sink popping those succulent little gems into our mouths til we’d done in one whole basket and started on the other. Delectable noms. I can’t wait til next week — they promised more tomatoes!
Next post: Recipe for Salsa Verde made from tomatillos and hot peppers, and in which I learn that the admonishment to not touch your eyes if you’ve been handling jalapenos is a wise admonishment to heed.