So you want to save money?
Many people tell me that it is challenging to afford organic produce. Organic produce is expensive and sometimes a bit sad after a five day trip from California. I have found a great solution for my family to bring affordable, organic produce into our lives. If want to eat healthy food and save money at the same time, the answer is simple, join a local C.S.A..
Community Supported Agriculture( C.S.A.) means paying to join a community that purchases part of a local farm’s harvest. It can cost around $30-50 per week depending on your share size. I joined the C.S.A. at the Sixth Street Community Center on East 6th Street about five years ago. The experience for me has been affordable, sustainable, delicious, and community satisfying.
Abundance is divine
Even though we are a family of three, with one very picky eleven year old, I always get a full veggie share with a fruit share. I just can’t resist!!! This is a massive amount of food, but I just don’t care. Everything is so yummy, smells so good, and I love opening my fridge and seeing it bursting at the seams with delicious, organic food.
Every week I create a marathon in my house to completely use the whole week’s C.S.A. In the time that I have been participating in the CSA, I have come up with some strategies that I wanted to share about how to use up the whole thing. It can be daunting, but rest assured that this road leads towards more energy for you and your family, and your little steps to helping our planet. Even though some of you may not belong to a C.S.A. or maybe don’t want to, below are some tips on helping you to preserve your food. I hope they help you and give you some yummy options on the winter nights when tomatoes are no longer in season.
Plan for the future
Herb Rendition- We can count on one or two fresh herbs and big bunches of chilli peppers most weeks. Instead of racking my mind for recipes to use them I immediately dry or freeze them. Chillies and bunches of herbs can be posted on a bulletin board until they are dried, then stored in ziplocks. Fresh herbs may be blended with walnuts, garlic and olive oil and frozen into ice cubes. If you feel like it later dried herbs can be rendered into olive oil or vinegar.
Dehydrate it- If you have a dehydrator, you can dry fruit, radish, beet slices, or zucchini. Season with herbs and you have yummy low calorie snack. If you lack a food dehydrator, just roast them the oven on a cookie sheet on a low temperature with a little olive oil and seasoning. Store in glass containers. Way better than store bought veggie chips.
Juice it- Any left over greens can be juiced. If you don’t feel like drinking it, you can dehydrate and make your own green powder for smoothies.
Pickle it- I keep an ongoing jar of pickles, kimchee and saurkraut. As you use it add more. Throw in your extra cucumbers, radish, carrots and cabbage. I always taste to re-adjust the seasoning. The liquid keeps forever and has loads of probiotics.
Dry it- Anything with seeds can and should be dried and saved. In ten years it might be hard to get organic seeds, Everyone should have their own seed library. Just put miscellaneous things with seeds- beans, peas, chilies, etc, on a plate and let them dry in the air. Label, date, and keep in the freezer.
Make Sauces- Tomato, hot pepper, green chili… the list goes on.
Share it- Kindness is a virtue, keep it cultivated. If you know you are not going to eat everything, or there are things that you don’t love, put together a bag for someone else. Give to a friend or drop it off at a food pantry. Someone will definitely enjoy it.
If you love fresh tomatoes, join my club
So, think about it. If you want to eat organic, there may be a C.S.A. in your neighbourhood that you can join and have some yummy produce starting tomorrow. For more info about what to expect from a C.S.A. and where to find one close to you, visit Local Harvest. If you do choose to jump in, get ready to eat like a champion.