Thus far, our local eating challenge has been going really well. We’ve definitely been eating a lot more produce and relying much more on the farmers market. We’ve also been eating a more varied assortment of foods. This is the opposite of what I expected…I assumed that when we forced ourselves to stick to local, seasonal (but still affordable) foods, that our options would decrease. What I didn’t realize was how often I kept buying the same handful of items at the grocery store. At the farmers market, I am much more likely to try different things that might take a little bit more time or thought to prepare. I’m also gradually getting over my impulse to buy everything in sight every time I visit the farmers market. It helps a lot to know that I’m going to be back in a couple days. When farmers market is the default option, its much easier to exercise restraint and just buy what I need. I actually still have some veggies left in the fridge from last week, so this Sunday’s market trip was pretty simple: a half loaf of bread, strawberries, feta, sun dried tomatoes, and arugula. That giant bunch of arugula was only $1!
What really surprised me is how easy its been to go at least semi-local with the vast majority of of my non-farmers market food purchases. This was my Whole Foods haul for the week, and the only non-California item was the sugar. Everything else was from California, and most of it was from Southern California. I’ve been doing a fair amount of research on companies lately, but I think that once I know which brands are local, sticking to California food at the grocery store is going to be pretty easy. This is seeming like something that will be very sustainable in the long run as long as we keep up with getting to the farmers market or join a CSA.
I had a lot of fun cooking with my groceries today. Lately, I find myself more and more inclined toward simple preparations. When you have such delicious ingredients, you don’t really want to mess with them too much. I had some cheddar in the fridge that needed to be used up, so lunch was grilled cheese and an arugula salad with lemon and olive oil. There is something deeply satisfying about crunchy carbohydrate stuffed with melted cheese.
I also had some fresh strawberries. The vendor at the farmers market let me sample different varieties and pick out the ones that I liked the best. These are Camarosas. They were sweet and firm and definitely my favorite of the kinds that I tried.
The NBA finals were on tonight, so finger food was in order: grapes and pita pizzas.
I topped my pizza with homemade pesto, arugula, and sun dried tomato. This was really good. I particularly liked the sun dried tomatoes, which were more flavorful than many of the store bought ones I have tried.
Question of the day: Has anyone joined a CSA with a small number of people to feed (i.e. one or two)? Does the box have too much or too little food for your household? Do you have trouble using it before it goes bad?