It took three years, but I recently added back two critical parts of my Wisconsin life into my California life: a gym membership and a CSA.
I’d avoided jumping into both, as I wanted to get a better sense of my Bay Area finances, as well as see if I could substitute other California benefits (year-round outdoor access and fresh produce) for these two health choices.
While I made do with much, I realized I missed these healthy perks.
After the marathon, I found I missed other forms of exercise, and with a Fitness SF going in across from the office, I thought I’d join.
Those of you who followed me back in my Wisconsin days, may recall that I truly loved spending time in the kitchen. One of the big things keeping me in there was having a CSA box during the summer and challenging me with a weekly influx of fresh vegetables. I loved splitting my subscription to Rare Earth Farm with Becky each week.
Over the past 3 1/2 years, I’ve been educating myself on my options here in the Bay Area. I learned about the trend to get boxes that are aggregate of farms and where you can “pick and choose” your produce each week. While incredibly convenient, that doesn’t sound like a CSA to me, that sounds like online shopping from a farmer’s market. Taking Farm School with 18 Reasons last summer and being more involved in that community, I’ve learned more about local farmers and farms that truly run the CSA model of having a subscription for an entire season. However, deciding to do this in the middle/end of the season, I did need something where I could “join now.”
Luckily, one of the farms offering a join now, traditional CSA is one I’m familiar with AND that has a pick up spot just around the corner from my house on my work from home day.
That’s how I came to begin my subscription to Eatwell Farm last week.
As expected, that box of produce certainly keeps me busy.
From snacking on cherry tomatoes plain or with a bit of mozzarella, fresh basil and balsamic vinegar…
…to blowing that up into an heirloom tomato caprese salad over polenta.
I built a crockpot chili recipe around the peppers and shady lady tomatoes in the box…
1 cup black beans (soaked for an hour in boiling water)
2 cup lentils (soaked for an hour in boiling water)
2 shady lady tomatoes, cored and peeled
1 large bell pepper
3-4 gypsy peppers
1/2 head garlic
Spices (chili powder, Love Dust Mexican spice, salt).
Combine all in a crockpot and cook on low for 8 hours.
I modified this recipe slightly to roast up an eggplant, my remaining heirloom tomatoes and some of that basil.
I used more polenta to complement the produce, this time with zucchini:
And finally on the sweet side, besides snacking on plums all week, I was a huge hit at book club with the sweetest, green watermelon (who knew?):
And in trying out what to do with rose geranium, experienced a huge win and fail.
Rose Geranium Plum Muffins
Makes about 2 dozen
2 Tbsp chopped, fresh rose geranium
1/2 c. butter
1 1/2 c. of plums, chopped
3 1/2 c. flour
2/3 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
4 tsp baking powder
2 beaten eggs
1 1/2 c. milk
Melt/soften butter on stovetop and stir in rose geranium, put in fridge to infuse.
Combine dry ingredients in mixing bowl.
Combine eggs, milk, butter in separate bowl.
Mix together (I used KitchenAid mixer on medium).
Stir in plums.
Place batter into greased muffin tins, about 2/3 full. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes.
I’m sure there’s a way to make this recipe a bit healthier, but in a pinch it was flipping delish. Plus the muffins are pretty tiny, so you don’t feel super guilty about indulging.
Hopefully this will become a regular series as I continue to embrace my creativity in the kitchen each week. Can’t wait to see what I’m challenged by in Week 2.
Finally, I’ll sign off with a super adorable video about a project for which Eatwell is crowdfunding to more humanely raise their chickens. BABY CHICKS!