My first CSA baskets of 2009 were delivered into Fonthill and St Catharines this week, and a desperate email from one of my customers made me realize how much I take for granted when I sell food to people who are used to buying all their food in the grocery store.
Apart from the bag of lettuce and the lilacs adorning the basket, she was unsure about what anything else in the basket was, or what the plants were that were part of her share. Her young son was unaware that food was even grown — he thought it came from the grocery store.
Bless them all, they'll learn this year and I am so pleased to have them as part of my CSA.
It made me realize how far away from our food sources and nature people have become. When we buy our food at the store, we depend on signs to direct us — names attached to bags of veggies and fruits. We don't pick up items and identify them by taste or smell. We don't think of what dish that smell would direct us to create. We think the sign says chard, carrots, bok choi, and that of course tells us how they SHOULD taste.
Green garlic for example, was in every one's basket. Most people are very familiar with the smell and taste of garlic. But in it's immature form, a number of folks were stumped, despite the very definite, in fact, unmistakable odour. No doubt about it, a little bite of any part of green garlic would convince you it is garlic.
And that little bite would direct you as to its use.
As a grower, I have the tremendous luxury of shopping the garden. Not much better than strolling through, tasting this and that, especially the first taste of something I've never grown before.
The CSA basket can be a small version of that because, of course, it is a sampling of what is in the garden. You have the opportunity to smell, taste, feel and let those senses guide your eating, as opposed to signs in a store telling you.
This is not my way of getting out of identifying basket items, not at all. But don't be afraid, it is all edible! Then check my blog for basket contents.
My "Tomato Days" was a great success. Hundreds of people from all over came, talked tomatoes and I hope will be pleased with their plants. Heirlooms seem to be hitting their stride. It is certainly time. Because of course, despite what the sign in the store says, those hard, red balls don't taste like tomatoes!
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