City Fresh 15

A cool and rainy run to the CSA pickup this week.  The stroller, outfitted with blinking clip-on bike lights for visibility, kept J and the veggies toasty and dry inside.  City Fresh set up inside the library; here, we select our beets.  (Quote: “These beets are *very* dirty.”)

Bemused volunteers look on as we carefully select our squash (butternut, acorn, buttercup and a pumpkin — ’tis the season!).

This week’s take, in addition to the aforementioned: lettuce and beans, sweet potato, jalapeños (four measly ones, comparing poorly to the score from out back), orange and reddish-purple bells, parsley and cilantro, cayennes, carrots and some lovely red delicious.

City Fresh 12 & 13 (& 14)

View the entire series here.

Apples, chard and beans (green and yellow).  Peppers peppers peppers tomatoes tomatoes.  Squash, eggplant and zucchini.  Garlic, sweet potatoes, lettuce and Concord grapes.  Pumpkin.

Chard chard chard baked beans chard chard.  Yellow bell, Hungarian and banana peppers.  Pattypan and zucc.  Beans and sweet potatoes; tomatoes large and small, apples, a pumpkin and an acorn squash.  There was corn too, which we ate before the bounty made it the photography studio.

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While we’re here, let’s post the photo from week 14, too.

Peppers a plenty, squashes (to the tune of a zucc, eggplant, butternut and acord), basil and parsley, beets, lettuce, garlic and apples.  (Yes, it’s time to stop trying to take indoor photos with the camra-ma-phone.)

Our backyard harvest is hefty, too: in the past week or two: a couple dozen medium-sized tomatoes (and a similar number of grapes and cherries, though those are slowing down), a few nicely-sized cucumbers, a big basket of chard (the arugula is getting very spicy) and a lovely (and tasty) eggplant.  Also, about two dozen additional  jalapeños, for which cream cheese is on the shopping list.

City Fresh 11

This  week,

Tomatoes, orange and red; large and small.  A pair of pattypans and an eggplant.  Beans, basil and broccoli tops.  Garlic and sweet potatoes; corn; a small pumpkin.  Banana peppers, “Hungarian stuffing” peppers and some very nice-looking poblanos.

City Fresh 8

We had assistance from our food stylist again this week.

2 giant bell peppers, red onion, pattypan, assorted (mildly) hot peppers, packet of romas, packet of grape tomatoes, blackberries, green beans, jalapeños, cilantro, romaine, garlic, a dozen corn and fifteen okra.

City Fresh 7

Series here.

I’m not sure I’ve ever tried a pattypan squash before.  Also in this week’s take: peppers (green bell, banana, and a mild yellowish one that I think was labeled something-head), a watermelon, a fabulous butter lettuce, leeks and tomatoes (two sandwich-sized and a packet of gravel).  An eggplant, garlics, onion, carrots, beets, yellow beans, flat parsley, ten okra, four peaches and a half-dozen golden delicious.

I estimate 45-50 servings in that pile.  There are three of us, so this accounts for 2-3 servings per day for the week.  Seems about right.  We’ll pick something to mash so E can help too (maybe apple, maybe not banana pepper).

City Fresh 6

I had some help arranging this week’s take for portrait.

Zucc, squashes, two largish eggplants.  Kale and leafy lettuce.  Beans.  Tomatoes small (30?) and medium (12?).  Garlics.  In the microwave up top: two green bells, red and yellow onion and a broccoli.  Blackberries, a few of which may have disappeared on the ride home.

City Fresh 5

This just in.

Beets and collards; romaine, beans, spuds, carrots.  Grape tomatoes, yellow and red onions; eggplant, zucchini and summer squash; garlic, green bell peppers, three varieties of spicy yellow pepper, and six ears of early Ohio corn.  That’s right, it’s sweet corn season (and just in time for this weekend’s sweet corn ride!).

Sixteen… eighteen, I suppose, species this week.

Empty boxes from Dewey’s and shiny LG not included.

City Fresh 4

Read the weekly City Fresh posts here.

I suppose I might have considered that others would to have similar ideas about blogging their CSA take each week. Here’s a guy who takes some nice photos too, though the word on the street is that he has some prior experience writing about food.  (He lives in our neighborhood, but judging from his description attends a different CSA pickup.)

Last week’s recipes:

  • Lettuces in a salad, with salmon
  • Spring onions and leftover kohlrabi mixed with ground chicken thighs, consumed in lettuce wraps
  • Green onions in an awesome frittata
  • Chard and beet greens sautéed
  • Zucchini bread
  • Roasted potatoes with dill
  • Beets and green beans with a mustard dressing, aside some pork
  • Herbs, onion, zucc and summer squash in a delightful marinara
  • Dill pickles (from week two’s cukes and dill)

And, this week’s share:

Boston lettuce, collard, red onion, green and orange zucchini populate the basket stage right.  Also, yellow onions, spuds, skinny leeks, green tomatoes, a half-dozen of pickling cukes, beets (larger than last week’s), cabbage and beans; oregano, basil, and dill.  And jalapeños.  And garlic.

That’s seventeen different items this week, not including mister “it’s only ten o’clock and I’m not ready to sleep.”  These couple weeks of 90F must be starting to help the local harvest.

Local flavor

… a post in which I recovering and publish an old draft, adding train-of-thoughty ramblings.

Resurrection is partly in note of COSE’s “buy local” week, which I’m not sure it’s getting much press, aside from on the clevecentric blogs in my feed; partly instigated by my relative furor [**] over not discovering Blickbags before ordering my Timbuk2 messenger.  (The latter does a fine job for commuting and small errands, but it doesn’t scream faux-underdog-hipster like something made in 216.)

Similar is the 3/50 project‘s simple premise: think of three locally-owned, brick & mortar businesses that you’d miss if they were gone. Go there. Spend $50 that you might otherwise ship to a big-box retailer or online warehouse. The idea, of course, is that although you pay a little bit more to account for lost economy of scale (or your self-imposed restriction on pricing competition), a higher fraction of your expenditure returns indirect value to you: the business contributes to your local tax base, employs your neighbors [*] and invests in the same community in which you do.

The idea emphasizes something that I think often gets lost in the generic commercial landscape of the interconnected world: that our economic decisions should be made congnizent of their side effects. We see this more around us: that hybrid car won’t pay for itself, but there’s a social benefit that makes part of your purchase price a charitable donation to the commons. I know organically-raised grub probably doesn’t provide more nutrients, but maybe my choice has a side effect of less chemistry in someone’s dirt. This applies to 3/50 in the sense of the local commons: I’ll take care of my local dirt (or infrastructure, institutions or people) more than people far away because I care more about them. There are two assumptions, the morality of which might be debatable: first, we acknowledge that our economic system has externalities that are poorly accounted for; second, we allow such a strongly egocentrically-weighted utilitiarianism.

As an aside, the buy-local campaign works well with my goal to buy fewer, nicer things, balancing my thrifty instincts and making it easier to justify spending more than I must, in order to obtain those things best aligned with real life.  (Real life is the use of those things to experience, as opposed to the ownership of those things, a realization that I associate with the boundary between early-adulthood and adulthood).

Back to the topic at hand, three very easy local choices:

  1. Bike stuff. Everything costs a little more, but I get the item that best (or better) fits my use case, often in brands that rely on resellers to coach their customers, rather than employing a broad-advertising strategy. I would miss the expertise, option to test-ride parts, and availability of a $1.75 spoke available mid-commute.  [Counterpoint: no one is stitching cheap bike jerseys locally, and I have been known to order last-years clearance ones from a megawarehousestore.]
  2. Coffee. Available everywhere, and none is grown in Cleveland, but we have local roasters, which is a local investment in people and structure and contribute toward critical mass for export. The coffee shop is a very high-margin business, and I like to see my local joints reinvest (bagels from the local bagelier, pastries from the local baker) instead of shipping the profit margin to Seattle.  [Counterpoint: beer has more variety available, so I branch out to regional breweries.  But, I like to purchase it from my local, independent booze store.]
  3. Hardware. I don’t believe how long it look me to see the value of walking in, having a knowledgeable kid fetch me a packet of ten M8-40s and an unusual hinge, paying cash and leaving. I can’t walk from my car to the door at Home Depot in that amount of time. And, last time I needed wood glue, the proprietor suggested a brand I hadn’t seen before, and it works really nicely.  [Counterpoint: for paint’s huge price difference and lumber, the Despot it is.]

Those three are no-brainers; I can think of other examples, where the product is unique (farmers’ market, home decor boutique, indie restaurant) or the expertise of a longtime owner-operator is beneficial (mechanic, shoe store, nursery).

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[*] Sometimes literally; ours moonlights at the incredible Vine & Bean cafe.  Local restaurants are another no-brainer, where the product quality hinges on creativity and personal investment.  Chain restaurants are evil, and if I overhear you raving about your lunch with the girls at the Cheesecake Factory, I will hit you with something.

[**] Fury isn’t really in my repertoire.  Mild purchase-regret is about as wild as I get in that regard.