I have been very fortunate to come from and marry into a family interested in having their own vegetable gardens. Every summer, I am pretty much guaranteed that my family CSA will supply me with organic vegetables once a week. My in-laws, with acreage, have devoted a quarter of their land to harvesting their own vegetables.
The variety includes squash, potatoes, eggplant, cucumbers, okra, lettuce, spinach, chard, garlic, onion, cilantro, mint, tomatoes, green beans, pears, cantaloupe, chili peppers, and much more. Needless to say that my grocery bill is substantially lower during this time of year.
Eating from the garden, in short, tastes better. Much much better. Fruits taste sweeter. Vegetables taste fresher and just generally have more flavor.
As a gesture of gratitude, I cooked a meal to thank those that have given me more than just produce – but really a new way about thinking about cooking and quality of food. This Foodbuzz 24×24 menu is comprised of local organic, sustainable or organic ingredients.
Blueberry Mint Soda
Fried Green Tomatoes
Warm Goat Cheese Salad with Balsamic Reduction
Pan-seared Halibut over Wilted Spinach, Texas Portobello Mushrooms and Tomatoes with a Citrus Shallot Dressing
Peaches with Homemade Vanilla Bean Buttermilk Ice Cream
Served on a (fortunately) cooler Texas evening, we enjoyed this meal outside near the vegetable garden. Served family style, this experience was more than a meal but a celebration of the people who dedicated themselves to feeding themselves and their families better.
When I first started grocery shopping and cooking for myself, thinking about where my food comes from was not even in my thought process. In my mind, shopping at the big chain stores for cheaper blueberries and shopping at an organic store for duper expensive blueberries would yield the same result, the former just requiring an additional rinse under some cold water.
Well, times have changed and I’ve grown a bit wiser. In this global world where any food is accessible year-round, I now focus on buying for the season rather than for the sale. In the end, the product is not the same.
Instead of investing in produce that has traveled thousands of miles, I encourage you to check out your local farmer’s markets, join a CSA, buy seasonally, or grow a garden, no matter how small. Growing and knowing the food you eat will change how you look at your plate.