The Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program through Green Gal's Garden is in full swing--we are already in week four of the twenty-week program! CSA boxes in the past month have contained a variety of veggies, such as chard, kale, summer squash, cauliflower, scallions, basil, dill, oregano, mint, rosemary, lemon balm, eggplant, spinach, cilantro, rhubarb, peas, flowers, blueberries, and more! The tomatoes are still green on their vines but there are hundreds of them, the corn is nearly ready, and the peppers are tempting me with their size but haven't started coloring up yet. So much deliciousness still to come! (See the latest photos from the garden on Instagram.)
I'm grateful for so much these days--the potential contained within seeds, the land I am able to farm this summer thanks to the generosity of soon-to-be-family, the encouragement and support from those who believe in my dream and have helped the garden grow.
On harvest days like today, I am particularly grateful for my supportive, enthusiastic, and friendly CSA members. I love harvesting veggies for them on Tuesday and Thursday mornings and seeing photos of the delicious meals they create with the food grown in the garden. Without them, Green Gal's Garden would have no one to share its bounty with and far fewer resources to make everything possible.
My dear friend Elly is one of my CSA members--she and her husband Aidan were actually the first people to sign up for the CSA! They just returned from their honeymoon to Italy (congrats again, you two!), and the other day Elly texted me expressing some thoughts that they'd had while eating delicious food in Sicily. I encouraged her to compile her thoughts into a blog post, and she did! Not only was she the first CSA member, but she's the first CSA member to write a guest post for the blog--and hopefully not the last!
CSA Guest Post: Why is Food More Flavorful Abroad?
My fiancé Aidan had been to Italy twice and often mentioned how the tomatoes, pasta, meats, and gelato did not compare to anything he had ever tasted in the United States. I thought to myself, "Sure sure, I bet it's good but how much better can it really be!" Oh man was I wrong. Our recent honeymoon to Sicily sent my taste buds soaring!
The first dish I ordered there was a typical Sicilian appetizer consisting of cooked tomatoes, olives, eggplant, onion, capers, and celery called caponata. Immediately I noticed how perfectly ripe all of the ingredients were and how even the olive oil the produce was cooked in packed amazing flavor. "Wow," I thought, "this is how food is supposed to taste like!" Throughout our trip the vegetables, meat, dairy, fruit, and herbs continued to captivate my senses.
Photos of flavorful food in Italy
When I finally returned home I reflected on the experience. "If produce can taste that amazing, why does food in America taste so bland in comparison?" Unfortunately, Americans are all about having things bigger and faster. The average American consumer wants produce that may be out of season, larger in size, blemish free, perfectly shaped, and brightly colored. This forces many farms to grow food that has been genetically bred to meet American standards, sacrificing lots of flavor in the process. Often times these types of fruits and vegetables produce larger yields and are therefore more desirable for the farmer to grow in order to maximize profits. While it is understandable that large farms choose to make more money over a more flavorful product, it made me really appreciate the importance of my local small scale farms.
I’m grateful to have the opportunity to get really flavorful food from my local Green Gal's Garden as well as from the many farmer's markets offered in my area. I've become inspired to support these protectors of produce varieties, lovers of food, and all around good people even more now that I’ve returned home.
If there is one thing I learned in Sicily it's that good food in good company is the best way to enjoy a really good life.
Thanks for reading, and happy summer!