Rhinebeck Bus Trip 2014

Monday, April 14, 2014

Spring = Fresh Produce!

One thing I love about Lancaster County is the availability of fresh produce.  In Spring and Summer (and into Fall), you can buy fresh, local produce all over the county.  There are numerous road-side stands, there are farmers markets, there are farm stores, and even the grocery stores carry local produce.  Fresh, local produce is a dream come true for vegetarians.

I love being able to support local farms.  I love eating produce that was picked when it was ripe (instead of ripening while it's being transported somewhere).  I love being able to talk to the farmers, and find out about the pesticides they use.  And the flavor!  There is nothing better than produce that's been picked when it's ready to be picked.  The flavor is amazing.

I often feel bad for people in big cities.  I've seen the produce there and it just doesn't compare.  I can understand why so many people don't like vegetables.  I believe it's simply because they haven't had good vegetables. 

Spring always excites me because I know that local produce will soon be here.  This year, I'm joining a CSA (community-supported agriculture).  You pay a certain amount, up front, and then you get produce every week during the growing season (my CSA's growing season is June-mid November - that's almost 6 months of fresh, local produce!).  My CSA also has pick your own flowers, herbs, hot peppers, strawberries and blueberries that are included in the "share".  I am SO excited!

Participating in a CSA forces you to eat produce that's in season (where you are).  I believe that this is the best way to eat.  It's good for your body, it's good for your local economy.  It also encourages you to try new things and to be creative (you know, come up with 30 different ways to prepare tomatoes).  I believe the benefits outweigh the struggles.

The CSA I'm joining doesn't use pesticides.  They practice good soil management (rotating crops, growing cover crops).  They also work with Goodwill Industries and provide jobs for people with disabilities.  Jobs for local people, supporting local businesses, and fresh produce?!?  It's a win-win situation!

I recently purchased a new cookbook:  The Oh She Glows Cookbook, by Angela Liddon. 

It's a vegan cookbook.  I'm not vegan (vegans don't eat dairy or eggs or honey), but I'm not opposed to eating vegan.  This cookbook is based on Angela's popular blog.  Her recipes are great for anyone with dietary concerns.  Many of her recipes are gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free.  She also includes adaptations to make the recipe (gluten, nut, grain free).  One of the things I love about this cookbook is that Angela doesn't rely on commercially prepared meat substitutes.  She also tells you how to make things for yourself - like almond milk, or vegan mayonnaise. 

The first thing I made, and my snack for today, is the Roasted Chickpeas.  The preparation is so simple, and they are very yummy!  One of my co-workers is allergic to peanuts.  She tried the roasted chickpeas and said that they are a good peanut substitute (she misses eating peanuts).

In summary, I'm so excited about Spring because of good food and new recipes! 

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