Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wednesday Market Basket

Every other Wednesday on my lunch break, I go to a certain parking lot, and meet up with a guy at the back of his van. He checks my name off a list, and then he hands me a bag. The bag is always really heavy, but I don't look inside. He slips a piece of paper into the bag, for me to read later.

I take the bag home, and then I finally look inside to see what he gave me. Here's what I got today:

My employer participates in the Santa Monica Farmers' Market Basket Program.

A bag filled with seasonal organic fruits and vegetables, chosen by the Market staff, is delivered to you. You choose the size you want, and you choose whether you want a Basic bag or a Specialty bag.

The cool thing is its kind of like getting a Christmas stocking - you know you're getting something, but you don't know what!

In past market baskets/bags I've received - among other things - English peas, parsnips, golden beets, savoy cabbage, broccoflower, shitakes, dried nectarines, and blueberries. For a couple of weeks they kept giving us blood oranges - oh, the blood-orange mimosas I made on Sundays!

Two things keep me participating in the program. One is that I am challenged to eat things that are unfamiliar to me. Although I consider myself an eclectic and adventurous eater, in actual fact, I have never eaten a parsnip before I started getting my market basket.

The second thing that keeps me in the program is - the food is SO GOOD!! This is fresh organically grown food that was grown just a few hours' drive away!

This was brought home to me one day when I made a salad to take to work, and I wanted something crunchy on it. I love nuts, and I buy them in plastic bags at the supermarket all the time, but I didn't happen to have any around that day. I hadn't given much thought to the netted bag of pecans in the shell that had arrived in my market bag earlier that week - thinking what a pain it was to crack nuts when you could buy them already shelled. But I was out of shelled nuts, so I searched in my kitchen drawers for my nutcracker, and cracked a few for my salad.

At lunch I was amazed at how wonderful the pecans tasted. They didn't taste like the kind you buy in bags at Von's at all!

When I go back to work, I bring my bag into the office. Sometimes I share things around, like strawberries or apples. Today, everyone was impressed with the carrots. Have you ever seen anything so amazing?


KathyR said...

Looks yummy. I love the idea of the surprise element.

Rightwingsnarkle said...

Well I guess that might be one of the advantages to living in California ;^)

Good looking stuff.

Here in the Boston area, things are just starting to heat up at the local year-round stands, with hothouse microgreens and spring-dug parsnips. Up until now it's been locally-grown stored root veggies.

But come late July, the sweet corn kicks in for a 6-week+ season, followed soon after by the great tomato glut.

I can never get enough sweet corn and tomatoes, even if they do move through the system a little quickly.