The Dayton Kitchen

Eating well. So get ready and get butter.

200 pounds of asparagus, or why it’s smart to know your farmer June 1, 2008

I regularly purchase vegetables from a local farmer.  Well, to clarify, I try to buy all of my veggies locally, but there is one farmer in particular who I shop with in addition to my CSA.  I ran into him unexpectedly at the East Aurora Farmers’ Market last week, and was disappointed that I had already purchased asparagus from another vendor.  We got to talking, first about the seedlings he is offering this spring, and then about his gorgeous asparagus.

I asked him how he recommends preserving asparagus, and I loved his answer:

  1. Wash the asparagus.
  2. Quick-freeze the asparagus.

Can it be any easier, people?  I think not.  He said that if you blanch the asparagus, it ends up being mushy and not at all like the vegetable that is in season now.  Because his method is so stinking easy, I asked if he had a certain amount I could purchase for a better price than if I were buying one pound at a time.  He said that he’d knock some off the price if I got 25 pounds, and even more if I got 50 pounds.  Well, I know that 50 pounds is a bit much for us.  That would be about one meal with asparagus every week for the next year.  We are growing enough other veggies that we would end up wasting something, and that’s not cool with me.

So I put out the call to a few people I thought might be interested in a great deal on asparagus.  Because really, who doesn’t like the stuff?  It’s amazing.

Two hundred pounds.  Fifteen families want 200 pounds of asparagus.  That figure translates into a lot of stinky pee happy tummies.

And the price:  $1.75 a pound.  The cheapest asparagus, shipped in from who-knows-where is around $4 when it’s on sale.  Less than two bucks a pound from a farmer I’ve met, and whose farm I’ve visited many times; a local, family-operated business where the CEO will stop what he is doing to talk with me about how he cultivates my food.

Go to your local farmers’ markets.  Get to know the people who grow the food you eat.  Ask about buying in bulk.  And save money while eating the glorious food that is in season.

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I love me some veggies! March 25, 2008

Filed under: scoring good food — pameladayton @ 10:26 pm
Tags: , , ,

Pretty much all of us who dine in the Dayton Kitchen on a regular basis love us some veggies.  A whole bunch of veggies.  But man, those tasty guys can really be expensive.  And based on the USDA Food Pyramid (I am just not going to even get started about the USDA today…) everyone should have 3 to 5, 1/2-1 cup servings of veggies a day.  And that is in addition to fruit.  In my house, I serve 5 people who like vegetables, so I will do math this way:  5 people X 5 servings X 3/4 cup = 18.75 cups of vegetables EVERY DAY!  And that, my dearies, is pretty ridiculous when you are grocery shopping.  And also, very expensive.  Top that with a burning desire to eat food that is fresh and free of pesticide?  What is a veggie-lovin’ mama to do?

The Answer:  FIND A CSA. What is a CSA? you ask.  CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  You can read about it here and here.  Basically (read: for those of you who can’t bear to break away from your daily Dayton Enlightenment) it is a member-supported farm.  Sometime near the beginning of the growing season, members pay the yearly “dues”.  You generally pay up-front, so that the farm can, you know, buy seed and stuff so that by the time the farmhands are ready to pick, there’s veggies all ripe and ready to come out of the ground or off the vine.  Then, every week during the season, which depends on the weather where you live, you get a bag or box of vegetables.  Here in Western New York, the season lasts from June-ish until November-ish.  Some CSAs are member-run, meaning that after you pay your dues, you put on your super-stylin’ muck boots and head out to the field.  MY CSA is WAY COOLER THAN THAT!  I do not have to actually go out in the field or drive a tractor in order to be a member.  However, I would totally LOVE to drive a tractor, and could probably handle picking veggies for about an hour or two, because I am a big, wimpy girl, and I doubt I could cut it as someone who actually had to labour for her food.  But I digress.

Back to digressing for a minute-I did get up at 5:30 a.m. a number of Saturdays to pack bags at The Farm, and even when it was freezing cold and everything I touched was dripping wet, and no gloves allowed!, it was really fun.  You should try it.  The end of digressing.  Digression?  Note to self: pay better attention.

I would suggest  highly recommend  am just going to tell you that for your own good, the health of your wallet, and the health of you in general, and if you live in Genesee County, Buffalo, or Rochester, you should buy into Porter Farms CSA.   For about $15 a week, my family enjoys the bounty of this Elba, NY, Certified Organic Farm.  FIFTEEN DOLLARS A WEEK!  FOR ORGANIC VEGGIES!!!!  There is no other situation where you can score enough actual vegetables to feed two people, let alone five people, for such a small amount of money. 

Except if you were stealing veggies, and boy, if you were stealing MY vegetables from Porters, I’d hop on the tractor and run your sorry butt over.  Unless somebody else got to you first. 

But seriously.  They grow very nearly a gazillion kinds of foods.  And the Porter Family is just about the loveliest bunch of people you will ever meet in your life.  And I know about lovely people. 

So go to the Porter Farm website.  In the spirit of honesty, I will tell you that it the Porters spend more time farming than on the internet, so the site is pretty basic and isn’t updated frequently.  But I would much rather have a farmer who is in the field, cultivating my food in a wholesome and responsible fashion, than one who updates his info daily.  So get over it already.  And really, the only bit of info you need to know is this:

  1. Organic vegetables, locally grown, picked on Friday, picked up on Saturday.
  2. $310 for the season, if you pick up.

  3. Send your check to: Porter Farm, PO Box 416, Elba, New York 14058

We are getting two shares this year, so that we can freeze and can enough of these fabulous vegetables to last through the winter.  My goal is to spend less than $1200 between June 2008 and June 2009 on vegetables.  Pre-paying our shares will count towards the $1200.

So consider this.  And before you go, look at the beautiful field, love my beautiful children loving the Farm, and ogle the nicey-nice pie pumpkins.  You know you want some of that.  But you can’t have the kids.  I made ’em, I keep ’em.  Like pie.

cimg1807.jpg    J & O at the Farm        cimg1812.jpg