Little Localvores: fresh from the vine
Welcome to Little Localvores - a weekly series on our family's first experience with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Every Tuesday all summer long we will receive a supply of fresh produce and local foods through the Good Natured Family Farms CSA. I'll chronicle my attempts to get my toddlers (3 years and 15 months) to eat fresh and local, healthy foods.
Localvore: someone who prefers to eat locally grown/produced food.
There was an interesting mix in the CSA share this past week: Athena (musk) melon, peaches, blackberries, heirloom tomatoes and red vine ripe tomatoes, Andy's candy corn, banana peppers, pretzel buns, pepper relish, and agave ketchup. Our vegetarian share had Cheddar Pepper Farmhouse Cheese in lieu of GNFF hot dogs.
In order to be called Farmhouse cheese, the cows must be milked on the farm and the cheese made on the farm. Doesn't get any better than that! This cheese had a wonderful peppery flavor that we really liked.
The kids eat cherry tomatoes like they are grapes. I managed to get a few of them in a salad, but they were all gone the first day we had them in the house. I have nothing to post about the peaches and blackberries this week. We had them straight up, a definite crowd pleaser.
Corn gets a bad rap, but fresh, sweet corn straight out of the husk is really good. We only buy it in season and the kids have always liked eating it on the cobb. Kids like just about anything they can eat with their hands!
Andy's Candy Corn was super sweet and really didn't need anything added to it. But I've been wanting to try a new recipe with fresh corn and it did not disappoint. This is Corn with Cilantro-Lime Salt. I boiled 5-6 ears of corn for 3-4 minutes and cut the kernels off the cobs once they cooled. I took about a cup of cilantro, zest of 1 lime and 1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt and combined them for a coarse chop. I added a pat of butter to the corn in a bowl, topped it with the cilantro mix and voila! So simple and tasty. The recipe is from the beautiful and unique cookbook Ripe. I am really enjoying this cookbook and it has been a perfect companion for the CSA. (I mentioned the book previously on my blog and about a week later received it as a gift from my husband for our anniversary. The power of the blog!)
What little corn and cherry tomatoes I had left I tossed together with GNFF green peppers (from last week's CSA) and some GNFF banana peppers, along with a little cilantro, olive oil, salt and pepper. This would have made a great side but I wanted a stand alone salad for lunch so I added some black beans and a little cayenne pepper...
This is a pretty typical weekday lunch for us, and I like using whatever I have available from the CSA to create a lunch salad. For another salad, I combined cannelini beans with some kalamata olives, GNFF red vine ripe tomatoes, GNFF banana peppers, cucumbers and small cubes of the Farmhouse cheddar.
A little tuna would have worked well with this mix, too. Making lunches has become much easier this summer thanks to our CSA. So far, my impromptu CSA-mix salads have all been a hit. Most importantly for me, they are quick and easy to put together.
I had quite a few responses last week when I mentioned combining melon with salt. Interestingly, it seems to be a generational thing with most remembering parents or grandparents combining the two. Just for fun, I thought I would give the melon/salt combo a fresh twist by using some fancy salt we purchased on a trip to Sonoma, CA a few years ago. Combined with this Himalayan pink salt with lavender, this was not my Grandmother's melon!
With Farm to Market pretzel buns (so good!), pepper relish and agave ketchup - this week's CSA share was meant to put the hot dog at center stage. We didn't get hot dogs in our vegetarian share, so we substituted salmon sausage from Whole Foods. Not a bad trade off in my book.
How gorgeous are these green tomatoes? They tasted as good as they look! We couldn't resist the tomato and fresh mozzarella salad we made a couple weeks ago and added a little arugula to round out the plate. I could eat this every week.
I fed this meal to the kids and I'm sad to say it wasn't a big hit. Charlie goes a bit crazy with anything slightly spicy and the agave ketchup and salmon sausage did not pass his I only eat bland foods test. Since we still have plenty of the ketchup and relish, I'm going to try something like a turkey dog for him this week and see if he will like it. The foods we make at home have so much more flavor and spice compared to what he gets at daycare, that it just tastes strange to him (even though I tried to expose him to every flavor and spice from the time he could swallow!). It's a constant battle. They say it takes exposing kids to flavors and foods over and over and over...I'm going to keep at it!
Since our house has been on the market all spring/summer, we didn't plant anything in the yard other than herbs. I can't wait until next Spring when we can plant veggies at our new house - Charlie is already talking about it. This past weekend a good friend of ours was out of town and we were charged with watering his plants while he was gone. He has had a bumper tomato crop this summer.
Charlie loves to help Dad with anything and everything in the yard and he was very excited to water the tomato plants. Izzy was excited to sample them.
I think it is so important kids know that food comes from the ground and grows on vines. I also think this awareness goes a long way in getting them to like and enjoy healthy foods.
Charlie was about Izzy's age now in this photo, helping Dad plant the vegetable garden two years ago. Next Spring he will know so much more about the process and it will be fun for all of us.
Check out previous Little Localvores posts here.