Riddle me this, reader... It's never taken me more than 10 minutes to complete my annual Community Supported Agriculture program signup. So why did I just return from a CSA signup session that took TWO HOURS?
What's the sudden public obsession with local vegetables? Should I blame Michael Pollan? Mark Bittman? Alice Waters? The recession? The FDA peanut recall? All or none of the above?
Maybe this is the year in which investments in financial markets feel more risky than investments farmers' markets.
Whatever the reason, I'll tell you this: interest in farm-to-city produce in my neighborhood has skyrocketed this year.
I strolled into my local church basement not long after the doors opened, only to discover a robust room. I was already 48th on the list.
One of the volunteers told me that virtually everyone she'd spoken with tonight had been a signing up as a first-time CSA member.
And maybe I should've been forewarned.
A coworker of mine has belonged to a different Brooklyn CSA for several years, and she told me she was a little late in sending in her signup form this year. Usually that's not a problem.
But her CSA filled up before January. Interest was huge, and she missed the boat. Now she's just a sad, veggie-free name on a long waiting list.
With that kind of tragedy in mind, I should just be grateful to have had options to buy stock in vegetable futures.
But if you're wondering what to do with the veggies of the present... hearty greens like chard, kale and collards and should be your friends right now.
Luckily, our nutritionist at work just gave me an easy, delicious recipe for kale. And since it's from the nutritionist, so you know it can't be bad for you, no?
In any case, I'm sure she wouldn't mind if I share...
Eileen's Crispy Greens (Serves 4)
1 bunch kale
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
Sea salt, to taste
1. Wash the kale well. Strip the leaves away from the stems (save the stems for stock) and cut the leaves into 2" to 3" pieces.
2. In a mixing bowl, toss the pieces with olive oil to coat.
3. Heat the oven to 350°F and spread the prepared leaves across a baking sheet.
4. Sprinkle the leaves with the cider vinegar, then place in the middle of the oven. 5. After 10 minutes, shift the leaves in the pan to help them brown more evenly. Continue roasting until the kale pieces are crisp like potato chips and lightly browned. Remove from the oven, sprinkle with sea salt and serve hot.
So then, what have we learned today?
1. The early bird gets the local vegetables.
2. Even nutritionists know that everything tastes delicious when it's roasted and salted.
Yours in food worship,