Happy Produce Wednesday? Merry Produce Wednesday? Rockin’ Produce Wednesday? Whatever you call it, Wednesday is produce day at my place.
When I started changing my eating habits, I didn’t give a lot of thought to fruit and vegetables except to think that I was probably supposed to eat more of them and less of other things. I’ve mentioned my grandparents’ garden, and how much I loved the soup we would make with the things it provided. I loved a lot of things from the garden, but my favorite ways to eat them were usually not very healthy. I love a good squash casserole with lots of cheese and those crunchy little onions on top. I love turnip greens with a smoky chunk of bacon in them. I love eggplant– fried eggplant. You get the point. Many of my favorite vegetable dishes included a vegetable, but ended up sort of crowding it out with pork fat and cheese. The same is true for fruit. I love a good candied apple, peach cobbler or strawberry shortcake. The fact is, I didn’t eat a lot of produce without a lot of embellishment.
I still find those things to be quite tasty, and I enjoy them on occasion. For the most part, however, I’ve come up with healthier versions of many of those dishes, and I’ve learned to eat my fruits and veggies in much simpler and cleaner ways. Throughout this process, my relationship with the produce department has blossomed. I’ve grown very fond of turnips roasted in the oven. I’ve had a love affair with grilled squash. I’m head over heels for the honeycrisp apple. I no longer feel the need to hide my fruits and veggies in a lot of other stuff and minimize their role. I just hope they don’t get jealous of one another as my fickle taste shifts to whatever is in season, which brings me to an explanation of Merry Produce Wednesday.
As I started to learn new ways to prepare vegetables, I started looking for new vegetables to prepare. A couple of years ago, I began to see ads for CSAs and considered buying a share so that I could receive boxes of lovely produce from local farmers. The problem for me, however, was that I had a hard time finding one that had a convenient pickup/delivery schedule, and most all of them required a yearlong subscription. I wanted to find an option that would allow me some of the same benefits, but that would work for me. It was around this time that I heard about Washington’s Green Grocer. It turns out that I can get a box of organic produce, much of it local, delivered to me on Wednesdays. The great thing is that I have some say as to what is in the box (or what is left out… sorry mango… you weren’t local anyway), and I can choose the weeks when I will receive one. I am a household of one, so every week might have be too often at times. Another great thing is that the price is excellent when compared with my local supermarket.
I look forward to coming home and finding this box outside of my door. Through this service, I have been introduced to countless things that I would probably not have purchased on my own like delicata squash, purple potatoes and satsumas. It has also kept me from falling into the habit of buying the same old standbys every week. If I had to eat broccoli, carrots, tomatoes and cauliflower every day for the rest of my life I would probably go nuts! I need variety! I love figuring out what I am going to do with what shows up at my door.
Since starting to write this blog, I’ve noticed something that has surprised me. When I sit and think of topics that I’d like to write about, many of the ideas I have are about foods that I like to eat. If you are a person who thinks that eating healthfully means constant deprivation, I’d have to disagree. It might mean that I don’t eat everything I want whenever I want it. It might mean that I save some things for special occasions– like the pies in my very first post. It does not, however, mean that I spend my day eating food that I don’t like. On the contrary, I feel as though I’ve gotten to know food better. I’ve broadened my horizons, developed new cooking skills and found all sorts of food treasures that I might have missed if I had kept eating the way I was eating. I look forward to eating apples, I don’t try to drown my vegetables in other things, and I look forward to Produce Wednesdays more than I could ever have imagined! Even if you don’t live in a community where this sort of thing is available, I would still like to challenge you to try new things from the produce department, and try new ways of preparing them. You may find some food treasures of your own, and they may surprise you!