Thursday, October 23, 2008

We have heat!

Our furnace was successfully installed on Tuesday, so it's once again warm in our house! Tuesday morning, since I was home and cold, I did some more baking.

I made some cookies. The recipe was from Penzey's spices catalog. It uses their vanilla. They didn't have enough sugar in them for Thomas. The recipe made quite a few cookies. I was able to pawn some of them off on the furnace installer and the electrician, but have dozens more. We'll be volunteering at the bird rescue on Saturday, so I think I can offload them on other volunteers up there!Pictures still aren't working properly, but I think that will be OK for this post.

I also tried to make an Irish Soda Bread (left) and muffins (right) from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. The muffins were OK -- I made quite a few modifications, so they're a work in progress! The bread was not cooked long enough. Disappointing since I followed the recipe, but I'll try again!
Mallow, to answer your question about CSAs, read on! CSA stands for "Community Supported Agriculture." It can have different meanings depending on the individual farmer. The main premise is buying directly from a farmer, in a sense buying a share of that year's production. (Here's the wikipedia definition if you want more details.)

Thomas and I participate in 3 different CSAs this year.
  • Vegetable CSA: we paid a farmer in advance for delivery of boxes of vegetables during the harvest season. At the beginning of the season, we received a pamphlet letting us know what they were planting and what we should expect. However, depending on weather and other conditions, actual produce and quantities are not guaranteed. Every Friday, for almost half of the year, we pick up a box of vegetables at a local pickup spot.

  • Fruit CSA: we paid an orchard in advance for delivery of fruit (mostly apples and pears) during that season. They specialize in heirloom and hard-to-find varities.

  • General CSA: this one's stretching the definition a bit! But it's what the farmer calls it. We have struck up a relationship with an amazing farmer about an hour away from us. He raises cattle and other animals for meat (being vegetarians we don't buy that), but has contacts with many other local farmers that produce cheese, yogurt, butter, etc. We pay him in advance and then receive deliveries of food that we order about once a month.
For us, the reason we do it is that we really like to support local businesses as much as possible. The farmers are guaranteed a certain amount of income and don't have to worry about produce not selling at farmers' markets or other venues. It's introduced vegetables into our lives that we probably would not have tried otherwise. We've been able to go weeks without grocery shopping!

1 comment:

Mallow said...

Thanks for the CSA clarification, it sounds great!

All your recent photos of baked goods make me want to crack open my seldom used cookbooks again. :)