Monday, September 27, 2010

CSA, Sicklerville

This is really just me being excited about being back in the Garden State, where fresh fruit and vegetables really ARE highly abundant all summer long. Lots of people seem to be doing the CSA thing this year (Community Supported Agriculture; this puts me in mind of Japan, where every bit of agriculture is heavily supported by the 'community', also known as your taxes and mine, to enable it to compete with imports. And if the farming isn't supported, the rural construction projects that keep country people solvent certainly are.). This is the one that Mom and Dad joined - you get a basket at the beginning of the year and can then drive out there to load it up with vegetables once a week for about 20 weeks. That seems a bit different from some other models, and more fun, since you can choose what you want.

Fun is when you can get these monster bunches of basil. You know how much this stuff costs in Tokyo? We got some of the heirloom tomatoes, stopped at the store for cheese, and went right home to make a caprese.

Fun is also lots of pretty eggplant. Not sure why I wasn't excited about these at the time, but thinking back I should have been slicing and frying some of them.

Fun is most definitely huge bunches of fennel. Sure do wish you could get this stuff here...I got it one time, at Nisshin in Juban, but you know I'm not trucking over there just for some leaves, not matter how much they taste like anise.

Never saw squash like this before - the pattypans were enormous, but more interesting were the round 'eight ball' squash with the green circles. I always thought eight balls were black and white, so maybe I should desaturate this photo.

They had two sizes of bok choy, and this was the 'baby' size. It must have been twice the size of the ones we get in Tokyo, and I'm not saying that's a good thing. The full-size ones were even bigger. Sheesh. Can that really be as good? I'd think they get tougher as they get older, or at least there's more stalky part. I find bok choy hard to deal with, because I want to cook the crisp parts enough and the leaves much less; separate cooking doesn't always get it done.

This is 'the scene', as they say. People shuffling around looking at the bins, strategizing about how best to stuff their bushels. You can't turn around without running into someone you know, and in this case we met someone whose daughter I used to go to school with, many moons ago. Unfortunately she recommended a restaurant that turned out to be pretty terrible, but more on that above.

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