Today I picked up my first produce box from the South Central Farmers' Coop and its contents were simply amazing.
My lovely wife Penelope and I have been trying out different organic delivery services over the past few months. We started out with L.O.V.E. Organic Delivery, which we really enjoyed, but much of the produce was grown far far a way. The nice thing about L.O.V.E. was that they delivered right to our door every week.
We stopped L.O.V.E. because we really want to support local farmers and not waste energy having our food shipped from other states or countries. Our next move was to try Community Supported Agriculture.
With a CSA you basically buy a semi-yearly share in a farm, if the farm is successful (and most are in sunny Southern California) you get a box of veggies every week. We read great things about Tierra Miguel, so we gave them a try.
Tierra Miguel's boxes were huge, but of the three we picked up, we found their selection to be lacking. This could be related to the season we're in right now, but for us, it was just too much greens. Our first two boxes were almost entirely different varieties of lettuce, and several bunches of each kind. TM's quality was top-notch, but for our small family of two, it was just too much. And for $45 a week, it was just more than we could justify while still having to buy other veggies to round out our meals.
I understand that a big part of the price of the CSA is supporting the farm, but TM just didn't seem like a fit for us. Enter the South Central Farmers' Coop.
Bordering on a reasonable amount of vegetables for two people in one week, the South Central Farmers' Coop box was packed full of beautiful organic, locally-grown vegetables.
Initially we didn't go with the SCFC due to the lack of fruit in their offerings. Today when I went and picked up the box at the Farmer's Market at City Hall I also picked up some organic fruit from the other vendors at the market, so that solved that problem. Once I got the box home and opened it up I was amazed. So many quality veggies inside, including:
- Spring Onions
- Red Romaine lettuce
- Romaine Lettuce
- Fava Beans
- Red Beets
- Golden Beets
- Rainbow Chard
- Swiss Chard
- Black Kale
- Blue Kale
I don't think we've ever prepared golden beets, but we love beets, and Penelope has a mean recipe for salt crusted beets with horseradish creme fraiche. I actually didn't realize you could eat kale, but I've already found some good recipes for it creamed. I make a mean fava bean cassoulet, and today at the Nickel, owner Monica May gave me a great recipe that I think I'll try.
We're very excited about the SCF Coop box, and we'll almost certainly buy a whole season's worth. The boxes were only $15 a month for the cheapest option, but you can pay more to support the farm or pay $30 and someone who can't afford it will get a free box... now that is cool. We'll most likely do the buy one, give one deal when we subscribe.
At first sight, the amount of vegetable matter contained in the SCF Coop produce box is deceiving.
Penelope and I joined the best gym in Downtown LA today, the YMCA. The place is really amazing, with a pool, a full wood floored basketball court, tons of cardio machines, tons of weight machines, free classes, racquetball courts, a padded track, sauna and steam rooms, and a great view. It is only 3 blocks away from out loft and compared to the other gyms in downtown it is very affordable and has better hours. We worked out for a short 30 minutes today, starting on the elliptical machines, then moving on to the stair machines with the actual moving staircase and then spent 15 minutes running around the padded track and then sprinting the last lap. Next time (tomorrow) we will do strength training after our 30 minutes of cardio.
After the workout we headed over to the Downtown Farmers market on 5th street between Flower and Olive (I think). The market was packed with people from both the neighborhood and the local businesses. The stands sold everything from clothing to the usual staples of organic veggies and fresh baked goods. We ran in to Gary Leonard, the Downtown LA News photographer, who I had previously met at the Is California Governable talk. The market is really quite expansive and puts the Silverlake Farmers Market to shame.
On our way back we stopped for lunch at Saisai, the sushi bar located in the Biltmore Hotel and we each tried one of the lunch specials which had hearty portions, delicious fresh fish and beautifully presentations. I look forward to going back for dinner some time in the future. Penelope and I are considering having our wedding and reception there