Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Annie's Organic Buying Club - Week one

In an attempt to get back into the cooking groove, I signed up for a buying club this summer. Unlike the CSA, this has a pay-as-you-go system with no commitments. And also, unlike the CSA, most of these fruits and vegetables aren't local. They are all organic, though.

I only signed up for a half share every other week. I just want a little inspiration, not the weekly challenge the CSA gave me. That was good thinking as this half share is still quite a bit of produce. This cost me thirty-five dollars plus a couple bucks processing fee since I paid on-line.

I picked this up Monday after work so I've already used a bit of it. Corn loses its sweetness quickly and I had no idea how long these ears have been traveling so I wanted to make something with it right away. Chowder was the quick and easy answer, particularly with the potatoes and onions needing to be used too. I've done a corn chowder post before so I'm not going to bother this time around. I will mention though, that starting off with plenty of salt pork and hot peppers is a good idea, as is stirring in diced shrimp and salmon for the last couple of minutes.

A big salad yesterday used half of the lettuce and some of the sweet onion and cucumber.

And today I used another pound of potatoes for a potato salad to go with a pulled brisket. That's worth it's own post so look for that up next.

Using the potatoes first probably wasn't the best idea. The spinach is likely to start rotting any day now. I'm hesitant to use them in a recipe where a box of frozen spinach would do as well. And I haven't had greens this delicate to work with for a while so all my initial impulses are for methods that will turn them into mush. There's spinach salad, I suppose. Maybe eggs Florentine.

I might go with a simple stir fry for the broccoli. I've got some pork tenderloin in the freezer that would go well with it. Something more interesting may well present itself, though.

I have an interesting recipe for stuffed sweet onions I want to try. They'll keep fine so I think I'll put that off until next week.

I've already used the ripe tomato. The green one I've put in a paper bag with the green tomatoes I've salvaged from my tomato plants. I've definitely got the blight out there so I don't think I'm going to have any luck trying to ripen them on the vine. If they ripen in the pantry, I've got one plan for them, but I've got something rather more interesting in mind if, after a week, they're still green.

The squash is just one small squash, best used as a side dish and I never have to make an effort to use garlic so that just leaves quite a lot of fruit.

There are actually six bananas back there. Quite large ones too. I'm thinking ice cream. I've made plenty of banana ice creams before but I've got a new idea. I don't feel like shopping again right now so that's for next week too.

That's a full pound of strawberries in the back there and they've got pretty good flavor. The berries are big and photogenic so I want to do something that keeps them whole. Maybe I'll candy them or dip them in chocolate or some such.

The blueberries are getting a little over-ripe so I may boil them down into a syrup.

The mango. I don't recognize the varietal so I don't know quite what I've got here. Eh, smoothies work with the full range. That's a safe choice.

And lastly, the peaches. They came underripe, the better for shipping. And there's your major distinction between a CSA and a buying club. Only two of them so probably best to just eat them out of hand instead of trying to use them as an ingredient. In fact, let me go's ripe already. Mmm, tasty.


Marian said...

That's a half share?? Wow! Lots of food! Several people asked me about Annie's, will tell them to check out your blog.

LaDivaCucina said...

Bill, I used Annie's last year after our farming season finished and was really happy with the quality and amount of food in the shares. I found, for us, that to get the extra fruit share added on to be really good value. For the money, there is no way you could get that much organic food for the price at a retailer.

Annie told me that she supports the local organic farmers here and buys pallets off of them. (obviously during season)

I found the produce to be very fresh and one time enjoyed the sweetest, not bitter at all, Brussels sprouts. I am going to start with Annies again too.

billjac said...

From this box, the squash, corn and blueberries are local. Just how local, Annie doesn't specify.

It is quite a bit for a half share. I can barely keep up with a weekly CSA-sized half share; I can't imagine dealing with a box this size every week. The higher fruit percentage should be a help, though.

kat said...

That is a really large box & has some great variety. I'm starting to wonder if I'm going to miss my box this summer since I'm trying just the farmers market instead

Marian said...

Bill, this time of year squash, blueberries and corn come from North Florida. There's lots of organic farms around Gainesville and points north. Annie could be buying from there.

Laura, glad to hear that you enjoyed Annie's last year. Seems to recreate the CSA experience! Am considering doing this...

Paula said...

I've always wondered about Annie's so thanks for sharing. It does seem like a big half share but it's nice that you get so much fruit. I may look into joining.