Ohio Farm Share Excitement – Vegetarian Winter Week 1!
An exciting new adventure begins with our Ohio Farm Share experiment in Winter Week 1 of the Vegetarian Pilot program we’re participating in with Fresh Fork Market. We’ve put our garden to bed, so to benefit from someone else’s forethought into an extended season is awesome. That’s because in Northeastern Ohio, so much of my winter is spent looking for good produce to keep our diet balanced the way we like it. Having someone else figure that out for me is a blessing in time management. Not to mention less time spent fighting the weather while I go from store to store. Winter and I are not best friends so the less time I’m having to battle it is welcome news to me.
Once again, we’re sharing this program with my parents because it gives us both a lot of flexibility to do it that way. If we were strict Vegetarians, we wouldn’t have a problem using up the full share, but I find it a bit heavy for our busy lifestyle. Splitting it with another couple is the perfect solution. All four of us get plenty of vegetables and reduce our overall protein costs because it’s no longer our main focus.
I’d say we’re still Flexitarians, which means that we eat Vegetarian several times a week, but we still enjoy Fish, Beef, Pork and Poultry in far lesser amounts than previous years in our lifetime. Will we ever become full-fledged Vegetarians? I don’t like to say never because anything is possible, but personally, I still enjoy the flavor that a little meat gives to a meal as an accompaniment. I have come to believe in moderation and I feel better if I keep that in mind when it comes to protein. We had been in a very bad habit of thinking of protein as our main ingredient for such a long time and I believe it was, in part, responsible for our unhealthy lifestyle. I had heard that focusing on 1/2 a plate of vegetables was a good idea – we’ve simply extended that to 3/4 of the plate most of the time. I find that thinking in terms of what your plate looks like overall in proportions is a very easy way to stay focused on what’s healthy.
One thing I’m super excited about with this pilot program are the chef prepared items we’ll get to try this year as well. This week, it’s beautifully prepared Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers. Aren’t they gorgeous? They smell heavenly too, even before warming them up. I believe mom and dad enjoyed their half already. I put our half in the freezer for someday soon.
For November, the farm share bounty is spectacular and I had fun trying to squeeze it all into a photo. I couldn’t resist taking a photo of just the vegetables without the prepared entree so you could get a closeup of all the goodies in there. Don’t miss the long stalk of Brussel Sprouts laying down in the background, intermingled with the Broccoli. I’ve never worked with Brussel Sprouts before and although I knew they grew on a stalk, it was really cool to see it as it grows and try to figure out how to get all those sprouts off of there to divide them between our two families. Cutting them off wasn’t logistically feasible without cutting myself in the process, so my mom and I twisted them off by hand together in a tug of war.
This week our small Vegetarian farm share included (top featured photo)…
Apples – 4 (quarter peck)
Cauliflower – 1 head
Kohlrabi – 1 purple
Brussel Sprouts – 1 stalk
Black Spanish Radish – 1 (same size as the Kohlrabi!)
Broccoli – 2 heads
Carrots – 1 lb
Sweet Potatoes – 4 lbs
Rhutabaga – 1
Spinach – 1/2 lb (large leaves)
Parsley – 1 bunch
Shallot – 1 bunch
Onion – 1
Stuffed Green Peppers Entrée – 4 Peppers beautifully prepared in sauce.
My half of the Vegetarian small share this week (above photo) and what’s left since Thursday, November 4…
Apples – 2 – these will be munched on this week, probably on our hikes
Cauliflower – gave to mom as I still had Cauliflower left from previous week.
Kohlrabi – 1 purple – dad got this because he loves them and missed them in his own garden.
Brussel Sprouts – 1/2 stalk – never prepared these before so investigating
Black Spanish Radish – 1 (same size as the Kohlrabi!) gave to mom — she prepped and let me try some
Broccoli – 1 head – freezing for later
Carrots – 1/2 lb – storing for later
Sweet Potatoes – 2 lbs – ate one, storing rest for later
Rhutabaga – 1 – storing for later
Spinach – 1/4 lb (large leaves) – ate some in salad
Parsley – 1/2 bunch
Shallot – 1/2 bunch – storing for later
Onion – 1 – went to mom as she’s out of onions and I’m stocked
Stuffed Green Peppers Entrée – 2 Peppers beautifully prepared in sauce.
I’ll be honest — my refrigerator was stuffed full before we got the farm share this week, so mom and dad benefited with some extras. I’ll get some extras another week when they’re overwhelmed.
I did lose a couple things this week from the veggies I purchased and greens I just couldn’t eat fast enough from the farm share. Sometimes my ambition is bigger than my ability to stay home and cook/eat. In my defense, I did help out at a fundraiser dinner, so my hands and energy level were used up on that endeavor. I keep forgetting that my hands/body just won’t work as hard in the Fall weather as they do the rest of the year.
We’re really enjoying the fresh broccoli every way imaginable. I use it fresh in salads. I steamed broccoli one night to go along with Salmon burgers and a sweet potato split between us for a simple dinner. That was really good and something we should do more often, now that we have so many sweet potatoes. I tossed broccoli into a noodle dish I prepared last minute with some leftover chicken for some guests. Lots of peppers, onions, garlic and cream of mushroom soup went into that last minute meal. Leftovers lasted us several days, once again, so I got some time off from cooking. Good thing because we were running all over and not much time for fussing in the kitchen.
Oh, and speaking of broccoli, the leaves were really pretty this time so I saved mine to try in a stir fry or soup.
I think we’re going to switch to picking up our farm share on Fridays instead of Wednesday. Our summer pickup was on Thursdays and I had thought Wednesday might work better, but I don’t like fighting the downtown traffic or the expressway at rush hour. Friday’s pickup location might work better traffic wise and it would give me the weekend to prep a little better than during the week. We’ll try it this week and see how it works.
I think this is the first time I can honestly say that I’m excited about something with the word “winter” in it. Loving Winter Vegetarian Pilot Farm Share so far!