The following is a guest post from Kris at Simple Island Living. She blogs about living frugally and simply in one of the most expensive places in the country!
We are hipsters. Not really, but we subscribe to trends like the next hipster, and one of the most important ones is a commitment to living and eating green and organic. Needless to say, that commitment is expensive and not something we can do all the time – but we try. Even more, we know that living on an island in the middle of the sea, it is absolutely imperative to buy and support local as much as possible. From where we are, food has to be shipped over the ocean in order for us to consume it. It is not a sustainable lifestyle, and therefore we try as hard as possible to maximize our consumption of local food.
That being said, we are huge fans of CSA boxes. CSA boxes, or community supported agriculture boxes, are some of the best ways to get a weekly injection of local produce. For a foodie, it is wonderful to get different types of produce every week – we absolutely love being introduced to new things. I know that to some people, getting strange vegetables and fruit is a turn off, but we love it. I have cooked things I never would have ever thought of cooking…all because I received a vegetable I had never used before in my CSA box.
When we lived in Seattle, we utilized the SPUD biweekly delivery and loved it. Absolutely loved it. The amount of fruits and vegetables that they had in their basic boxes was so much more than we needed that I registered for a juicer for our wedding. Seriously.
When we moved to Hawaii, we’ve tried to find the perfect CSA box fit. For a while we went with Ma’o Farms. While we loved it, it became a bit cost prohibitive. That’s the thing about eating all organic – it gets pricy.
One of the best ways to try the boxes, I’ve realized, is Groupon or Living Social. I say this because not all boxes are great. As much as we’d love to support all local companies, not all local companies are well run or have the best produce. It’s the same as with any company – you have to find the perfect fit.
For this reason, I still love to frequent the local Farmer’s Market. There, you see what you’re getting and you know when you buy it from the farmer. This type of personal interaction, the quality of produce, and the general ambiance makes the urban foraging that much better an experience.
Unfortunately, like I said before, not all CSA boxes are perfect. In fact, many are very imperfect, and it takes a while to find one that matches you – even more so to find one that has contents that are up to your individual standards. For the purpose of this article, I had depended on a new CSA box that was sadly not up to par. Luckily, my in-laws had picked up two local avocados at a charity event this past weekend that were at peak perfection. With it, I made the fastest and easiest guacamole (utilizing the leftover chips from Super Bowl), and made the most unhealthy of healthy dinners possible. It helps that my husband used to make guacamole table side at a place he waited tables at years ago and provided me with tips on proper guacamole making service. Very important.
In choosing a CSA box:
1. Check out Yelp. If I had checked out Yelp before trying some boxes, I would have saved myself a lot of hassle.
2. If you have a Farmer’s Market, ask your favorite vendor if they do boxes. Many do.
3. Try to stay organic, but remember that organic farming is extremely expensive for the farmer. For that reason, feel free to ask non-organic farmers if they use pesticides. You’ll be surprised to find out that many use minimal ones or natural ones, but are prohibited by cost to certify their farm organic.
4. Local is better…always.
Simple Island Guacamole
1 Lg. Avocado, Ripe
1/4C Finely Diced Onion
1 Tsp. Garlic Salt
1/2 Tsp. Coriander powder (or use fresh cilantro if you have…unfortunately I was out)
1 Tsp. Crushed red peppers
1/8C Lemon juice
Mash avocado, mix with onion. Sprinkle dry ingredients on and pour lemon juice on (according to my husband, it’s imperative to distribute the dry ingredients with the lemon juice.) and mix until combined. The fastest, easiest guacamole ever.
Editor’s Note: We are so grateful to Kris for providing a glimpse into eating locally in different parts of the country. We whole-heartedly believe that eating local, seasonal produce is the way to live which is why we provide weekly seasonal, frugal and healthy meal plans via e-mail. Check out how it works and get a free sample plan.