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Farming cooperative or CSA

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If you are looking to save money and increase your health through eating better, I suggest you look into a local farming cooperative or Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA). Programs like these offer you a box (size varies) of fruits and vegetables on a regular schedule for you to either pick up or have delivered to your home. We have been using a service called Abundant Harvest Organics for several months now and are loving it. We decided to order a large box (which is about enough to fill 2 grocery bags) every week and split the order with my sister-in-law and her fiance.

I have learned SO much from our co-op. Not only do they send a newsletter with recipes, but they send veggies I would never have thought to buy at the store. This has forced me to learn how to use these veggies and has greatly increased our vegetable intake. At first I worried that I wouldn’t use all of our veggies and that they would go to waste. I have found that this is not something that occurs very often at all. If we get too many of one kind of veggie for us to use right away, I prep the veggie for cooking and then freeze it. Sometimes I’ll shred a bunch of carrot or parsnip and have it ready to add to any casserole or sauce for added nutrition. I have a stir fry mix in the freezer that is ready to go whenever we need a quick meal. I have used all of the large leafy veggies like kale, collard greens, and chard to make “kale chips”. I sliced up potatoes and froze them a while ago and made a wonderful casserole with these potato slices as the bottom layer just the other night. I freeze the spinach we get and use it for smoothies. The possibilities are endless.

Just last night DD & DS declared that snap peas are their favorite food in the world! While I was prepping them, I gave DD a couple to snack on. DS tried one raw and was not pleased. I decided to saute them in coconut oil and garlic. When we sat down to eat them with dinner, DS did not want to try them again. I showed him how you could open them to get the peas out just like edamame, and he was intrigued. When I asked him if he wanted one of my peas (just the inner pea) he said yes and then grinned and said “yummy!”. It was all over after that. He started by shucking the peas of their shells but then quickly decided that eating the entire pea was just as good. The loved the crunch of the peas and sautéing mellowed the flavor of the snap peas a bit. I love that a slight change in presentation of food can turn kids from refusing to digging in elbow deep.

I find myself going to the store with much less frequency since using the cooperative. I also find that getting a box of veggies inspires me to cook. It’s like a mini Christmas! Cooking used to feel like quite a chore (it still does occasionally) but having all these inspiring foods to pick up weekly makes me want to find recipes to use them. It’s fun exploring the world of cooking! Do a quick search to find a Co-op or CSA near you!

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