Thursday, June 19, 2008

A family that farms together...

I never truly appreciated living in the suburbs until I had my sons. Now, with about 8 different farms within 30 minutes of us and 4 within 10 minutes, I feel incredibly lucky to be able to share this world with them. I am not gardener. I do find the idea of planting and growing appealing. But realistically, the monotony of weeding and the likelihood that I will forget to water makes a vegetable garden out of reach for now.

However, visiting farms is a common experience for us. Twice in the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of picking strawberries with my two year old. Granted he tramples on many and picks some very pale white ones, but each time he presents me with a "good one, Mommy," I grin with excitement as he carefully puts it in his "bucket." As scenes from Blueberries for Sal linger in my head, I watch him happily trot down the paths, trying to get another "stwahbewwy" and patiently awaiting permission from me to eat it.

We have also been sharing the fun of a CSA. Essentially we and our good friends share a part of the Dover Farm. Each Tuesday my sons and I go to the farm stand and collect our share. Again, R. grins broadly as I hand him collard greens, radishes, baby turnips and lettuce which he gently lowers them into our bag. At dinner each night I offer him our selection, hoping that his involvement will make vegetables that much more appealing.

Finally, this week was the start of our weekly trips to the Natick Farmer's Market (or the "market farm" as he calls it.) This week was more focused on flowers so we walked away with a few more organic beets and peas, but R. enjoyed each minute.

So 2 simple recipes, inspired by these trips:

Roasted Beets

Simply wrap whole beets in a double layer of aluminum foil. Bake at 425 for 1-2 hours for large beets and about 45 minutes for baby beets. Take out and let sit for about 10 minutes. When you open the packets, you can easily peel the skin away with a fork. Carefully cut up the beets (they will stain everything in site a gorgeous ruby color) and season with salt. You can add olive oil and/or vinegar. Eat warm or cold.

Rachel Ray's Asian Slaw Salad

Chop up carrots and savoy cabbage. Saute briefly in canola or vegetable oil with peapods or peas on high heat. Mix a few tablespoons of honey with rice wine vinegar. When the vegetables are just cooked, add the honey/vinegar mixture and let it coat for 1-2 minutes. You can also add chopped pickled ginger. This is also delicious warm or cold.

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