Posts tagged food

Hooray for CSA!

Today was the first day of our CSA fruit and veggie box pick-up in the valley! This milestone is the ultimate indicator of summer’s imminent arrival!

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. The basic concept is that, in the spring time, you buy a share in a farm and then, throughout the growing season, you receive regular instalments of food from that farm at no further cost. In this arrangement, farmers get real dollars up front so that they have a float of money at the beginning of the season when they need it. And, since farmers know where their fruits and veggies will be going, they can spend their energies on farming, instead of trying to market and distribute their produce and dealing with middle men, who would take a big cut.

In our experience, a farm share costs from $200 to $600 and, for that, you receive a small rubbermaid tub of produce each week from mid-June to mid-October. The farm arranges  a pick-up day when all the share-holders come to collect their weekly share of in-season food. The produce is always fresh, crisp and plentiful, having been harvested the previous day. In-season food can mean that you may receive little more that onions and kale in June and then be absolutely swimming in tomatoes during late August. It also means that if the growing season is unseasonable wet or too dry, your weekly share will reflect that.

Over our last few years in the big city, we bought shares in Community Supported Agriculture from a few different farms in the Fraser Valley. One farm we tried supplied huge tubs of food for us but it was not the types of vegetables that we were accustomed to eating.

photo courtesy of

How many chinese cabbages can you eat in one week?

Another CSA farm, Nathan Creek Organics, supplied a fabulous selection of delicious, organic produce but the pick-up location was either far out at the farm in Langley (about one hour away from home) or at a pick-up depot in deepest, darkest Vancouver (where neither of us worked) which made weekly pick-ups a chore.  (I see from their website that they now have multiple pick-up locations all over Greater Vancouver)

We have also bought Community Supported Fisheries (CSF) shares in Skipper Otto’s Fish Boat. For this, we headed to the docks when the fish boat came in and we would pick-up our supply of sockeye salmon. During one banner year, our $200 share supplied us with 13 whole sockeye salmon!

Last year, when we first moved, we looked around for a similar CSA farm in the Comox Valley but were unable to find one. We contented ourselves with the twice-a-week farmer’s market and the local fish docks for fresh seafood, since both of these are farmer-direct opportunities.

This year we are lucky to be part of Merville Organics in the first year of their CSA endeavour. Ripple Farm and Amara Farm work together to produce weekly produce boxes for their shareholders. On Friday, FM went to the farm (about 2 kilometres away from home) to pick up our first box.

First week’s CSA share (photo from mervilleorganics website)

At the farm, he met the farmers and was given a guided walk-through of the pick-up procedures by one of their helpful children. He came away with a bulging bag of produce that looks gorgeous!

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We Got The Results (but not as anticipated)

If you have been following, you know that FM and I decided to kick off the new year with a 3 Day Cleanse and yesterday was Day 1. Here are a few pictures of the Lunch Drink being created:

Lime juice, celery, cucumber, green apple and pineapple ... soundsokay so far...

Lime juice, celery, cucumber, green apple and pineapple … sounds okay so far…

and then add kale, almond milk and coconut oil

and then add kale, almond milk and coconut oil

Not as offensive in colour as the breakfast drink but far too chunky for my taste.

Not as offensive in colour as the Breakfast Drink but far too chunky for my taste.

Again I was surprised, in a good way, by the taste. I didn’t have to choke it down but I would never serve it to guests (you’ll be happy to know). As I carried on my merry way that afternoon, I kept thinking about my stomach and food – which is really unusual for me.

To my surprise when I arrived home, FM’s car was already parked but the house was dark. I eventually found him curled up in bed in the fetal position. He had been terribly sick all afternoon and was now sporting a temperature a few degrees above normal.  Stomach cramps were the main complaint and he was having waves of nausea. As if in sympathy, I also suddenly felt ill. I started to realise that my obsession with my stomach all afternoon was because I too was having cramps. Within the hour, I was also sick and in bed with a fever.

After a long and uncomfortable afternoon, evening and night, we both overcame our fevers and managed to face the new day, but neither of us felt up to eating. 24 hours have gone by and each of has lost about 3 pounds so far – all dehydration, I’m sure.

Was this simply a 24 hour stomach flu or was it the 3 Day cleanse diet? I guess we’ll never know because neither of us will ever be able to stomach a Dr. Oz blender drink ever again!

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Middle Aged Peer Pressure

Being new to a place has all sorts of unexpected obstacles, but I never expected peer pressure to be one of them. Just before the new year came around, FM came home from work and told me that co-workers from his department were discussing taking a cleanse diet at the beginning of 2013. Many of them were planning on following the Dr. Oz Three Day Detox Cleanse and “wouldn’t it be fun and supportive if we all did it together?” Initially I thought he was just recounting a funny incident that came up at work, but then I realized that he was actually considering joining in the fun. And since we are a pair who tend to share everything, I slowly understood that I was being included in the fun.

Now let me just expand on a few things:

1) FM’s workplace is filled with awesome people who are funny, outdoorsy, active, inclusive and caring. He seeks them out for weekend adventures and they include us both in any social events that come up. If this is their next team-building quest, he will be part of it.

2) I have NEVER been on a diet. I find the whole idea of denying yourself food preposterous. But, I am also the kind of person who usually forgets to eat lunch on weekends and I have been favoured with a small frame that sheds weight easily with a little focussed exercise.

3) The move to the Queendom has been a wonderful experience in many ways but our former life as ultrarunners has absolutely taken a back step to things like digging up alders and designing gardens. We tend to spend a lot more time sipping fine craft beers in the evenings rather than donning our headlamps and going for a stealth run on the forest trails.  As a result, we are both fat, out of shape and unmotivated to do much about it.

And so, back to the cleanse.

As we studied the page of rules and measurements, I searched for something that I would be able to look forward to but alas, there is nothing. And, for a non-food mixer like myself, the idea of three meals a day coming out of a blender is pretty repulsive. But, I do like a challenge, especially a challenge that will test my mental fortitude.  If ever there was one, this is it.

It looks simple enough, eh?

I did the shopping and found that most things were regular components of our kitchen anyway, except for Stevia. (I also picked up two dozen Fanny bay oysters and a crab so that our New year’s Eve would truly be an indulgence before the famine)

3 days of cleansing food

With determination this morning, FM got up and made both his breakfast and lunch drinks, the latter which he took to work. Still being on school break, I eventually entered the kitchen, with the devil already on my shoulders, and thought about sneaking in a coffee. But I didn’t. I did discover that the bathroom scale had been moved to the kitchen and, while stifling a scream, I weighed myself for the first time in about two years. I made myself a pot of green tea and lemon to get my mind off coffee (it didn’t work, btw). After 2 or 3 hours of procrastination, I finally put together my breakfast blender drink.

These things do not belong together!  We all know that green and red make brown.  (blech)

 And I had to pour it into a opaque container because my brain would definitely force my stomach to protest if I had to study it before each mouthful. In all honesty, it was a pretty tasty concoction, with all that yummy fruit. I worry a bit about lunch, with its mixture of lime juice, pineapple and almond milk.  I’ll bet you a nickel that it will curdle before I can get it into my trusty opaque receptacle.

Mixed Food Cloaking Device

And so ends my lament of the first 5 hours of my 3 Day Cleanse.  I wonder how long I’ll last.

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