An Economical Way to Buy Organic Produce

While waiting in the check-out line at the supermarket, I see the person ahead of me purchasing bottles of soda, processed frozen foods & bags of salty snack items. They hand the cashier a pile of coupons & she proceeds to ring them up. Smiling, the customer comments to me how they’ve saved on most of the items & reduced their bill in half. I mumble something like “That’s nice” & proceed to put my items, all organic fresh
produce on the belt for check out. I don’t have any coupons to reduce my final bill. I leave the super market grumbling to myself that I feel ripped off. Why should people who are buying junk foods be rewarded with discount coupons while those of us trying to eat healthy pay top dollar? Certainly YUM Brands, Nestles, Monsanto & other multinational (food) conglomerates might have some interesting insights…

But, we need not forfeit our health or our wallets to eat organic produce because there are other options: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) can help fill your refrigerator with locally grown seasonal organic produce. CSAs are sort of like “share cropping” but not in the traditional sense. Instead the farmer offers “shares” to the public. Usually the share is a box of veggies & possibly other farm produce. The public can purchase a share or membership subscription to receive the seasonal produce grown by the farmer. By paying an upfront (often pre-season) fee, you get to enjoy the bounty the farmer grows. There is a shared risk as well—if weather is too rainy or too dry, if there is a plague of locusts & crops are lousy, your periodic box of produce may be less varied or smaller. If you are concerned about the possibility of “not getting your moneys worth” or only will eat certain vegetables, then perhaps this option is not for you. It is important to thoroughly check out the CSA you are considering. spells out everything you might want to know about CSAs. You can plug in your zip code to find CSAs in your area for the upcoming growing season.

Cauliflower is a delicious Fall & Winter vegetable. I like raw cauliflower florets dipped in peanut sauce for a filling snack. You can use cauliflower to make a “creamy” yet low-fat soup as well:

Cauliflower Chowder (from The Vegetarian Shabbat Cookbook)

1-2 T. Olive oil

2 ribs celery, chopped well

¼ c. cilantro, separated in 2 batches

1 large head cauliflower

4 c. water

2 medium-large potatoes, peeled & cut into small chunks

1 15 ounce can corn niblets, drained

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Pinch of salt

Heat the oil in a large soup pot

Sauté celery for 2-3 minutes

Chop ½ the batch of cilantro & sauté it with the celery

Add the cauliflower florets & water. Cover. Bring to a boil, lower flame & simmer for about ½ hour.

In the meantime, cook the potatoes separately

When the florets are soft, purée, add the cooked potatoes & corn niblets.

Add salt & cayenne pepper to taste.

Float the remaining cilantro on top. Use less cilantro if you like it less spicy or use parsley for garnish.

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