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Sunday, August 28, 2011

CSAs, Beets and their Greens, Last Week for my Skin Care Goodies Give-Away

Summer.  Beautiful, hot, sweaty summer.  Isn't it great how each season has the things you love and also the things you could do without?  Balance, yin and yang. 

I love the sound of the cicadas & crickets, the twinkling of the lightening bugs, the longer rays that dance from the sun across the horizon, and the feeling that time could (or should) s-l-o-w down, just a bit, if we let it.

Of course I could do without the energy-sapping humidity (although this year has not been bad at all), the severe thunderstorms with frightening hail and potential for tornadoes (and now, this week, a massive hurricane barreling up the east coast), and the feeling that time is going by too quickly.

If there is a season for vegans, certainly it is summer.  Farm markets and neighbors begging for people to take their excess zuccini and cucumber harvest, tomatoes of every color and my new favorite thing:  my CSA!

CSA, Community Supported Agriculture, is a program wherein you purchase a 'share' of a farmer's or farm coop's production.  The programs vary depending on the farm offering it, but generally the cost seems to range from around $25 - $50/week.  I go to pick up my share weekly and my bundle of goodies usually includes around 7 or so veggies and some fruit.  I'm very fortunate to have a CSA which includes fruit in their program; they also include an herb for us....very cool.  Our program spans 24-25 weeks. 

Part of my weekly CSA pack a couple of weeks ago - a lovely English cuke and some squash ---and the best peaches ever, nestled in the bottom

Kale and beets???  Life is good.

I can make a lot of good points for the case of joining a CSA.  (Check and to find one in your area).  There are counter-points as well; if I really tried, I could probably get the AMOUNT of food I am buying for less, and it does require a substantial financial commitment, but many CSAs have payment programs, but I am looking at several bigger pictures here.  The first is the feeling that I am part of something good; something sustainable, something ground-breaking here in relatively conservative Ohio.  I love that I am getting fresh, organic and locally grown food and the knowledge that I am contributing to an effort to shift our thinking about food, to move us into a pro-active point of view and stop viewing food as some sort of entertainment-- to get to a point of understanding that nutrient content and quality count, in a major way.  My CSA is run by someone who understands that we are killing ourselves with food, and she works hard and diligently to offer variety and to include heirloom species that I would likely never come across otherwise.  The zone of foods & herbs that I am exposed to is forced outward and, as a vegan, I really need to know these other foods and expand my culinary comfort zone!

Here is CSA hero.  Kind, knowledgeable and a true pioneer

with the most beautiful blue eyes.....

Farm market and the retail space of our CSA

Jamie explaining each and every item in our share

For more information on our CSA, check their website here:

Beets and Beet Greens

Speaking of variety...I had my very first sweet potato last year, and now wonder how in the heck I've lived all these years without them!  I adore them.  So, it was with that in mind that I jumped into the world of beets not long ago. 

Fast-forward a few months and I now understand the intrinsic beauty of the beet.  What I hadn't understood was the yummy prize that lies ABOVE the ground....the greens.  Jamie, of our CSA, pushes greens.....I love that she does that and we discussed just recently the amount of food that just shamefully goes to waste in this country.  I jumped in with a spirit of enthusiastic hope-for-it-not-to-taste-like-boiled-shoelaces-optimism and coarsely chopped my beet greens to add to a quick stir fry.

I was so pleasantly surprised and I now LOVE beet greens, shown here with peppers, onions and squash. 

It was with this same enthusiasm that I decided to try the darker, reddish shoots that develop on maturing sweet potato plants (I had no clue we could eat the leaves...there is so much bounty surrounding us --- I am pledging to devote more time into discovery on this topic).

Sweet potato shoots, fresh from my garden

I paired them, lightly sauteed in water, with Rip Esselstyn's Mac Not Cheese

The shoots were earthy and tender, really quite good.  I enjoyed the stems as well.  I definitely will be eating them again.


This will be the last week to enter my Give-Away as a celebration of my one-year vegan anniversary.  I'm giving away a package of goodies from Crafty By Nature, including lip-balm (Karen was inspired to whip up a vegan version just for us!!!), mineral bath salt, apricot body scrub, and body lotion (love this stuff!).  To enter, just leave a comment for me telling me your favorite vegetable.  A winner will be picked at random at the end of the week.

The lip balm Karen created for us.  Vegan Vanilla!

Enjoy the rest of the summer.  Despite the arrival of Xmas displays in the retail outlets and the pressure to move us along at the speed of light through our lives, we actually have a full 4 weeks left until the Autumnal Equinox....plenty of summer left.

Me at the Farm Market, nearly at my goal weight, 13+ months into vegan eating
Sue in Ohio, loving my summer


  1. Love this post...and you look fantastic! Really slimmed down!
    I also checked out Jamie's website...what a nice site. So glad you found her.

  2. Thanks, Renae....feeling so much better too. Sometimes I forget how much better---trying not to take good health for granted!
    Glad you checked out Jamie's site....she's great.