Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Getting Back to Our Roots

I picked up my second basket at our neighborhood "hub" for Tecolote Farms today. I was fortunate to catch the driver unloading the delivery van - Annie - and she enlightened me as to what they could re-use (the basket itself) and what they could not (the plastic bags for the salad greens and salad mixes, the jute ties for various bunches).

Annie told me they are considering developing some sort of clothespin/nametag system to keep track of who has returned their baskets to be refilled and who has not. The reason for this? Tecolote Farms was short over 100 baskets at the end of their last operating season.

One hundred baskets. That's a lot of forgetting. Maybe the powers of fresh organic vegetables to help your mind function more clearly are a bit exaggerated? Or maybe the folks (I admit it - just like me) who have become used to living off the harvest of other's efforts are unfortunately quick to save ourselves a bit of trouble even if it comes off of somebody's else's bottom line. Wait - scratch that - ESPECIALLY if it comes off of somebody ELSE'S bottom line. If it cost ME more to "forget" to bring my baskets back, I have a feeling I'd remember just fine, thanks.

All speculative. As this is only my 2nd week of basketeering, I am 1 for 1 at the moment.

This week's basket has a great baby lettuce mix (I just finished the last of last week's salad mix for lunch today, phew!), more Mache, Bloomsdale Spinach (which is delicious and extra crinkly), the cutest baby carrots (REAL babies - not lathed down), red beets, more Japanese turnips, parsnips, Italian parsley, and some Shunkyo Long Radishes that are "a little spicier" than the icicles we had last week.

The icicle radishes we had last week were QUITE spicy. I am going to approach the Shunkyos with great respect. And maybe gloves.

A big bag of baby lettuce mix means lots of salads will be on the menu at our house. I know just what to do with radishes, carrots and lots of lettuce. Maybe we were both rabbits in a previous life, because fresh salads always seem to hit a good spot with us. We can eat them daily without food fatigue. I can eat them twice a day.

In addition, the newsletter that accompanied the Tecolote baskets today read, "If last week was the 'greens' basket, this is the 'roots' basket...". That will, I suppose, find me looking for new and wonderful ways to use the roots in this week's line-up.

The turnips, case in point, which my husband was not totally happy with roasted last week, might be more palatable mashed in with potatoes.

I have noted restaurants around here have been going nutso over pureed parsnips (the alliterative prospects perhaps?) so I will probably try to find a way to puree some of ours. I will however try to keep an open mind as I explore what else looks entertaining and delicious in the marvelous realm of the parsnip.

For now, I hold a bit of fear and trepidation over the beets. My husband likes beets he says. So if I can manage not to get in their way, hopefully we'll be fine. I'll keep you posted, as always.

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