Thursday, May 27, 2010

Stepping Out, Getting Green

So, after being in limbo (again) and transitioning (again) things are finally starting to settle. Good timing, too, because the weather is phenomenal, memorial day is around the corner, and we're starting to see all things green.

People are starting to think a little greener as well, so I figured we might as well incorporate that here. After all, we're all about being savvy with our ingredients and cleaver with our meal planning. A little conscientious consumption goes a long way. I'm a novice myself, so this seemed like a good place to have a learning experience.

Here are some projects RD3 will be taking on:
1) Composting. I now live with two gents who are both big time foodies. Apart from getting to eat a ton of creative and well prepared dishes, we go through a lot of produce. I was amazed at how many raw scraps we throw away. Carrot tops, lettuce stems, celery leaves... you name it. So I started looking in to composting as a way to decrease our waste. I was surprised to learn that we can also include things like coffee filters and grounds, TP tubes, and other biodegradable materials. So we're jumping on the composting bandwagon. But what to use it for...

2) Vegetable Garden. I'm a little limited because I can't plant directly in the ground and, unfortunately, New Canaan doesn't have a community garden. But if it can grow in a pot, I'm growing it in a pot. So far I've planted tomatoes, basil, rosemary, lavender, eggplant, sweet red Italian peppers, and cayenne peppers. I'd like to add some peas and beans to the mix. I'm already getting pretty excited about a) watching the veggies grow and b) how much money I'm going to save on herbs this summer.

3) Rain Barrel. It seems stupid to water a garden from the tap when plenty of the stuff falls out of the sky on a pretty regular basis. We're going to start collecting the rain in a barrel so we can use it for the garden, or even purify it for other uses.

4) Farmer's Markets. It's a no-brainer. By supplementing your weekly food-shopping by going to a farmer's market, you support your local farmers and agriculture industry, get ridiculously fresh meats, dairy, vegetables (and even shellfish), are usually getting pesticide-free, organic product, and it's socially responsible. Even though it's a little more expensive, you can plan your meals around what's being sold at the market and what's on sale at the food store.

My friend Jodi and I went to the Westport, CT farmer's market today. It was honestly my first real dig at a market, and I didn't really know what to expect. I'd gone in the past to purchase some novelty items, but never with the intention of "shopping". I was excited to see a TON of vegetable plants, so I picked up some eggplant and pepper plants. We took note of what was in season (green stuff -- lettuces, asparagus, herbs..) and realized that we'd come unprepared. Note to self: bring a cooler.

We ended up staying for lunch and had some pretty amazing thin-crust pizza. The guest chef was from Rizzuto’s Wood-Fired Kitchen. They had a fantastic whole-wheat pizza topped with asparagus and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. I don't know how, but Jodi and I got ridiculously lucky and ended up with the last pizza before they ran out. The whole experience was pretty great and I'm looking forward to going back next week to see what else we can find. For a list of your local farmer's markets, you can visit your local Department of Agriculture website. Most of them run from mid-spring to early winter, some even stick around until Christmas. I've actually found one in my area for every day of the week that I'm not working. I'm pretty excited to be cutting out the middle-man and going straight to the farmers.

So, that's where I'm at. I am looking forward to enjoying the summer and getting some great recipes up while I'm at it. I'll hopefully be able to keep you posted with tips and whatnot as I go along. Have fun!

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