Posts tagged ‘zero food waste’

February 19, 2013

Who Needs Peapod When Your Farm Delivers?

One of my great joys over the past 9 months has been to sit down on Sunday afternoons, and think about what I wanted to cook over the next week. As our regular routine was anything but regular, this simple step was one that helped ensure that there was something in the freezer to cook … and brought a big smile to my face in the process. But I did not order food from our local Harris Teeter or our local Giant. I had no need to do so. Instead, I went onto the South Mountain Creamery site to figure out what to order. We have a recurring milk and egg order, and now routinely order cheese, sandwich meat (awesome salami), and some meat from them.  Sometimes we’ll add something pickled, or if it is cider season, some apple cider. And we have not been disappointed. The milk still makes my kids sing with joy (especially if I splurge and get a chocolate milk half gallon…), and the meat and cheese are much more flavorful than what we used to get at the grocery store.

As I was thinking about renewing our CSA, a friend of mine posted on FB asking for advice about local CSAs. After I shared my thoughts about our CSA, I read the comments that a friend of hers posted, and learned that there is a farm delivery service called South Mountain Veggies that is modeled on a CSA but that allows you to make substitutions in your order. I know that many CSAs also have that option, but ours does not. So, I jumped on the website, and started to look around to see what was available. As I looked, I realized that I could still support local and organic producers, but have a little bit more control over what produce came in our bag. So, we decided to give it a try, and got our first bag Friday. We are working our way through it — but were thrilled at the freshness and flavor that has characterized everything so far.

The husband is pretty happy with this new approach to the CSA. His biggest complaint has been that we end up composting too much of what we get from the CSA (especially the Swiss chard) … and he is hopeful that this approach will fit better into the reality of our lives.

And best of all for me … I can get locally sourced flour for baking!!

So, no need for Peapod. I can order just about everything I need from these two sources, supporting my local farmers, and enhancing my sanity by reducing trips to the grocery store!

Readers — do any of you depend upon local farm delivery services in addition to your local farmers’ markets and/or CSAs?

 

 

 

April 3, 2012

If I Ever Need To Cook A Wolf….

…I want Tamar Adler to be with me. Not only would she be able to provide me with excellent advice about the best techniques to use, I know she would write a wonderful book about it.

But if you can’t wait for me to find a wolf to cook…and it might take a very long time for that to happen in the DC ‘burbs (although we just got visual confirmation that coyotes are wandering around in Arlington…), I recommed that you pick up a copy of Adler’s new book, An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace.

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October 12, 2011

The Zero Waste Challenge Increases Mindfulness

When you are engaged in a challenge, and you are planning to blog about it, and your entire family now knows that you are doing it, there are conversations in the kitchen rarely had before.

1. Like, when you come downstairs after a long weekend, and smell the coffee already made, you realize that the eldest was listening when his dad and I were discussing the need to compost the coffee grounds, because when you ask him what he did with the coffee grounds, he says, “I composted them, wasn’t I supposed to?”

2. And when you and your spouse are making dinner, the man of your dreams turns to you and says, “These are too big for the compost, what should we do with them?” and you realize that if there are parts of the produce (like cauliflower or broccoli stems) that are a bit too “chunky” for the compost …. you can put them in a bag and store in the freezer for making more veggie broth over the weekend. I already have a gallon bag full (most of that is the radish leaves that came attached to our CSA radishes this week that I know I won’t be cooking – so if I freeze them then I can use them for broth and then add them to the compost.)

3. And then there are the internal “duh” conversations like, hey, when I have enough leftover cauliflower and potato curry for three lunch boxes, put them in the small lunch-box-sized tupperware containers instead of the large 2 cup size that will sit in the fridge for weeks and then become food waste. Then they will magically disappear from the fridge and nourish our family, not our garbage.

I still haven’t figured out what to do with “extra” egg shells.  Because we are a family of five, we contribute a lot of egg shells to the compost, and the man of the house (who is in charge of the compost) said we needed to take a break after the weekend.

But our garbage is nearly food free (except for two old leftover items that didn’t get tossed in the fridge clean over the weekend).

I’m feeling pretty positive that we can make a big impact on the amount of food waste in our house just by the simple act of paying attention.  I’m amazed already with the progress we’ve made.

October 10, 2011

Day One Towards Zero: We’re Not Quite There Yet.

So, a couple of things to note on this first day of our effort to zero food waste.

First, remember that coffee grounds should be composted. When you are in a routine, and you are a bleary-eyed morning person, it’s very likely that your coffee grounds from yesterday will hit the trash BEFORE you remember that they are food waste and have another use …

Second, remember to tell your dear husband that you have proclaimed it zero food waste week in our household, so that he knows that the handful of peas that didn’t make it into the omelets this morning should have been repurposed…and thank him for unwittingly participating in the zero food waste challenge by making omelets that used up left-over grilled veggies and one of the tomatoes that needed eating and incorporating one of the seen-better-day bananas into a “splorch” snack (a smoothie w/o any dairy).

Third, it’s okay to look in the trash can (which is mostly empty of food waste – except for those blessed peas) and take out the two lime peels that contributed the lime juice to the splorch and put them into the disposal and grind them all up — freshening the disposal naturally.

Lessons for tomorrow:

(1) To forestall bleary-eyed errors, empty the coffee grounds into the compost before you go to bed.  Bonus: your pot is ready for new grounds in the morning!

(2) Think about a scrap bin to put compostable items in as food preparation happens….

***Thanks to Microsoft Office for the image…

October 9, 2011

Can We Get to Zero?

Zero food waste, that is.  A goal to which I have aspired for over the past year or so (ever since I read Diet for a Small Planet), but have fallen woefully short more times than I care to note.

But, it is a new week tomorrow, and Green(ish) Monkeys is going to give it a try, and I thought I’d join in.

So, today I got ready.

I cleaned out my fridge:

1. I threw out the greens rotted beyond recognition, as well as indeterminate contents of tupperware.

2. Greens on the yellow side were added to the compost.

3. All other limp veggies, and leftover but unconsumed veggies and stems from dinners last week were put in pot of water.  I added an onion and some fresh thyme and celeriac stems, and let it simmer all day while we enjoyed the awesome Indian summer day.

Now, we have 6 cups of vegetable broth in the freezer for use this week or next.

4. After those were cooked and strained, those veggies were added to the compost.

5. The Man of the House made an apple pie, and homemade tomato sauce using the last of our garden tomatoes, and some dribs and drabs of pesto, and half a can of leftover tomato paste… that we enjoyed over our pasta this evening.

6. And then I made a list of what I need to remember to cook this week, rather than going to the store to buy more food that I might not use in time…

  • salad greens
  • arugula
  • cilantro
  • thyme
  • 4 spicy peppers
  • potatoes
  • 1 bunch cauliflower
  • 1 bunch broccoli
  • a few beets
  • 3 good sized radishes
  • 8 small tomatoes
  • 2 bananas
  • more apples
  • lemons
  • limes
  • fresh ginger
  • fresh black beans
  • pole beans
  • the rest of the limp basil….
Of course, there’s lots more in the freezer and in the fridge not included here (eggs, cheese), but the real challenge for me is making sure we eat all of the produce that comes in to our house. As you can see  – we do not lack for produce.  And Tuesday we get more from our CSA!
So since I’m home tomorrow, maybe I’ll make zucchini bread, and a cauliflower and potato curry, and a green salad for sure, and more pesto – both basil and arugula.  I think the bananas will go into smoothies in the morning… using some frozen berries too. Once you start thinking of all you can do with what’s already in your fridge it can be hard to stop :)!
I’ll try to post throughout the week to report out how we do.  Join in if you wish!
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