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Five on Friday {Start of Spring Break}

And just like that it’s Friday again!  This week feels like it’s flown by!  This weekend starts the kids’ spring break.  As of now we don’t have big plans.  However, I’m sure we will fill the week with fun.  Here’s a look at five from this week:

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1. Reading – I am half-way through reading Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough.  This is a suspense/thriller read that is holding my interest.  I haven’t found a lot of reading time this week but hope to finish it this weekend.

2. Watching – I’m excited that new seasons of both The Real Housewives of Potomac and New York City started this week.  Beverly Hills is still on as well, so I am in Real Housewives heaven!

3. Celebrating – Tuesday my husband and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary.  My parents took us out for dinner on Sunday evening to celebrate. Since weeknights are not great nights for celebrating my husband and I met up for a lunch date yesterday.  We had a delicious meal, pictured above!

4. Family Fun – My husband recently founded the Westchester chapter of the Binghamton University Alumni Association.  Last weekend they held a family event at the Westchester Knicks game.  It was the last game of the season and although the Knicks lost, we had a fun time.

5.  Cooking –  Last week I went to HMart, a Korean grocery store and stocked up on some staple sauces and such.  Since then, I’ve been on a Korean cooking kick.  Check out Monday’s weekly meal plan post to see what I cooked up this past week!  I had some ripe bananas that needed to be used up so I made these Banana Sour Cream Muffins from epicurious as well.  We’ve enjoyed them for breakfast and there were some extras that I put in the freezer for another time.

ICYMI this week on the blog:

2017 calendar
Monday
I shared our weekly meal plan.

Currently 2017

Wednesday I shared my April Currently and joined the monthly link up.

Thursday I posted a Thirsty Thursday review of Keegan Ales Old Capital.

Linking up with Katie, Andrea and April!  Hope you have a great weekend!

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Keegan Ales: Old Capital {Thirsty Thursday}

Today on Thirsty Thursday I’m featuring a beer from a local Hudson Valley brewery.  Keegan Ales was founded in 2003 in Kingston, New York.  The brewery has one many awards including 2009 Best Brewery in the Hudson Valley, 2009 Best Brewery in New York State as well as 2009 Best Craft-Brewed Beer in New York State. If you’re in the area, you can get a free tour of the brewery.  Tours are given at the top of the hour from 1-6 PM, Friday through Sunday.  Even better, you can have a meal at the restaurant, which serves fare including appetizers, salads and sandwiches.

Disclaimer:  I am not a beer drinker.  I’ll take a hard cider or fruity cocktail over a beer any day.  My husband who enjoys a beer now and then is by no means a craft beer expert.  However, he enjoys trying new beers and volunteering his thoughts in our Thirsty Thursday posts! 

Keegan Ales brews six beers as well as the occasional seasonal and specialty beer. Today, I’m featuring their Old Capital.  Kingston became New York’s first capital in 1777 and is where the first New York State Senate was established.  Old Capital pays homage to Kingston’s historical significance.  It’s a traditional, golden ale with a slight malty, citrus aroma.  I poured the beer into a Food Network Craft Pub glass.  I’m not sure if it’s the glass, or more likely the way that I poured the beer, but as seen in the photo, there was a HUGE foam head on the beer.  After a little research, I discovered that it’s definitely the way that I poured the beer!

I bought this beer at Acme, where they have a build-your-own six-pack for $11.99.  While they have a limited selection of craft beer and ciders, they almost always have a couple of different beers from local breweries available.  Old Capital is available in bottles throughout the tri-state area (New York, New Jersey and Connecticut).

Verdict:  Recommend.  While there’s nothing particularly noteworthy about this ale, it’s pleasant tasting and my husband would drink it again.

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Currently April 2017

Currently 2017
Happy April!  I am ready for some April Showers and warmer weather.  April is a busy month for us as we celebrate my wedding anniversary, my daughter’s birthday, Passover and Easter.  I am joining Anne and Jess once again for the monthly Currently link up.  Make sure to join us next month,  Wednesday May 3, when I co-host with Anne and we share what we are currently baking, listening, loving, planting and remembering!  For April, here is what I’m currently:

Accomplishing – I am accomplishing lots of birthday planning.  We are celebrating my daughter’s 11th birthday with the family on Easter.  So, with some input from her, my husband and I are working on getting the menu finalized.  She’s also having her friends party the weekend after.  Since she’s a game lover, she’s having a Minute To Win It themed party with lots of games.  There’s definitely lots of planning that needs to be finalized for this party.

Feeling – lucky.  My husband and I just celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary yesterday.  While 13 may be considered an unlucky number to some, we are feeling very lucky.  We have created a beautiful family and wonderful life together over these years and can’t wait to create lots more memories.  To celebrate, my parents took us out to dinner this past weekend and we have a belated lunch date tomorrow!

Needing – to eat healthier.  Spring is here!  While I belong to the gym and have been taking lots of classes, I haven’t been the best about eating healthy.   My husband and I have agreed that for the next few months, while eating at home we are going to make healthier choices.  However, all bets are off when we go out!  LOL!

Practicing – shopping restraint.  It’s so easy to run into the store to buy something I need and come out with a bunch of other things that I didn’t!  While I pride myself on being a bargain shopper and getting a good deal, we are trying to cut down on extraneous spending.  So, I’ve really been trying to stick to the shopping list!

Pinning – lots of recipes, as usual, as well as NY focused travel pins.  This summer I’m planning on taking the kids on some road trips around the state.  Some of the stops include Albany, Niagara Falls, Lake George and the Catskill Mountains.  Plus, lots of day trips around the area and NYC.  I love living in NY state and it has so much to see and do.  I figured this summer is a great time to explore the state before we venture out further in our travels.

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Weekly Meal Plan {Week 72}

2017 calendar
Happy Monday!  I hope you had a great weekend and are ready to rock another week!  Monday means that it’s time for another meal plan. If you are looking for some dinner time inspiration, my weekly meal plan is the place for you.  Each week I showcase what was on my previous week’s meal plan, with pictures, recipe links and most importantly, my family’s review of each dish.  There are so many food blogs, cookbooks and recipes out there and I am always on the lookout for new family-friendly recipes that are quick and easy!  If you are new to meal planning, read more about how I make my weekly meal plan.  Here’s a look at what was on our menu this past week:

Saturday: We hosted our monthly supper club this month.  This month’s theme was Polish cuisine.  I bought some kielbasa from the Polish deli and made homemade pierogies.  It was very labor intensive, but oh so good!  And my husband made stuffed cabbage rolls.  It was a delicious dinner!

Sunday: My husband made a roast that I had picked up earlier in the week.  He cooked it a perfect medium.  He used the leftover potato pierogi filling and made croquettes to go with.  He served with some broccoli to round out the meal.

Monday:  We had so many stuffed cabbage rolls left from Saturday that we had the extras for dinner.  Sadly, I do not have a picture of them.  While they are a Polish staple, they weren’t my favorite.

Tuesday: My kids helped me make Zia Donatella’s Gumbo by Giada De Laurentiis.  It’s on a recipe card from her children’s chapter book New Orleans!  in her Recipe for Adventure series.  The andouille sausage in this recipe gave this dish a surprising amount of heat.  While probably not authentic New Orleans gumbo, this is a Giada De Laurentiis recipe and it was very good!  I’m not quite sure that I’ve ever had gumbo to have something to compare it to.  The kids ate it, spice and all!  While still tasty the next day, the gumbo did not get its soupy texture back.  So, I’d recommend eating the first day!

Wednesday: I made Cilantro Lime Chicken with Rice Skillet from A Kitchen Addiction.  I don’t make a lot of brown rice and this recipe uses instant.  So neither my kids or I were a fan of the rice in this dish.  I used chicken thighs instead of breasts, but otherwise made the recipe as directed.  The lime flavor was noticeable.  While this dish was light and easy to make, it’s not on my repeat list.

Thursday: I made Chorizo and Fried Egg Breakfast Tacos from How Sweet It Is.  I ended up making scrambled eggs instead.  Breakfast for dinner is always a hit at our house and both my kids had two of these tacos.

Friday:  We ended the week with our usual homemade pizza.  This week was another plain cheese pizza.  Super quick, easy and tasty!

What is on your menu this week?

Shamrock Farms Cold Brew Coffee & Milk {Thirsty Thursday}

Today’s Thirsty Thursday review is all about coffee!  Cold-brewed coffee to be more exact.  Cold brew coffee is made just as the name implies, it’s brewed cold.  Fans of cold-brew coffee enjoy the decreased acidity and smoother flavor the coffee has over regular, hot-brewed coffee.  For myself the type of brewing doesn’t really matter, I just need the caffeine first thing in the morning!

Shamrock Farms is a family-owned and -operated dairy farm located in Stanfield, Arizona.  Founded in 1922, the farm has a herd of over 10,000 cows and produces a full line of dairy products including milk, sour cream, cottage cheese and more, as well as cold brew coffee.  The cows are never treated with growth hormones and Shamrock Farms uses sustainable practices like 100% recyclable packaging, a manure management system on the farm and a waste-water pre-treatment system at its manufacturing plant.

To make their cold brew coffee, Shamrock Farms brews 100% Colombian beans that they ground and steep in cold water and then add to their milk.  The cold brew coffee line was launched this past fall in Arizona and has been available nationally since early 2017.  I bought this coffee drink at Shoprite but it’s also available at many grocery stores including Albertsons, Safeway, Tops, and Publix.

Review:  My husband and I shared a 12 ounce bottle of cold brew.  We tried the vanilla flavor, but it also comes in original and mocha.  We both found the consistency of the beverage to be surprisingly thick.  I enjoyed the flavor of the coffee more than my husband did.  With 22 grams of sugar, this is definitely on the sweet side and not something that I’d drink every day.  However, the sweetness isn’t overly powering. I find the $2.99 retail price a bit steep for a 12 ounce bottle.  However, Shamrock Farms offers a $1.00 off coupon on their site.

Verdict:  Worth a try.  Not something to drink every day, but good for an occasional treat, especially when you need a caffeine fix on the go.

Sultan’s Turkish Cuisine {Review}

While traveling from Westchester County, New York to my parent’s house in Rhode Island, we pass Sultan’s Turkish Cuisine as we travel through Waterbury, Connecticut.  Located at 586 Plank Road, the restaurant is visible and located, right off I-84. We’ve driven by this restaurant countless times and finally, on a recent trip back from Rhode Island decided to stop for a late lunch.

The restaurant was empty when we arrived around 1:45 PM on a Monday afternoon. However, as our lunch progressed, the restaurant started to fill up.

The dining area is large with both tables and booths.  The interior walls are hung with decorative artwork, while elaborate drapery hang from the windows.

Turkey is a transcontinental country with parts in both Western Asia and Southeast Europe. The cuisine is influenced by its location, with key ingredients include lamb, beef, rice, fish, eggplant and nuts.  Spices often used include parsley, mint, sumac, cumin, Za’atar and paprika.

My husband and I were slightly familiar with Turkish food, as we recently had a Turkish-themed supper club dinner. However, this was our family’s first time dining at a Turkish restaurant.  To get the most variety and be able to try different dishes, we opted to share a small mixed cold appetizer platter and a small mixed hot appetizer platter.

The small mixed cold appetizer platter ($13.99) included (from top left (11 o’clock) on the plate) Humus, Bababganush, Haydari, Havuc Tarator, Antep Ezpe and Soslu Patlican. I was expecting lavash bread (a puffy bread often served with appetizers) or some other type of pita to put these spreads and dips on but we weren’t given any.  Instead, we used the crusty bread that was placed on our table when we arrived.

Humus – pureed chickpeas with olive oil, tahini, garlic and lemon juice.  We are not new to humus.  Although I usually buy it, rather than make it, it’s usually a staple in our fridge.

Babaganush – pureed roasted eggplant blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic.  I love babaganush!

Haydari (Labne) – pressed yogurt mixed with garlic, olive oil, dill and crushed walnuts.

Havuc Tarator (Carrot Dip) – Carrots, mayo, sour cream, olive oil and lemon juice.

Antep Ezpe (Muammara) – A blend of tomatoes, red bell peppers, hot long green peppers, parsley, garlic, walnuts and pepper paste.  This spread was a bit spicy.

Soslu Patlican (Sauced Eggplant) – A mixture of fried eggplant cubes, red and green peppers and garlic topped with the chef’s special tomato sauce. This was one of my favorites of the cold appetizers!

The small mixed hot appetizer platter ($12.99) included (from top 12 o’clock) Calamari, Mucver, Sigara Borek,  Arnavut Cigeri and Falafel.

Calamari – Deep fried calamari served with the chef’s special sauce.

Mucver (Zucchini Pancake) – Combination of zucchini and fresh herbs and spices, served with yogurt sauce.

Sigara Borek – Cigar-shaped, fried crispy pastry filled with feta cheese and fresh parsley.

Arnavut Cigeri – Floured and deep-fried calf’s liver cubes pan seared with garlic and herbs.

Falafel – Deep-fried mixture of chickpeas, parsley, onions, garlic and Middle Eastern spices.

The only other hot appetizers not included on this platter include Izgara Kalamar (grilled calamari), Kizartma Fuve (potato pancakes) and Imam Bayildi (stuffed eggplant).  While I found the variety of the platter to be good, the portions were not conducive to sharing.  Splitting several of the above items between the four of us meant we each literally only got a bite.  A large platter though would have been way too much food for us.

Finally, for the main entree we shared the Mixed Grill Kebab Plate ($23.99).  This included Chicken Shish (cubed chicken), Lamb Shish (cubed lamb), Kofte (Turkish meatballs made of ground lamb), Adana (ground lamb seasoned with red bell peppers) and Doner (Thin slices of seasoned lamb and beef slow-cooked on a large, vertical spit). All kebab entrees are served with a side salad, and both white and bulgur rice.

Although stuffed, we couldn’t leave without trying a dessert!  The dessert menu included Baklava, Kunefe, Revani, Sekerpare, Sutlac and Kazandibi.  We ordered the Kazandibi ($5.95), pictured above, to share among the four of us.  It’s a vanilla-based milky pudding with a caramelized top.  This had a similar texture and taste to creme brulee.

Baklava – A sweet pastry made of layers of filo, filled with chopped nuts and sweetened and held together with syrup.

Kunefe – Shredded filo dought stuffed with cheese then soaked in a sweet sugar-based syrup.

Revani – Baked semolina soaked with the chef’s special syrup.

Sekerpare – Baked soft balls of pastry dipped in a thick, lemony, sugar syrup.

Sutlac (Rice Pudding)  – Sweet vanilla based mixture of milk and rice baked in the oven.

A variety of tea and coffee, including Turkish Coffee and Turkish Tea,  are available and can be ordered by the cup or kettle.

We had a great experience at Sultan’s Turkish Cuisine.  Although I don’t have prior dining experience to compare it to, the food we had was delicious and tasted authentic. The restaurant is family-friendly and offers a variety of dishes including vegetarian.  I liked how there was no issues with the four of us sharing the two appetizers and one entree. Our waiter even complimented on our “eating family-style.”  Since we obviously don’t eat Turkish often, this was a great way for us all to taste a variety of items from the menu.  Saturday evenings the restaurant has belly dancers from 7:30 – 8:00 PM which would be a fun experience for the kids to see!  The restaurant also offers takeout and delivery.

Attached to the restaurant is a small grocery shop selling all kinds of Turkish food products.  We of course couldn’t leave without picking up a few different types of candy to try!

The Details:
Sultan’s Turkish Cuisine
586 Plank Road
Waterbury, CT 06705
www.sultansrestaurantct.com

Hours:
Sunday – Thursday:  10:30 AM – 10:00 PM
Friday & Saturday:  10:30 AM – 11:00 PM

Price:  $$
Appetizers: $4.99 (lentil soup) – $20.99 (large mixed cold appetizer plate)
Kebabs:  $13.99 –  $26.99
Entrees:  $12.99 – $25.99)
Desserts:  $4.95 – $7.95

Recommend for families:  Yes

Overall Recommendation:  Yes

 

Weekly Meal Plan {Week 71}

2017 calendar

Happy Monday!  Monday means that it’s time for another meal plan. If you are looking for some dinner time inspiration, my weekly meal plan is the place for you.  Each week I showcase what was on my previous week’s meal plan, with pictures, recipe links and most importantly, my family’s review of each dish.  There are so many food blogs, cookbooks and recipes out there and I am always on the lookout for new family-friendly recipes that are quick and easy!  If you are new to meal planning, read more about how I make my weekly meal plan.  Here’s a look at what was on our menu this past week:

Saturday: We were out snow tubing up in Warwick, NY.  We stopped at Eddie’s Roadhouse for dinner before we headed home.  They have a great craft beer menu.  While the food menu looked great, we were a bit disappointed with the food.

Sunday: For some reason, I was craving Eggplant Parm.  I told my husband and he said he’d make it for dinner.  My son helped him cook dinner while complaining that he didn’t like eggplant.  Well, both kids had seconds of this deliciousness! He served it with some garlic bread.   It was so cheesy and good that we finished the whole pan!

Monday: I went out to dinner with a friend.  However, I made Chicken Noodle Soup for the rest of the family for dinner.  I had made a whole chicken in the slow cooker last week and had leftover chicken.  I poured two 32 ounce cartons of chicken stock into a pot.  I sauteed the carrots, onion and celery a little bit before adding them to the stock.  I then added some leftover chicken.  Then I added some egg noodles and let them cook in the broth and seasoned with some salt and pepper.  It was very quick and easy and they all enjoyed it!

Tuesday: I made Sonoma Chicken Salad Wraps from Eat Laugh Purr.  Tanya made it as a salad.  However, I turned it into a wrap by just putting everything in a tortilla.  My son helped me prep dinner and was in charge of cutting the grapes in half.  I used the rest of the leftover rotisserie chicken so this was a super quick and easy dish to prepare. I served this with some kettle potato chips and both kids enjoyed this meal a lot. My husband ate this as a salad and enjoyed it as well.

Wednesday: I made Brunch Ham Enchiladas from Taste of Home.  Breakfast for dinner is always a hit in our house and it’s been awhile since I made something breakfast-y for dinner.  I made these the night before and then just had to pop them in the oven to cook.  We found these to be best eaten the day of.  I microwaved one for breakfast the next day and thought it was okay.  My daughter who usually eats leftovers was not a fan of them the next day.

Thursday: I made Upside-Down Shepherd’s Pie from the January/February 2017 issues of Cooking Light.  I ended up pre-chopping all the veggies.  When my husband got home from he cooked everything while I was at piano lessons with the kids.  This was pretty quick and easy to prepare and we all enjoyed it!  My kids even ate the turnip without complaint.

Friday:  We had our weekly homemade cheese pizza.  Quick, easy and tasty!

What are you having for dinner this week?

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Five on Friday {Last Weekend in March}

 

Happy Friday! I can’t believe this is the last weekend in March!  This month flew by. This week was pretty uneventful….which isn’t a bad thing.  This was the first full week of school that the kids have had in awhile.  I love that it stays lighter later and the weather seems to be warming up.  It’s beginning to feel like spring!  Tonight my son has his Cub Scout Pinewood Derby and tomorrow night we have our Polish-themed supper club which we are hosting.  Here is five from this past week:

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Reading: I just started reading It’s Not Okay by Andi Dorfman.  If you didn’t see her on either The Bachelor or The Bachelorette and aren’t a fan of the show, then don’t bother reading this book!  I’ve only read the first chapter and it’s a lot of behind the scenes Bachelor show stuff.

Manchester by the Sea.jpg

Watching:  Last weekend my husband and I watched Manchester By the Sea.  I knew nothing about the movie before I saw it, only that Casey Affleck had won both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for his role.  I thought it took place in England…..like I said, I knew nothing about it.  Overall, I’d give the move 3/5 stars.  I found it to move very slow.  However, it interested me enough that I didn’t fall asleep on the couch while watching!

Family Fun: Last Saturday we completed our last winter family bucket list item, snow tubing!  We went to Mt. Peter in Warwick, NY and had a great time!  This was my bucket list item and the first time any of us had been snow tubing.  The kids especially had a blast and my son is already talking about going again next year!

Sunday we went up to Crown Maple at Madava Farms for the first of NY Maple Weekends.  There were complimentary maple syrup tastings, self guided tours of the facility, tree tapping demonstrations, samples of their maple kettle corn, maple cotton candy, maple granola and maple milk shakes.  We also got to roast marshmallows outside at the fire pit.  Lots of family fun was had last weekend!

Mom Time:  I went out to dinner Monday night with a friend.  Somehow, it’s very difficult for me to schedule time out with my friends!  This friend and I somehow only get to see each other every couple of months.  It’s great to catch up and get some mom time, without kids, in!

Eating:  Besides all the weekend fun and eating we’ve been cooking at home this week too!  Sunday I was craving eggplant parm.  My wonderful husband appeased my craving and made it for dinner.  Even the kids who claimed that they don’t like eggplant both had seconds of this!  Check out this Monday’s post for our weekly meal plan!

ICYMI this week on the blog:
2017 calendar
Monday I shared our weekly meal plan.

Wednesday I shared CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) Alternatives.

Thursday I reviewed Great South Bay Brewery’s Blood Orange Pale Ale.

Linking up with Katie, Andrea and April!  Have a great weekend!

Great South Bay Brewery: Blood Orange Pale Ale {Thirsty Thursday}

In the past, I’ve done a monthly six-pack review of new-to-us craft beer and ciders.  I’ve decided to switch things up and instead do a weekly “Thirsty Thursday” beverage feature.  These posts will include both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and cocktail reviews for your reading and drinking pleasure!  Unfortunately, you probably won’t see a lot of wine reviews here since neither my husband or I are big drinkers of the stuff.

Our first Thirsty Thursday feature is Great South Bay Brewery’s Blood Orange Pale Ale.  The Great South Bay Brewery is a New York State brewery located off the south shore of Long Island.   Rick Sobotka, founder and brewmaster is a native New Yorker, born and raised in the small town of Apalachin, New York.  A graduate of Binghamton University, Sobotka is a board-certified Anesthesiologist and a fourth-generation brewer.  Founded in 2010, Great South Bay Brewery has a 4,000 square-foot Tasting Room with fourteen beers on tap.

Disclaimer:  I am not a beer drinker.  I’ll take a hard cider or fruity cocktail over a beer any day.  My husband who enjoys a beer now and then is by no means a craft beer expert.  However, he enjoys trying new beers and volunteering his thoughts on our Thirsty Thursday posts! 

Review:  Great South Bay Brewery’s Blood Orange Pale Ale is an American Pale Ale.  Blood oranges are blended with the brewery’s original Pale Ale. It has a nice, golden color, reminiscent of the blood orange that it is named for. However, my husband didn’t think the blood orange flavor was particularly evident while drinking it.  While this beer is intended to be a summer beverage, it is available all year long.  My husband thought that this Blood Orange Pale Ale makes a good winter beer since he found it to be thick, smooth and comforting.

Verdict:  Recommend

 

CSA Alternatives

It’s March.  Some parts of the country are still getting snow.  But, if you are thinking of joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), now is the time.  While thoughts of warm weather and juicy, sun-ripened tomatoes are at the back of our minds, local farmers are getting ready to start planting.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  By joining a CSA you are purchasing shares of vegetables and produce from a local farm.  When joining a CSA you pay upfront for a certain number of weeks (usually about 20 weeks from June – October) of produce.  While the price can be daunting, (approximately $600-$700 for the season) many farms provide payment plans to help ease the cost.  Each week you pick up your share of locally grown produce.  Most farm CSAs include only veggies.  However, other goodies like fruit, eggs, cheese, syrup and more can be added at an additional charge.

Joining a CSA has many benefits.  Since a CSA is provided by a local farm you are supporting local agriculture.  You are getting fresh produce, every week for a set number of weeks, the quality of which is far superior to anything found on a grocery shelf.  You also get to try new vegetables and/or experience different varieties of familiar favorites.

Last summer my family joined a CSA for the first time.  We experienced all of the benefits listed above and were introduced to new vegetables like mizuna and buttercup squash.  We joined a CSA that offered choices in the veggies we received each week.  For example, one week we could choose a bunch of swiss chard or kale and mix and match 2 pounds of several different varieties of peppers and/or eggplant.  It was fun taking the kids with me each week and having them see and help choose the vegetables.

However, this year we aren’t joining a CSA.  We plan on traveling a lot this summer.  Unfortunately, the CSA that we joined last year was for 20 weeks with a specific day and set times for pick-up.  We would end up missing too many weeks to make it monetarily worth it for us.  However, I still would like fresh, local veggies when we are home.  There is nothing better than a ripe tomato in the summer.  Add a slice of fresh mozzarella, some fresh basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar or olive oil and I’m in heaven!

So what are are some CSA alternatives?

Take a trip the Farmer’s Market

Many towns have a local farmer’s market.  It’s nice to wake up early on the weekend and stroll the various stands.   Farmer’s markets differ in number and types of vendors, so you may have to check out a couple before you find a favorite.  A benefit of farmer’s markets is that you can also pick up bread, cheese, eggs and even sometimes meat, jam, pickles or honey.  You are also able to talk with workers who may have helped plant and pick the lettuce you are buying!  Another benefit of visiting the farmer’s market is that you can see the produce and purchase the quantity and type of veggies that you want.

 

 Join a Local Produce Delivery Service

Field Goods is a year-round local produce delivery service that delivers to many areas of the northeast United States.  It’s a subscription service with four different size bags to choose from.  You choose a delivery location convenient to you and the produce bags are delivered there weekly for you to pick up.  They even deliver to workplaces, if enough employees sign up for delivery.  You can put your subscription on hold and restart any time.  The produce bags include both fruit and veggies and they also offer add-on items including artisan breads and dairy products.  Some other produce delivery services include Farmbox Direct, Hungry Harvest and Farm Fresh to You.  Do a quick Google search for “produce delivery” + your town or state and you will likely find several different options.  Almost all of these services work similarly to Field Goods.

Plant a Garden

If you have the time and space try planting a garden!  While this option requires a lot more work on your end, it is much more cost effective.  You can either start plants from seeds or buy starter plants from your local nursery or even Home Depot or Walmart.  We have a super tiny backyard with very little direct sunlight, so unfortunately planting a garden isn’t a viable option for us.  However, we do try to do some container gardening on our deck and grow herbs and tomato plants.

Are you joining a CSA this year?  Or are you choosing a CSA alternative?