I love summer for so many reasons.  But, in-season, local vegetables and fruit top my list.

Two years ago, we joined a CSA.  In fact, we got our first share on the day that Bear was born.  Once I got home from the hospital, at my request, my mother-in-law made me a salad from local lettuce and homegrown asparagus that, along with cheese and an olive oil vinaigrette, tasted better to me than anything I could have imagined.  My body was spent from a long labor and probably depleted of nutrients thanks to a hungry Bear, and I began craving fresh vegetables.  I nearly ate nothing else for several days, and my mother-in-law became worried that I was not getting enough calories to make milk, so she began boiling eggs and roasting chickens.

Admittedly, I am less inspired by grocery store vegetables.  Even the vegetables and fruit at Whole Foods, although better than that at our local grocery store, can hold nothing to the bounty that comes in our share every week.

Today, a little over a month into the season, we received a carton of tiny strawberries, four ripe tomatoes, a bunch of green onions, two good-sized zucchini, a carton of snap peas, and a large bag of green beans and new potatoes.  Over the past month, we have been living off of a variety of kale that looks nothing like any I’ve ever seen in a store, various herbs, Swiss chard, onions, bags of lettuce, rhubarb, strawberries, and eggs and more eggs.  We had so many eggs at the beginning of the season that I ran out of ways to cook eggs.

This year, our friendly farmer, Betty, includes a recipe list with our weekly share in case we need some direction in cooking our goodies.  I love that her recipes read like those in my mom’s old cookbooks.  The finished products remind me of casseroles and salads that my grandmother used to make for church potlucks.  A lot of them include little quips, such as “put a little flour on your nose so they will think that you slaved in the kitchen” and “did you know that there has been a scientific discovery that tomatoes are good for the skin?  I’m going to eat two a day.”

Lately, Thursday evenings have become CSA dinner night at our house featuring mostly vegetables, which has been just fine by me due to the extreme heat and a slight, pregnancy aversion to meat.  Last Thursday, I made baked, stuffed tomatoes, tabouli, and a pasta salad with broccoli.  Today, my dear husband pulled steak out of the freezer to defrost.  I got the point.  Even so, he still is going to get a snap pea salad and green beans and potatoes with his meat tonight.

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