LocalHarvest Newsletter, September 30, 2012

Welcome back to the LocalHarvest newsletter.

Over the weekend my husband picked up a class schedule from our local gymnastics club. Our daughter is five, and the press of extra-curriculars is beginning. The problem is that most of these activities fall squarely over the dinner hour, which I consider sacred. The practice of sitting down to eat with people we love is something we at LocalHarvest really value, but as we all know, it isn't easy.

Kids' schedules are not the only impediment to shared meals. Many of us work late, live alone, do shift work, or have obligations in the early evenings. In reality, living as we do in this age of busyness and distraction, sitting down with loved ones requires conscious intention. The pull of work, volunteer commitments, television, and the Internet are significant. If we are going to gather at the end of the day, we have to make a plan to do so.

An article in the New York Times published a few years ago identified eating dinner with others as one of three things that actually make people more happy. And on some level, we know this to be true. In a recent study by the International Food Information Council Foundation, nearly 90% of respondents thought it was good for their health to sit down and share meals with their loved ones.

Even though sharing an evening meal with others can make us happy, sometimes it seems easier not to bother. At the end of a day made stressful by work (or even more stressful by no work), and under the pressure of the ticking clock, it can be difficult to sit down around the dinner table at 6:00 and relax together.

What can we do to increase the odds of our sharing more meals? Lately my work has been busier than usual and I have had to simplify our menus in order to make sure we still eat at home, and eat decently well. I write out menus ahead of time and grocery shop for the week on the weekends. I've also taken to scheduling the cooking tasks so that not everything needs to be made at the last minute, such as cooking rice for the next day the night before, and this time of year usually roasting a big squash to serve throughout the week.

What strategies do you use to schedule shared meals and to make sure they go smoothly? Please share your ideas so we can all learn from each other.

Speaking of learning, several of you emailed me asking for citations for last month's article about organic food, specifically the part about organically grown food being more nutritious. Jim Riddle, whom I interviewed for that article, has made this well-cited article available to LocalHarvest readers; you'll find the reference section in the back.

Until next time, take good care and eat well.

Erin Barnett

CSA Farmers: Looking ahead to 2013?

This time of year many CSA farmers are saying to themselves, "Next year we HAVE to get the office end of things under control!" If that sounds familiar, this fall might be a great time to take a look at our CSA management software, CSAware. If you would like to see how it works, and what it can offer your farm, let us know and we'll set you up for a tour.

From the LocalHarvest Catalog:

Our Thanksgiving turkeys are already finding good homes with good food fans all across the country. LocalHarvest farmers raise heritage breeds, "regular" organic turkeys, and - for those who want both - organic, heritage birds. Ready to reserve yours? You can search for one locally, or have one shipped to you. Get yours now!

CSAs -- they aren't just for summers anymore! Many LocalHarvest farms offer winter CSA shares, some of whom sell these shares through our store. To see if there's one near you, click here and then enter your zip code to narrow the search.

Food From the Farm: Quick "Tacos"

We eat some version of this recipe once a week at my house. It's quick and endlessly variable, as noted below. (There aren't any taco shells involved, but for whatever reason, because we still call them "tacos".)