I can't believe that I haven't written about this yet, but we joined a produce co-op at the beginning of the January. Every two weeks we drive to a farm-stand location (ours is at our church, every other Saturday) to pick up a bin of fresh, organic, local (as much as possible) and seasonal produce. It has been a great way to try to new fruits and veggies that I might never buy at the grocery store. In fact, I can honestly say that I would have never picked kale, red swiss chard, turnips, or mustard greens but now we have tried all of these.
The first week I was embarrassed that I could not even recognize a few items in my bin. Not to worry, because I was able to call the Urban Acres store in Oak Cliff and they described the mysterious vegetables in my bin. Apparently I was not familiar with collard greens or beets. In addition to choosing a variety of fruits and veggies, Urban Acres sends out emails with suggested recipes for the produce they select. For those time that you get a bunch of dandelion greens in your share and have no clue how to eat or prepare them (I guess I was not the only one who was clueless here).
One of my favorite parts of joining the co-op is the excitement of opening the bin and seeing what is inside. I usually open the bin and peek inside before Trey even gets it in the car. Once we get home, I take out all the fruits and veggie and arrange them on the kitchen table. Then I point to each one and ask Sophia if she can name them. She also gets excited to taste new items, although she was not too crazy about the taste of raw mushrooms. I tried to tell her they taste much better once they are cooked but she wanted to taste it right away. Sweet potatoes, carrots, oranges, apples, pears, tomatoes, and squash have been her favorites so far and she even liked the kale chips I made a few weeks ago.
Now if you will excuse me, I just found a recipe for Chocolate Beet Muffins that I need to go try. Anything to give me an excuse to bake... Sophia and I will be in the kitchen in our matching aprons if you need us!