Fruit and flowers | Two Decades of Kids and Counting | Sally Torbey | Palo Alto Online |

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By Sally Torbey

Fruit and flowers

Uploaded: Aug 8, 2015

This summer, in between a minimum of twice weekly trips to the airport (our five children have been coming and going from various adventures at random intervals) and too-many-to-count trips to Bed, Bath & Beyond (three of our children are moving to new cities or new living quarters), we have been enjoying the fruits of others' labors by being part of community supported organic farming at Hidden Villa in Los Altos.

Once a week I pick up a box of gorgeous locally grown fruits and vegetables delivered to a neighbor's home. Being part of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a treat and a challenge! I never know from week to week what goodies we will find in our box, which for someone like me with somewhat limited cooking skills is a challenge. Fortunately, a day or two before the box is delivered we receive an email letting us know the contents of this week's box. I am very happy to get this information because without it I would be scouring the internet to identify some of the completely unfamiliar produce we receive, like the herbaceous leafy vegetable purslane and Aztec spinach.

Along with the content list, we receive a chatty and inspiring note from one of the farmers, and, most crucially, a straightforward recipe suggesting how to use the box's contents. We have discovered that purslane is great in potato salad and amazed ourselves by re-creating an eggplant spread a la Alice Waters.

We have always enjoyed shopping at Farmers' markets, but tend to stick to what we know: familiar greens, peaches, and berries. The box stretches and motivates me to experiment with items not usually on our menu, and getting to know the farmers who toil to produce it makes me want to not waste so much as a lettuce leaf!

Along with the fruits and veggies comes a beautiful bouquet of flowers so freshly cut that they beautify the house for weeks, lovely to come home to after sitting in construction traffic on Hwy 101!