Reviving the Barter Economy

Remember when I mentioned that Lovely Wife and I were getting the first harvests from our CSA? Well, we’re on our third cooler of veggies, and it’s been a hell of a time. You wouldn’t think they could possibly get that much into a single 48 cooler, but lo and behold, you open it up, and it’s like Christmas. Veggietale Christmas.

Having to come up with a set of meals that encompasses so much green is a challenge – not because we don’t eat a bunch of veggies generally, but because there’s just. so. much. I understand why a lot of familiar go in for a 1/2 share – we’re two people, and we have enough veggies to feed a small Appalachian town. The bottom shelves of our fridge look like they’ve been taken over by some living being that’s going to strangle us in the middle of the night. I’m just waiting for one to get a taste for human flesh, Little Shop of Horrors style.

I’ve eaten more mustard and turnip greens that I ever thought possible (delicious with bacon fat, onions, garlic, and balsamic vinegar). I’ve had radishes by the bunch (fattoush, a great Mediterranean veggie dish). Everything I’ve been making has had an extra handfull of spring onions in it, including my scrambled eggs. The last stir fry I made looked like a produce department vomited into the wok.

But it’s all delicious. I’ve had more fun cooking random new things in the past few weeks than I’ve had cooking in a long time. Even though it’s a pain to trot out new recipes week after week, the flavors have been so great, and the produce quality to amazing, that it’s tough to say that it isn’t worth it. We have had, though, a little bit extra every week. Usually a bit of greens, some lettuce, and perhaps some spring onions. This is where the barter economy comes into play.

I have a friend. My friend has a fiancee. My friend’s fiancee has chickens. For our leftover greens, we get a dozen eggs. Voila – it’s like we’re in a small peasant village in the south of France, except that I’m not sure if the chickens are part of any dowry. Unfortunately, where we were flushed with veggies, now we’re flushed with eggs. Baking, quiche, and frittatas are the new order, along with large salads and veggie bites.

If you’ve never had it, a farm fresh egg is a thing to behold. They just taste so much more like “food” than store-bought eggs. It’s a hard comparison to make, but I think even Lovely Wife has to admit they taste better than the $3.15 for 18 we get a CostCo. Putting an over-easy egg on a sandwich is just like whoa. You’ve heard me ramble on about eggs before, but this just gives me more of a reason to make new things with them.

We’ll see how long my enthusiasm lasts. In the middle of summer, when all I want is a Five Guys Cheeseburger, will I be as enchanted with fresh veggies? When I’m burning up because of the heat, will I go to Sonic and pick up a Route 44 Coke and onion rings instead of having a nice light salad? Given my usual will power (none), this may be a bit of a stretch. For now, though, I’m excited, hungry, and enjoying the bounty in my fridge.

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