turnips!To everything turnip, turnip, turnip…Photo: J. Prediger

Fall produce is a whole new concept for me thanks to Community Supported Agriculture. For the past 24 weeks, freshly grown vegetables travel from Long Island to Brooklyn to be picked up, cooked and eaten by me and other city folk. I’m taking note of the experience here in this Urbivore’s Dilemma column.

The past two weeks have seen an autumnal cornucopia of leeks, sweet potatoes, radish, broccoli, cauliflower, string beans, lettuce, butternut squash, turnips, dill, red mustards, and bai cai.

Fresh broccoli is a miracle. It’s tender and has an alive sort of sweetness. It’s a delicious thing that needs very little done to it. I sautéed it with sesame oil in a pan with tofu. Waiting on the tofu, I think the broccoli got overcooked.

The orange cauliflower has yet to be eaten. My typical cauliflower concoction is simple. I roast it with olive oil and garlic. It’s so good I never try any thing else. But might you expand my horizons with a different suggestion, readers? Another thing I’d love your thoughts on are sweet potatoes. I’m still gathering sweet potato recipes. I have about 15 of these roots waiting to be transformed into something splendid this Thanksgiving. What are you making with sweet potatoes for T-day?

Speaking of the letter ‘T’, the turnips from the CSA this week are stunning. Black, white, and curling, they’re reminiscent of a yin and yang symbol pulled up from the dirt.

Unfortunately, I have an aesthetic appreciation for them, but I don’t have an appetite for them. That’s right, I turn up my nose at turnips.

I’m not really sure I can put this into words, but I shall try. I have a strange reaction to the cooking of two specific foods. It’s something chemical, disturbing, and has happened as long as I can remember. When turnips are baked or ham is frying, it’s as if my nose were a television that suddenly went to the fuzzy black-and-white snow channel. The signals get jammed and an uncomfortable smell enters my nostrils.

So, actually, turnips turn up my nose rather than the other way around.

Readers, am I insane? Have you such a reaction to any foods out there?

Oh, how I wish I could give you my turnips.

WormAs this worm turned, he left presents everywhere.Photo: Jennifer PredigerNow, I’d like to share something else unsavory. I know part of the beauty of eating local, seasonal food is that we’re much more in tune with the land. But this week I felt the land had gotten a bit too close to me.

Rather, a worm got too close to me. A big worm that had definitely been snacking on the bai cai (a.k.a. bok choy). I almost bok-choyed when I saw the size of the very alive worm, the impressive holes it had chewed and end product of that mastication.

I know, I should be stronger-stomached than this. But even if I do want to eat local and seasonal foods, one thing remains the same: pestilence is still pestilence. I threw the worm in the trash, my act of pesticide.

The vegetarian in me feels bad about that. But the produce vigilante is okay with it. My guilt is overcome by gratitude. I plan on giving thanks to the produce and all that I’ve learned by having it around this Thanksgiving.

Yes, the Urbivore will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner for the first time ever. (Why did I just hear Mister T’s voice so clearly saying in my head “I pity the fool”) So, uh, yes, there will be guests over for dinner. The sweet potatoes will surely be an important dish. (Come on, readers, I need your recipes!)

Next week’s CSA delivery, just in time for Thanksgiving, promises purple broccoli, winter radish, sweet potato, lettuce, acorn squash, and red pakchoy.

What are you getting in your CSA boxes this week, and how do you plan on using it for your T-day meal?

Thank you for sharing. Your ideas and expertise are vital to this Urbivore.