One of the hardest parts of being a new vegan (or even an old seasoned vegan) is trying to keep up with all the new products out there. I must have spent over $50 looking for the "right" vegan cheese my first year being a vegan and I have over 50 vegan/vegetarian cookbooks in my arsenal but not all the recipes are the greatest. I’m the first born so I’m used to being a Guinea Pig and now I’m your Vegan Guinea Pig. So here are my recommendations and critiques. Let me know what you think!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Truly Living Well Urban Farms East Point, GA

I grew up in the fertile San Joaquin valley where it’s commonplace to have fruit bearing trees in your front yard and gardens bursting with fresh herbs and vegetables in your back yard. Outside my bedroom window was a grapevine, a nectarine tree, a plum tree and a peach tree. Our kitchen overlooked the garden that bustled with seasonal produce year round and friends and neighbors were always willing to share their produce with one another. This is probably one of the biggest reasons why I was never a kid who you had to beg to eat their vegetables. I loved vegetables, there was a sense of pride and community in eating them.

I grew up, moved away, bustled from state to state and now I’ve found myself in Georgia. The new trend in food is the old trend that nearly every generation of my family grew up with, including myself, eating locally preferably out of your own garden or a community garden. For years I’ve had a small container garden of my own but once Curry and Queso, my goats, moved in I pretty much had to dash my dreams of any real garden let alone a flimsy container garden. My old co-op used to boast local foods from Truly Living Well Urban Farms and with a little investigation I found the farm and realized that it was only about 10 minutes from my house. When I drove up the first time it was a little intimidating, everyone seemed to know each other and they were chatting away. There were coolers upon coolers of fresh greens just picked and brought over from their other locations around the city, and a table spilling over with fresh vegetables, herbs and edible flowers. But soon enough I got into the rhythm of things, bought ½ a CSA share for $250 and was off to pick out what would be this week’s menu items.

There is truly nothing that compares to fresh picked organic produce planted with love. As I picked out the bounty of fresh produce I wanted Rashid Nuri, the founder of Truly Living Well, reminded me to cook it fresh, no freezing. This statement inspired me to utilize every bit of produce I bought. Everything from the greens of carrot tops (which I juice, put in salads and/or feed to my rabbit or dogs), to the large bounty of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers which ended up making a phenomenal gazpacho soup. If you live in the Atlanta or East Point, GA area I highly recommend making a stop by TLW Urban Farms. Produce pick up is on Wednesday’s from 3-6pm (currently 3-7pm for summer hours) and Rashid also hold natural/organic gardening classes. Most importantly, to me at least, they can help you get your own garden started in your backyard just like I had growing up. As soon as I build up the infrastructure in my backyard to keep the goats out of my fresh produce I now I’ll be calling TLW first to help me get my garden in shape.

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