Archive for the ‘CSA’ Category

CSA Update: Summer Bounty

Thursday, July 28th, 2011

My CSA membership has been paying out big time for the last few weeks. I snarfed down all the early season carrots and snap peas and lettuce without even bothering to take pictures or find recipes, because what can you possibly do to a fresh-picked snap pea to make it BETTER? (Hint: NOTHING. Except for shoving it into your face hole.)

Toddler photobombing my picture of last week's haul to get a cherry tomato

All my hopes for teaching the toddler about fresh and local food have come absolutely true. He asks to go to the farm all the time, loves seeing the plants and checking out the changes each week and will eat things I NEVER thought would pass his lips (peas! beans! lettuce!) if he gets them fresh.

But I haven’t been wasting all my veggies on the toddler. They’ve been a total life-saver on my diet plan, since I can eat as many vegetables as I want – and they are SO MUCH EASIER to eat when you know they’re fresh and tasty and they’re sitting on my kitchen counter.

Here’s what I got on Tuesday:

1. Arugula
2. Cabbage
3. Summer Savory
4. Amethyst basil plant
5. Cinnamon basil
6. Jalapeno
7. Heirloom tomato
8. Garlic
9. Eggplant
10. Green pepper
11. Cucumber
12. Fingerling potatoes
13. Red poatoes
14. Hot peppers
15. Cherry tomatoes
16. Pole beans

Holy cow. How do I even START to eat all of that goodness?

Pinterest helps, of course. I used some of the fingerling potatoes for Salt & Vinegar Fingerlings, although I wussed out on the full 2 cups of vinegar and I shouldn’t have – they weren’t tart enough for me. And I’m going to make Spicy Green Beans with my pole beans tomorrow, although mine will be a lot less fancy than that recipe (grapeseed oil? pshaw). I think we’ll have Parmesan Roasted Potatoes this weekend with the red of my red potatoes to satisfy my french fry craving.

And here are my super easy, spur of the moment, straight out of my brain recipes:

Eggplant Bruchetta

Eggplant sliced thin and broiled for about 4 minutes on each side, then topped with chopped basil, garlic and tomatoes and drizzled with balsamic vinegar. 100% CSA. And it was ZERO points on my Weight Watchers plan.

Chicken quesadillas with homemade salsa

Chicken, green peppers and onions sauteed with garlic salt and cumin, then I used my handy-dandy quesadilla maker and some Mexican cheese blend to make it melty. The salsa is the heirloom tomato, tons of garlic, one of the hot peppers, cilantro and lime juice.

Potato rosemary pizza

Pillsbury pizza crust baked for 5 minutes, then topped with mozzarella, chopped rosemary, chopped garlic and all three kinds of potatoes I got from the CSA sliced as thin as possible. Sprinkle with salt and bake for about 20 minutes more. Next time I might roast the potato slices for a few minutes before putting them on the pizza so they’re crispier, but even my husband ate it and agreed it was good. And so pretty!

We have summer squash and zucchini and more eggplant (my new FAVORITE) and tons more tomatoes coming in the next few weeks, so let me know if you have any favorite recipes. Oh, and I need a suggestion for that head of cabbage. It’s so beautiful I hate to turn it into coleslaw but I don’t know what else to do with cabbage.

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CSA Week 3

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

On Tuesdays, after Stroller Strides, we go to the Town Farm to pick up our CSA half share with our friends.

Don't they look like FRIENDS? My heart melted a little when T helped Little Evan over a tree root.

Animal cracker face

Where are the peas? To the left to the left!

Picked and eaten right off the vine.

The magic of our CSA: my kid is eating a whole carrot he just pulled from the ground

1. Lettuce
2. Carrots
3. Sprouted Mung Beans & Lentils
4. Snap Peas
5. Summer Savory
6. Sage
7. Garlic Scapes
8. Chickpeas

Have you ever heard of garlic scapes? I had not, but we got some with last week’s share and they’re already gone because they’re delicious. The scapes are the tops of the garlic, the above ground part, and farmers cut them to encourage the bulbs to grow.  They’re milder than actual garlic and can be used like green onions and I pink puffy heart love them. I’m going to use the ones I haven’t eaten already to make pesto.

Not pictured is the dill from last week’s share, which I used to make a batch of refrigerator pickles last night. I’m supposed to wait 10 days before I can eat them and I am COUNTING THE MINUTES.

I also have plans for some garlic hummus and a mung bean & lentil salad as healthy summer lunch options. My friend Cheri suggested drying the sage (since my other friend Sarah pointed out it can decrease milk supply while breastfeeding) so it’s hanging in my pantry to be used come fall. I’m going to steam a couple of those carrots and see if Baby Caroline likes them as much as she likes animal crackers (UPDATE: Caroline nommed the steamed carrot sticks but without teeth she’s not eating much of them). The peas are going STRAIGHT INTO MY FACE, since they are incredibly delicious. I really can’t say “I LOVE MY CSA” enough times.

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CSA Week 1

Friday, June 10th, 2011

We got our first harvest from Town Farm Organics, the CSA we joined this year, on Tuesday. (You can read more about it here.) This is what was in our bag:

Note to self: next time try taking picture of green things in front of a non-green background

 

1. Lavender plant
2. Sage plant
3. Zinnia plants
4. Snapdragon plants
5. Summer savory
6. Cut sage
7. Beet tops
8. Sprouted lentils and mung beans

And the great big bag in the middle is two different kind of lettuce (red leaf and something else).

It’s early enough in the season that my half-share was the same as a full share (in the future I will get more variety each week but less of each thing). The potted plants were a super nice surprise – now I have fresh sage any time I want it – I plan to try a potato, sage and rosemary pizza (recipe) and grilled tomatoes stuffed with goat cheese and sage (recipe) – and I planted the zinnias and snapdragons in my garden. I have no idea what to do with the lavender, besides make those little satchels that are supposed to make your underwear smell nice – AS IF THAT IS AN ACTUAL CONCERN OF ACTUAL PEOPLE – so suggestions are welcome.

So far I’ve eaten about half the lettuce in salads and sandwiches and used the savory and sage when I cooked a chicken. (Which I am sure would have been delicious had it actually cooked all the way through. The recipe was for a whole chicken cooked on the grill, but even at 2x as long as the recipe called for it was still raw in the middle. I’m blaming the grill. We had burgers instead.) I plan to saute the beet tops with a little butter and Parmesan for dinner tomorrow but I am totally at a loss as to what to do with “sprouted” mung beans and lentils.  Google tells me HOW to sprout them and that they’re SUPER nutritious and an GREAT IDEA…but all their serving suggestions involve just tossing them in a salad and I don’t think I’ll be able to trick anyone in my family into eating them that way.

Obviously this one bag of produce doesn’t cover the full cost of the CSA for summer but even if we only got this much stuff each week between now and October we’ll have saved over $300 on fresh, local, organic food. That’s money I can spend on other stuff, like chocolate or electricity to power these air conditioners or a plane ticket to San Diego. Thanks CSA!

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Down On The Farm

Friday, April 15th, 2011

Yesterday I did my duty as a good half-hearted urban hippie and joined a CSA.

Actually, I’m just too lazy to grow any vegetables myself. Besides, the only things I’m good at are tomatoes and cilantro and man cannot live on salsa alone.

That’s garlic. I think it will definitely improve my salsa.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. You pay a one time fee to buy a share or a half share of the crop and then you get to pick up an assortment of vegetables, fruit, herbs, flowers, eggs, meat, and other goodies either every week or every other week. The idea is you get to know where you food comes from and who is growing it. It’s part of the locavore movement and something I am really excited to participate in.

Our CSA is called Town Farm Organic and is owned by an incredibly nice couple named Amanda and Dylan. It’s only their second season offering shares so they’re still working out the details – which is good, because we get to help make some of the decisions, like bi-weekly vs weekly pick ups or whether or not we’re interested in things like garbanzo beans (answer: yes. hummus. enough said). They don’t have chickens (yet) or any meat (yet) but they are part of the very active community of local farmers in our area and can either recommend or trade for almost anything we could possibly want.

Amanda and Dylan are also VERY tolerant of 2-year-olds exploring their farm.

I wrote them a check on the spot for a half share.*  As part of the membership, I’m encouraged to help out during the planting or the harvest. They even said we could bring the kids and let them participate, since they really believe in teaching kids where food comes from – and they don’t mean the grocery store.

Do I sound like a crazy person and/or some sort of snobbish foodie yet? Because I’m trying to.

The herb garden is planted in the foundation of an old dairy barn. Did I mention the farm was built in the 1700′s and has a super fascinating history? I know that doesn’t make the vegetables any more delicious (OR DOES IT?) but I absolutely love old houses and all the stories that come with them.

1950′s Ford tractor the farmers actually still use. Now THAT’S sustainable agriculture.

Mischievous toddler is mischievous. Also, he totally has an orange slice in his front pocket. He saved it all morning and ate it when we got home.

Dylan and Amanda were so excited about all their plants it was hard for us not to get excited too. We told the kids these were baby peppers and they loved it. Our friend Amelia wanted to kiss them, because that’s what you do with babies (DID YOU JUST DIE OF CUTENESS?) Evan was fascinated and did a great job looking with his eyes and not with his hands (whoa, major dad flashback).

My only real concern is that I am not awesome at cooking and serving veggies. I know that makes joining a CSA seem sort of silly, but my hope is that once I have all these vegetables in my house I will be FORCED to use them or lose them. They’ve got 37 types of veggies planned (plus flowers and herbs and possibly berries) so I’m really going to be stretching to find recipes that my family will eat. And by my family I 1000000% mean E. I can probably bribe the toddler into trying stuff but my husband is cheeseburger and pizza kind of guy. I may end up buying one of those “hide the veggies in the cupcakes!” kind of cookbooks.

That’s Caroline’s excited face. She knows that there is some AWESOME homemade baby food coming her way once we start getting our shares.

*In case you were curious, a half share cost $225. I figure that’s pretty much the deal of the decade, especially because everything will be organic. I spent at least that much on produce in 4 or 5 weeks of grocery shopping and the growing season is much longer than that.

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