Posts tagged ‘CSA’

February 19, 2013

Who Needs Peapod When Your Farm Delivers?

One of my great joys over the past 9 months has been to sit down on Sunday afternoons, and think about what I wanted to cook over the next week. As our regular routine was anything but regular, this simple step was one that helped ensure that there was something in the freezer to cook … and brought a big smile to my face in the process. But I did not order food from our local Harris Teeter or our local Giant. I had no need to do so. Instead, I went onto the South Mountain Creamery site to figure out what to order. We have a recurring milk and egg order, and now routinely order cheese, sandwich meat (awesome salami), and some meat from them.  Sometimes we’ll add something pickled, or if it is cider season, some apple cider. And we have not been disappointed. The milk still makes my kids sing with joy (especially if I splurge and get a chocolate milk half gallon…), and the meat and cheese are much more flavorful than what we used to get at the grocery store.

As I was thinking about renewing our CSA, a friend of mine posted on FB asking for advice about local CSAs. After I shared my thoughts about our CSA, I read the comments that a friend of hers posted, and learned that there is a farm delivery service called South Mountain Veggies that is modeled on a CSA but that allows you to make substitutions in your order. I know that many CSAs also have that option, but ours does not. So, I jumped on the website, and started to look around to see what was available. As I looked, I realized that I could still support local and organic producers, but have a little bit more control over what produce came in our bag. So, we decided to give it a try, and got our first bag Friday. We are working our way through it — but were thrilled at the freshness and flavor that has characterized everything so far.

The husband is pretty happy with this new approach to the CSA. His biggest complaint has been that we end up composting too much of what we get from the CSA (especially the Swiss chard) … and he is hopeful that this approach will fit better into the reality of our lives.

And best of all for me … I can get locally sourced flour for baking!!

So, no need for Peapod. I can order just about everything I need from these two sources, supporting my local farmers, and enhancing my sanity by reducing trips to the grocery store!

Readers — do any of you depend upon local farm delivery services in addition to your local farmers’ markets and/or CSAs?




May 8, 2012

What To Do With Lettuce

The New York Times Health section online is focusing on lettuce recipes beyond salad in preparation for CSA time. This I am bookmarking. My last attempt at lettuce soup was an abject failure. Today’s recipe looks great, however, and it will provide me with an excuse to use my immersion blender…

Already, lettuce is everywhere!

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October 5, 2011

What’s In Your CSA? Autumn Share, Week 2

When you make eating local a priority, and if you decide to join a CSA, you might start to wonder ( or at least I did) what is showing up in shares around this great country of ours. So I began to use the 21st century tool of the internet to see if I could find other bloggers tracking and sharing about their shares. And you know what? With a little time and persistance, I was able to begin to satisfy my curiosity.

But let’s start with what was in our CSA share this week.

This is our second week of the Autumn share. We have moved to the mini-share, so that is what is pictured above.

What did we get?  Lots of fall greens – bok choy, tatsoi. Purple-icious eggplants. A last bouquet of basil to make pesto with. A couple of radishes. Pole beans.  Tomatoes. A beautiful clipping of thyme.

But what do we find if we travel across this great country of ours?

In Maine, a bit more northerly and westerly than we are, and stop by the living local experiment, you see turnips and cheese and brussel sprouts, and a beautiful squash!

In New England, CrunchyMetroMom, there is some overlap with ours – tomatoes – and we see garlic and butternut squash (which we had last week), but they also have corn and apples (which we purchase at the market, but is not part of our share), and honey!

In New York City, With a Fork and a Knife are feasting on peppers and celery and rainbow chard and apples and pears…

Or, if you live in Jersey, you can order a winter CSA of frozen summer veggies.

And Colorado’s not so different from the East Coast – squash, tomatoes – but still seeing peppers and cucumber.

In California, you can still get watermelon in your share!

But in Kentucky, the folks at Jockey Full of Bourbon are saying goodbye to their CSA for the season.

And I’m not sure where Cooking Cacophony hails from, but I love that their CSA includes all the fixings for pizza!!

What variety – and how fun to see how unique every CSA delivery is!

Readers, please do add your experiences, and let me know what you love (and maybe don’t love as much) about your CSA!


June 19, 2011

Epi Meet CSA

So time flies when you are part of a CSA (and a weekly farmers’ market goer). Instead of discussing where to eat, I find myself engaged in many conversations about what to make with the overflowing abundance of produce in my house.

And while I really enjoy those conversations, and love browsing through the many cookbooks that adorn my bookshelves, I have found myself a convert to the Epicurious app that was the first I downloaded to my NookColor.


Why, you may say, would I pay for an app, when I can get all the information for free on the website?  Well, I will tell you that my laptop does not travel with me to work on the Metro, but my NookColor does.  And, like the best computer recipe sites, the app allows you to list out ingredients, and it will pull up all the recipes that it has with the combination of ingredients you are seeking to use. And so, I can download all the recipes that I am considering that include Swiss chard, or fava beans, or sorrel, and figure out which one to make tonight!!

So far, I have made a salad with fava beans, purple potatoes, and  sugar snap peas;

figured out that Swiss chard stalks lend themselves quite well to grilling;

and used the Swiss chard leaves to make Roasted Garbanzo Beans and Garlic with Swiss Chard.

And I know that this is the beginning of a wonderful relationship….

June 9, 2011

Green is Good: Our CSA Season Begins

The first CSA delivery of the season brought many things that are green. Salad will continue to be featured, but what will I do with the first summer squash of the season?

1 bag mixed lettuce leaves

2 heads of beautiful red leafed lettuce

1 bunch rainbow Swiss chard

1 bunch sorrel

2 zucchini

garlic curls

1 bunch green garlic

1 bag fava beans

1 bunch beets


What to do with our first delivery?  For me, it is the abundance of options that I love. So, I spent some time on my NookColor with Epicurious exploring swiss chard, and sorrel, fava bean, and zucchini options.

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June 3, 2011

Countdown to CSA Pickup No. 1

Some of our readers may remember that we asked for some feedback back in February as we considered whether to rejoin our CSA or not. Well, as you can probably tell by our header we decided to jump in again. We have purchased a regular summer share and mini fall share from Potomac Vegetable Farms. And now I’m getting excited. Our first pickup is June 7th….and although my family can’t quite figure out why I’m so excited, let me just say that I am!

The variety of produce in the markets has really started to increase  
and by the status of the early veggies we are growing,
I think we’ll have a plethora of greens in our first bag.
And it’s fun to know that our farm is getting ready too!
Anyone else excited about their first CSA pickup or delivery??
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February 1, 2011

To CSA Or Not To CSA

For those of you thinking about joining a CSA farm, it’s getting close to time to make a decision.  If this acronym is new to you, it stands for Community-Supported Agriculture.  Becoming a part of CSA farm is a great way to make local and sustainable choices.  When you choose to participate in a CSA, you purchase a share of the farm in the winter season, providing critical cash flow for the farm at a time when they don’t have much or anything to sell, and when they need to buy seeds and fertilizer and equipment and many things that I know nothing about.  It’s a great way to ensure that local farms have the capital to continue from season to season, and it means that you, the customer, share both crop bounties and failures.  In our two seasons as CSAers, we have been astounded by the variety and quality of produce that we receive.  The two images below are our share from one midsummer week last year.

As you might be able to tell from that initial paragraph, and perhaps from my lovingly assembled pictures, I’m a fan of our CSA. However, I must admit that my Family Foodie has had a more measured response to the CSA.  While I love the variety and the opportunity to try new produce, I have some strong vegetable preferences in the FF (no more chard, I hate squash) that I have to account for…!  Nonetheless, last year, I introduced the FF to quite a few vegetables that we never would have purchased at the market – and found that the boys are big squash fans. But it is true that we’re not as good as we should be about eating everything that we bring home from both the market and our weekly CSA share. However, I have been looking forward to using the recipes I’ve been collecting to make with the produce that I wasn’t quite sure how to cook last summer. After several conversations with everyone, I’ve been given the Family okay to move on, but told that all other decisions are up to me…or as the boys say, “Mom, no one cares about this as much as you do.”. So much for family decision-making…

So once the decision to CSA was made, I was left with the decisions about what size share to select, whether to get both summer and autumn shares, whether to buy eggs or bread or flowers…. So many wonderful choices, but no input forthcoming from the FF. Here are some of the factors I’m currently considering:

  • We are regular farmer’s market attendees, as well as CSA members.
  • We buy bread every week at the market, and have some specific preferences.
  • I’m also developing my baking skills, and make a passable Quick Yeast Bread.
  • We have a small vegetable garden that produces lettuce, and tomatoes, and cucumbers, and peppers…and whatever else we decide to grow.
  • We are irregular farmer’s market egg purchasers – in part because we consume a lot of eggs.
  • Summer produce is favored by everyone, root vegetables featured in the autumn season are not universally enjoyed by all family members.
  • We love flowers in the house, but usually grow enough in our garden to cut and bring indoors.

The CSA that we were members of last year, and that we plan to join this year, Potomac Vegetable Farms, offers three size shares: mini, regular, robust; and two seasons, summer and autumn.  We got the regular summer share last year, and ate most everything most weeks — and did get better at planning ways to use all the produce as the season progressed.  We found that some of the quantities of produce for things we eat regularly was less than our weekly consumption, but that was usually compensated for by our garden or increasing how much we got at the farmer’s market. I found that I missed our weekly pickups when fall came, and very rapidly fell back into our regular produce routine.

So, what to do? Decisions need to be made. Thoughts anyone?

September 24, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of the CSA

So, we are done with our CSA for the season.  And I am sad.  The man of the house professes to not be quite so sad. The kids have not expressed a preference either way.  The time is ripe for a bit of stepping back and reflecting. 

The Good

1. We learned to love squash.  Or rather, the boys and I loved to love squash.  Summer squash in green salads, baked squash with fresh feta, grilled eggplant and zucchini, zucchini bread, baba ganoush …our repetoire has definitely expanded and the boys lick their lips when any and all of these food items are placed on the table.

2. We had fresh vegetables in the middle of the week.  Our CSA pick up was on Tuesday, which is the perfect pick-up day for us because our farmer’s market is on Saturday, and we always need veggies by mid-week.

3. Salsa kits were da bomb.

4. Refrigerator pickling is easy and a great way to prepare beets and salad turnips!

5. We had tomatoes even when our plants went belly up.

6. I loved our weekly newsletters with recipes!

The Bad

1. We couldn’t possibly eat all the Swiss chard grown this summer, although we did enjoy it in a couple of dishes.  A bit too bitter for us for weekly consumption.

2. It took us too many weeks to figure out what to with the bounty of squash we were blessed with.

3. Planning is important with a CSA, and my skills in that area are mixed (see #1 below).

The Ugly

1. Greens need to be cooked in the first two-three days.  After that, you don’t want to see them.

2. The Picky Eater continues to be vegetable challenged.  The CSA is not a magic bullet.

All told, I’m ready to do this adventure all over again in summer 2011….

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June 9, 2010

The First CSA Pickup: Gotta Love ‘Em Greens

The time has come.  Our first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) pickup was yesterday.  I must admit to being quite excited…you don’t know what’s going to be in your bag until the morning that you pick them up, so I got to spend the past week dreaming about what I could be eating this week.  The other members of the family aren’t all on board yet, but I am planning to convince them with all the wondrous meals that we’ll be preparing this summer :)!

Dreaming became reality when I picked up:

  • 1 head endive
  • 1 head red butter leaf lettuce
  • 1 head green butter leaf lettuce
  • 1 bunch beets
  • ½ lb of fava beans
  • 1 lb of broccoli raab
  • Garlic curls
  • 10 salad turnips
  • 1 bunch mint

Yum!  When we picked up yesterday we still had one small head green cabbage and ½ head of fennel remaining from our visit to the Falls Church Farmer’s Market, so I needed to make sure that those were incoporated into our (new) weekly meal planning.

So, what are we going to eat this week?!

Tonight, we made an Italian inspired chicken, garlic curls, cabbage, and capers sautee, with farmer’s market butter (from Blue Ridge Dairy), olive oil, and white balsamic vinegar.

I think this falls into the Ditch the Recipe category – I knew that I wanted some protein (the chicken), wanted to add some crispy vegetables, with a little sauce to flavor the starch that accompanied the meal (egg noodles in this case).  Given that I needed to use the cabbage, and wanted to try the flavor of the garlic curls, I decided to move into an Italian flavor by using the olive oil plus balsamic combination.  Sprinkled with a lemon-herb spice mixture, and served with fresh parmesan, it was quite tasty.

We rounded out the meal with featured local produce: a three-lettuce salad with fennel and shaved Parmesan, and a baguette from Lyon Bakery stand at Union Station that I bought on my way home tonight.

For the rest of the week, we’ll make:

And, then, we’ll revisit the pantry and make a plan for the Farmer’s Market on Friday.

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