April 28, 2014

Yay for CSA!

CSAveggies2

Have you ever been curious about what's going on in other people's kitchens? Cooking-wise, that is. I am always interested to know where others get their food, what it is, and what they make with it. (I am also the creep peering into windows, but that's a whole different story.) Here's a little peek at what's been on our plates lately. Hint: it's mostly green.

For the first time this spring we have decided to purchase a share in a CSA. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, which is a way to support the local farmer by buying a seasonal share in exchange for weekly produce from the farm. For farmers, this provides the necessary funds to plant, grow, and harvest their crops from one season to the next. For us, this is a great way to eat local, discover new produce, and play with the freshest in-season veggies all week long!

After researching local farms, we decided on Ambrose Family Farm based on their share size, drop-off location, variety, and season duration. There were quite a few great farms in the area to choose from. My limiting factor was that I was planning to walk to the pick-up location, so I was looking for something in an accessible radius.

Now, being new to this I must admit that I was a little disappointed with our first week's share. We have picked the smallest weekly share offered by Ambrose Farm, described as being sufficient for one vegeterian or for two regular-eating adults. The first bag I picked up was exciting, smelled of fresh dirt and green leafy things, and was... well, small. Definitely not enough for a whole week, thought I. Turns out I had nothing to worry about, because these days we're trying to keep up with the veggie invasion, consuming leafy greens before they wilt and roasting asparagus on a daily basis (mmmm.... asparagus....).

This has turned to be a really fun experience. The folks from the farm post a list of what they're harvesting every week on their website and I get to search ahead for some recipes (or just look up what a vegetable looks like, having never encountered some of them). Then, when I get the share, I go over the list once again, trying to figure out which is which. I have learned that when unsure of how to cook something, roasting is the way to go (unless it's salad-like, in which case just eat it as it comes or throw it in a quiche). I have tried some awesome recipes like roasted beets with sautéed greens (who knew you can eat beet greens... and that they're so tasty), carrot-top pesto (ditto), pickled turnips (I used the pickling liquid recipe from this link), and meat-stuffed kale leaves (of my own invention). A world of discoveries, I tell you!

So. Curious to see what this week's share included? Here it is, in all of its unwashed glory:

CSAveggies

Strawberries
Beets with greens
Brussel sprouts
Asparagus (I never get tired of this one!)
Garlic
Sweet onions (not pictured here)
Bok choy
Radish (the white carrot-looking things)
Carrots with tops
Head lettuce in three varieties

(The amounts shown on the photo are just a part of the share, not the entire thing.)

Ambrose Family Farm also offers other items like fresh off-the-boat shrimp, eggs and meat from local providers, jams and pies, casseroles, honey, and other locally produced goodies found at the Stono Market run by the family. We haven't tried any of those yet, but we have been to the strawberry U-pick three weeks in a row - we just can't get enough of the fact that we live in a place where strawberries can be picked in April. Isn't that mad?

What's your favourite spring veggie right now? (Yes, strawberries count.)

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