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CSA Scout: 'Lovelies' From the Farm

The unpredictable nature of farming often filters down to the CSA (community-supported agriculture) level. My deliveries from Karl's Farm in Pisgah, Md., were scheduled to begin this week, but the friendly farmers let me and their other subscribers know that there will be a one- to two-week delay because of cool weather. Thankfully, the length of the season shouldn't be affected. I'll be all the hungrier when it starts.

More than a handful: Free-range eggs from Olin-Fox Farms. (Rita Fox)

Meanwhile, Rita Fox of Triangle got her first box of the season from Olin-Fox Farms in Reedville, Va., and take a look at the eggs. Rita gets eggs from the famous Polyface Farm, too, but it sounds like she can never get enough. "Ah, my lovelies," she wrote in an e-mail. "Biggest eggs I've ever seen."

She and her husband eat out for most meals on the weekends, but they cook weeknights and pack lunches during the week. There's just one size of CSA offered, for which they pay $396 for the summer (every other week through early September), and it's "enough for several meals with leftovers." Here's what they got last Thursday:

* A "nice amount" of oregano.
* Four sprigs of sage.
* One bunch of Swiss chard.
* "Quite a few" sweet potatoes.
* Spring onions.
* One head of lettuce.
* Two bunches of asparagus, about two pounds.
* A dozen free-range eggs.

Pasta with vegetables and tofu. (Rita Fox)

Rita is vegetarian. Her husband isn't, but nonetheless their home cooking is meatless, "because he doesn't think it makes sense to prepare two different meals." Hence the dish she made from the CSA: pasta spirals with asparagus, carrots, sage and tofu.

Besides the eggs, Rita's favorites this go-round were the asparagus, which as gardening writer Adrian Higgins pointed out in his Groundwork blog post last week are a revelation to somebody used to store-bought: "Even the fat stalks weren't reedy or tough," she wrote.

She gave the spring onions ("Eww!") to her dad, planned to grill the sweet potatoes, and was stumped when it came to the Swiss chard. Here's a suggestion for a stick-to-the-ribs dish perfect for vegetarians (and leftovers): Baked Polenta With Cheese and Swiss Chard. We included it in a roundup of comfort-food dishes last winter. With the nights (and in some cases days) holding on to their chill, it still seems appropriate.

Fellow CSA-ers and other locavores, weigh in: What would you do with what Rita has?

-- Joe Yonan

By Joe Yonan  |  May 19, 2009; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  CSA Scout , Sustainable Food  | Tags: CSA, Joe Yonan  
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My favorite way to make swiss chard is actually a documented medieval recipe called Torte Bolognese. It's essentially a swiss chard (or spinach) quiche with cream cheese, and a double crust. Very much a spring dish. The recipe is available here, amongst other places on the internet:

I also personally don't bother with making the pate brisee - pastry and I don't get along, so I use store-bought...

Posted by: spartyschick | May 19, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

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