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CSA Scout: Now They're Rolling

Clockwise from top left, CSA boxes from Great Country Farms, One Straw Farm, Spiral Path Farm and Olin-Fox Farm. (photos by Sarah Hamaker, Sarah Husain, Michelle Forman and Rita Fox)

I came back from a vacation in Paris to an in-box full of CSA Scout reports. The season has truly begun. Lettuces and spring onions and the last rounds of asparagus were dominating many of the boxes this week, but a few members of area CSAs (community-supported agriculture programs) are also reporting such welcome finds as broccoli, garlic scapes and cabbage.

Now that I've got multiple Scouts reporting in and the CSAs are flowing, this posting will get a little more formatted, in the interest of passing along a wider range of experiences. Here are edited excerpts from this week's Scout reports:

Betsy Bajwa, Bethesda
Whole share from Good Fortune Farm, Brandywine, Md.

In the box: 12 organic eggs, 1 pound asparagus (last week, most likely, very sad!), snow peas, 6-plus garlic scapes, 6 onion scapes, 1 head crisp mint romaine lettuce (never had this before), 1 head Australian yellow lettuce or Victoria, 1 head green cabbage (HUGE!!! outer leaves), about 8 ounces shelling peas.
Meals and cooking plans: onion scapes into buttered pasta; 2 nights of salad; garlic scape soup; and quiche with eggs, asparagus and onion scapes. To come: soup and chinese chicken salad with cabbage; pasta with asparagus and shelling peas; egg salad sandwiches; snow pea sides; and probably some baking!

Sarah Hamaker, Fairfax
Half share from Great Country Farms, Bluemont, Va.

In the box: Big bag of spinach (need to remember to wash this very well, as the dirt tends to hide in the leaves), smaller bunch of asparagus, pint of strawberries, bunch of spring onions, a dill plant. (Though I enjoy fresh herbs, I’m always at a loss as to know how to keep the plants alive and producing. I manage to kill houseplants with ease.)
Meals and cooking plans: The strawberries were devoured by my children almost as soon as I rinsed them off. The asparagus I combined with last week’s bunch and steamed until bright green for dinner. The spring onions will be a nice compliment to my husband’s lunch salads.

Sarah Husain, Columbia
Full share (eight items) from One Straw Farm, White Hall, Md.

In the box: Two heads romaine lettuce, head green leaf lettuce, bunch kale, bunch red chard, bunch rainbow chard, garlic scapes, pint of strawberries. (This CSA works a little differently from others: We get to pick the eight items out of what they have that week.)
Meals and cooking plans: We stir-fried the three heads of lettuce with one chicken breast, three eggs and some spices. That lettuce cooks down! We don't have any illusions of how much lettuce we're going to have to get through in the coming weeks, so we'll have to eat it quicker than in salads, and the stir-fry worked beautifully and deliciously. Since we were to be out of town, I chopped up the chard and kale and stuck it in the freezer. The strawberries will likely be eaten plain. The garlic scapes, which I've never eaten or seen before in real life, will become pesto for pasta early next week, using Kim O'Donnel's recipe.

Betsy DeMarco, Fairfax
Half share from Great Country Farms, Bluemont, Va.

In the box: pint strawberries, large head red leaf lettuce, 2 lovely heads broccoli, basil plant, more spring onions.
Meals and cooking plans: We had one head of the broccoli last night, just boiled a bit and sauteed in olive oil and garlic. The strawberries are looking a bit worn out, but I guess that is to be expected since the season is about over. The lettuce looks lovely and should be on the table in the form of a salad sometime in the next week. I have a growing supply of spring onions and finally Googled "spring onion recipes." I plan to make a pork stir-fry and a tomato and spring onion quiche. Hopefully that will use most of them up!

Michelle Forman, Silver Spring
Medium share from Spiral Path Farm, Perry County, Pa.

In the box: Baby lettuce mix, spring onions, red Boston lettuce, green Boston lettuce, sugar snap peas.
Meals and cooking plans: Mostly salads. Another box of lettuce ... although this week the note apologized for the box of salad and explained that the bad spring weather has delayed their other crops. They did assure us that cucumbers, corn, more snap peas and other great veggies are growing nicely.

Rita Fox, Triangle, VA
Share from Olin-Fox Farms, Reedville, Va.

In the box: 5 medium green and yellow squash, really nice quality; 4 white turnips; bulb kohlrabi; head Chinese cabbage; 4 garlic scapes; bunch parsley; 2 bags salad mix; head red lettuce; head romaine lettuce; head bok choy; bag of arugula.
Meals and cooking plans: Looks like we will be eating a lot of salad this week. I grilled the turnips and kohlrabi on Saturday. There was some leftover grilled food: kohlrabi, tofu, portobello mushrooms, potatoes, etc. I used it as salad toppings Sunday night and will do so again for Monday's lunch. One bag of salad mix gone, lots more lettuce to go. I wish there were more variety instead of lettuces.

Sharyn Fitzgerald, South Arlington
"Bushel" (large four-person share) from Bull Run Mountain Farm, The Plains, Va.

In the box: 2 large heads of bok choy (with bugs!), 10 spring onions, 10 garlic scapes, large handful of basil, large handful of chives, handful of oregano, seedlings of oregano and Thai basil, plus "elective" (take or leave) seedlings of hot peppers, sweet peppers, cherry tomato. Our neighbor, J., will plant and take care of the seedlings, but we are all free to take from the plants once they mature.
Meals and cooking plans: Because there are so many of us (eight) sharing this CSA, our “take” was not so large. However, I was able to enjoy a few meals with my portion. I did a saute of bok choy with garlic, which went nicely with some pan-fried snapper that I seasoned with some of the fresh oregano, chopped chives and a squeeze of lime. Two neighbors made chicken stir-fry dishes using their share of the bok choy. With the scapes, I made Garlic Scape Pesto from Kim O’Donnel’s “A Mighty Appetite" blog.

-- Joe Yonan

By Joe Yonan  |  June 19, 2009; 6:40 PM ET
Categories:  CSA Scout  | Tags: CSA, Joe Yonan  
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Next: Groundwork: The Case for Kohlrabi


Farmer's Markets are local treasures and a great place for social interaction and timeless traditions. It's marvelous to see local producers see so much attention. The Halifax Farmer's Market began in 1750 and is the longest-running market in North America. Have a look!

Posted by: canadiantourism | June 22, 2009 5:55 PM | Report abuse

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