CSA Scout: Shoots, Roots and Leaves
It's Week Four of my CSA, and I'm ready for some diversity. The roots (beets, turnips and radishes) are getting a little tiresome, and I'm anxious for something like broccoli, squash, eggplant, tomato. The CSA (community-supported agriculture) newsletter from Karl's Farm, source of my subscription, verifies that it's not just my imagination: "We are in the transition stage for vegetables now," it says. "The spring lettuce, peas and broccoli raab have all finished ... but the stars of summer are not quite here." The full-share subscribers got zucchini this week, and next week half-sharers like me should see some, too. I'll be ready.
Meanwhile, other CSAers are starting to see things like broccoli (yay!) show up in their shares. Here's this week's roundup:
Betsy DeMarco, Fairfax
Two adults, three young children
Half share from Great Country Farms, Bluemont, Va.
$475 (20 weeks)
In the box: cilantro plant, large bunch of collard greens, head of red leaf lettuce, two large heads of broccoli, one small container of sugar snap peas, more spring onions.
Meals and cooking plans: Last week I was able to use up all my spring onions! The pork and spring onion stir-fry turned out very well and was quick and easy. The quiche was okay, but I probably won't use that recipe again. And now I have more: time to Google spring onion recipes again! The broccoli is very lovely and was quite tasty with garlic and olive oil. I am not sure what to do with the sugar snap peas as there aren't enough to feed the whole family. Maybe they will wind up as dipping snacks for the kids during the day. It will be great to have cilantro on the front porch all summer, if I remember to plant it sometime soon and if I remember to water it. I have never been good at taking care of the CSA herbs on my porch!
Sharyn Fitzgerald, South Arlington
Three couples, two singles
"Bushel" (large four-person share) from Bull Run Mountain Farm, The Plains, Va.
$1,075 (19 weeks)
In the box: 2 large heads of bok choy, handful of basil, several sprigs of oregano, about 15 garlic scapes, several sprigs of parsley, about 15 spring onions (bulbs larger than last week), 1 pot each of parsley and Russian tarragon (for planting), very large bunch of mustard greens.
Meals and cooking plans: Lots of reports of chicken stir-fry with the bok choy. We are also getting a nice community garden established, with the two potted herb additions to last week’s seedlings (peppers, cherry tomato, lemon verbena, Thai basil).
As for me, I did not do anything too adventurous with my ingredients. I made another scape walnut pesto. I have really enjoyed getting to know scapes better, and I will miss them when they’re gone from our weekly share (which is soon, I believe). I enjoyed an egg salad with the spring onions chopped in. The onions were a crisp, pungent and fresh addition for a great lunch. I also used my portion of the basil to make a basil-walnut pesto with a bit of basil from my own small container garden and some mint pulled from a neighbor’s overzealous mint grove. (I got permission to pick it, of course!)
For dinner tonight, I plan to toss the stir-fried bok choy into this cold soba noodle salad from Nigella Lawson. Unfortunately, the parsley and oregano are beyond use at this point, as I neglected them last weekend and they’re now a bit wilted and brown. I feel guilty, but I will consider this guilt a “teachable moment” in terms of knowing how much is too much when trying to determine the size and content of next year’s share.
Michelle Forman, Silver Spring
Medium share from Spiral Path Farm, Perry County, Pa.
$413 (25 weeks)
In the box: one quart-size bag stuffed with baby lettuce, a medium head of lettuce, one zucchini, small bag of basil, small container of sugar snap peas, 5 green onions.
Meals and cooking plans: More salad, of course. My husband doesn't care for zucchini, so I don't buy it. I love it, though, so this was a nice treat for me. I ended up making a zucchini, onion and basil salad. It is excellent! I wrote up the details on my blog. I love the snap peas raw.
Sarah Husain, Columbia
Full share (eight items) from One Straw Farm, White Hall, Md.
$485 (24 weeks)
In the box: 3 beautiful bunches spinach, 3 bunches garlic scapes and two small heads of cabbages. There was lettuce and arugula available, but since we were leaving Thursday morning, we didn't get any; we didn't want it to go bad.
Meals and cooking plans: I made a fantastic crustless quiche using the three bunches of spinach. (We used 2 cups light Mexican cheese mix from Trader Joe's instead of 3 cups of Muenster and added some leftover Italian sausage.) Tonight, I'm making cabbage roll casserole, which looks great since it has the taste of cabbage rolls without all the work! The garlic scapes: not sure yet, but they should last a bit longer, I think. The garlic scape pesto was delicious. We've decided we love garlic scapes (I mean, we got three more bunches). We also made a frittata with the chard and kale, and it was pretty good, too. So we finished all the veggies from last week, even the stuff we froze.
Other reactions: We wanted more strawberries! I suppose the season is pretty much over, so we're working through these greens instead. Not tired of them yet, but I think it's because we've been avoiding salads and/or eating them raw. We love Allrecipes' ingredient search to figure out how to use these bunches of greens.
A plea from me: Don't forget, our Recipe Finder has an ingredient-based search function, too.
-- Joe Yonan
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