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CSA Scout: 'We Can't Eat Fast Enough!'

This week's box from Olin-Fox Farms. (Rita Fox)

Now is the time when many CSA (community-supported agriculture) subscribers, if they're not on vacation, either get all giddy with joy at the prospect of more and more and more fabulous produce (enjoy it while it's here!) or start to feel overwhelmed (we didn't even finish last week's yet!).

For me, I'm falling somewhat into the latter camp. That's not necessarily because my deliveries from Karl's Farm are so crazy-abundant. I'm enjoying them, but my half-share is enough for just a couple of meals, really. The problem is, I also want to shop at the farmers markets: my favorite 14th and U on Saturdays, and Bloomingdale and Dupont on Sundays. By Tuesdays, of course, I still have so much produce left from the weekend marketing that I'm hardly ready for more.

I'm keeping up, for the most part, roasting small eggplants for simple purees that I mash into potatoes, making tomato-cucumber-basil salads just about every night and using yellow squash in stir-fries, risottos and ratatouilles. How are you handling yours?

Here's what a few other CSA Scouts are reporting this week:

This week's bounty from Spiral Path Farm. (Michelle Forman)

Michelle Forman, Silver Spring
Two adults
Medium share from Spiral Path Farm, Perry County, Pa.
$413 (25 weeks)

In the box: 6 ears of corn!, 1 box of cherry tomatoes, 1 heirloom tomato, 1 Asian eggplant, 1 zucchini, 2 big fat cucumbers, 1 small bag of green beans, 2 sweet onions, garlic, 1 green pepper, 1 head of lettuce
Meals and cooking plans: I grilled the corn and mixed it into a grilled peach and corn salad that I had made before. I also grilled one of the onions for this salad too. The cherry tomatoes were eaten raw. The heirloom tomato was sliced: My husband put it on salads and on his sandwiches for lunch. The zucchini and eggplant were marinated in an Asian-style sauce (soy, teriyaki, rice wine vinegar, sesame oil and Sriracha chili sauce), grilled and then tossed in a little bit of the marinade. Delicious! The cucumbers were sliced for salads, sandwiches, and just for snacking. They were really huge! I mixed some chunks of cukes with the green beans, some smoked salmon and fresh basil for a great light "salad" to take for lunch. The lettuce was used for curry chicken salad wraps and for salads. The other onion, the pepper and several cloves of garlic were sauteed and used as toppings for grilled pizza. I also used some of the garlic in a light olive oil-and-fresh-herb sauce for gnocchi.

Other thoughts: Great box this week! I had a lot of fun with the ingredients. I have found that even though the size of the box stays the same, boxes like his -- filled with more substantial ingredients -- make for a LOT more meals. It is harder to use it all up (although it does all get eaten), but it is way more fun to cook!

Rita Fox, Triangle
Two adults
Share from Olin-Fox Farms, Reedville, Va.
$396 (9 weeks)

In the box: 6 ears white sweet corn, 1 bag Yukon Gold potatoes, 1 Asian cucumber, 1 bag green beans, 1 eggplant, 2 purple peppers, 2 cubanelle peppers, 1 bag okra, 1 bunch basil, mix of large tomatoes (wo huge tomatoes plus a few others), 1 bag small tomatoes

Meals and cooking plans: I used one huge and one normal-sized tomatoes to create a tomato sauce for whole wheat pasta. Added some baby bella mushrooms and tossed in all the small tomatoes, halved, plus all the basil. I will make a Szechuan eggplant dish, some sort of gumbo with the okra and tomatoes, maybe green beans and peppers in a black bean sauce.

Other thoughts: I hate getting peppers. Once a summer is plenty for me. I will sneak them in somewhere. Or maybe, my approach should be to highlight them so I don't feel like I'm tricking myself into eating them. I appreciate the tomatoes because I know blight has affected lots of crops. I mean, LOOK at the size of the big ones! They are almost as big as the eggplant! I almost feel guilty for eating the beauties. The eggplant is nearly perfect in size and condition. Getting potatoes in a share guarantees I'll be satisfied. Dad doesn't call me Miss Potato for nothing.

Great Country Farms' CSA box. (Sarah Hamaker)

Sarah Hamaker, Fairfax
Two adults, four children
Half share from Great Country Farms, Bluemont.
$475 (20 weeks)

In the box: 1 medium tomato (the first of the season!), 1 small cucumber, 4 ears of corn, 1 small bunch of green-leaf lettuce, 6 large peaches, 1 small watermelon, 1 cilantro plant.
Meals and cooking plans: We steamed the corn for dinner (delicious) and used the lettuce, tomato and cucumber in a side salad. The peaches will be gobbled up plain, as I just made a pie with last week’s peaches (and some we had picked from another farm). The cilantro plant will join the other herbs on my front porch (I’m having a contest to see which one lasts the longest. So far, the basil is showing a winning attitude). I still have half a head of cabbage from last week to do something with, as well as numerous cucumbers (they seem to be multiplying like rabbits in the product drawer). I will be heading to online recipe sites for some inspiration.

Other thoughts: Overjoyed with the fresh corn and lettuce. (It’s nice to get lettuce later in the season, now that we have other veggies to go with it.)

Sarah Husain, Columbia
Two adults
Full share (eight items) from One Straw Farm, White Hall.
$485 (24 weeks)

In the box: 6 HUGE zucchini, two very large bunches of very large green onions, 7 tomatillos, 15 delicious and gorgeous ears of corn
Meals and cooking plans: I made a great soup with the tomatillos, two ears of corn and one bunch of green onions loosely based on this recipe. I also made a black bean and quinoa salad with more of the corn. I pickled the zucchini with the other bunch of onions. The rest of the corn was husked, snapped in half, blanched and frozen.

Other thoughts: We can't eat this stuff fast enough! Pickling and freezing is helping us keep up. We love corn, hence the 15 ears (I think equal to three items). I'm not sure what else was available as I didn't pick up this week. We are looking forward to tomatoes, though we know our CSA was affected by the tomato blight. Luckily, friends with a back yard gave us a grocery bag full of them, so we're good for now.

-- Joe Yonan

By Joe Yonan  |  August 14, 2009; 4:30 PM ET
Categories:  CSA Scout  | Tags: CSA, Joe Yonan  
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Spread the veggie love: Invite friends over for dinner parties with your CSA bounty. Veggie gumbo with eggplants, peppers, tomatoes and okra over rice is a great group meal. So many of my friends have now signed up for their own box!

Posted by: MaryBethSF | August 14, 2009 6:03 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, I love using the freshest produce, and I also strive to get my produce from within my own community in CA.

I find that the fresh produce I use make my grilled vegetables based upon the recipes I get from to be really DELICIOUS! Has anyone lately taken their community-grown produce and grilled up a really tasty meal? Here are some recipe ideas on that thought, incidentally:

Hope you have fun grilling your local veggies as I have!

Posted by: Heatherchick09 | August 15, 2009 2:07 AM | Report abuse

I have gotten tomatoes and corn every week since the CSA started. I think we also got zucchini and peaches almost every week. I have run out of things to make with them and this week will have to throw out some stuff that went bad before I could get to it. Its interesting to see the variety of stuff other CSAs have been providing.

Posted by: rukidding4 | August 15, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

My latest endeavor has been freezing some of the bounty, in hopes of using it later in the year. I had red peppers, zucchini and yellow squash that I roasted. I now have them stashed in the freezer, with plans to add them to lasagne or pasta sauce later on. Every year, I put a large zip-top bag of jalapenos into the freezer to use all winter long. No prep necessary -- the texture changes a bit, but if you are cooking them, it's not noticable. Also, I recently sauteed and froze a bunch of swiss chard, following directions from The Joy of Cooking. Hopefully, the effort now will pay off later.

Posted by: margaret6 | August 15, 2009 12:37 PM | Report abuse

I am so embarrassed that we wasted a beautiful cantaloupe and 6 ears of corn from our CSA this week. WE got the deliver on Tuesday and had a dinner party that night, I couldn't fit the huge cantaloupe and corn in the fridge so I stashed it in the delivery cooler and promptly forgot about it until it was too late. What a pity, they were beautiful. This week we will be better! I am also having a hard time resisting the farmer’s markets and remembering that we have some beautiful local produce already at home.

Posted by: CapitolHillLB | August 17, 2009 7:33 AM | Report abuse

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