Since I first heard the words “CSA” about a year and a half ago, I’ve wanted to join one. Last year, I looked into it and had everything all set to go, but no one to split a share with, and I was repeatedly told that it was way too much food for one single person to consume.
For those of you who don’t know, CSA stands for community sponsored agriculture. Essentially, before the growing season begins, a person can choose to buy a ‘share’ in a local farm, which entitles said person to a portion of the crops as the season progresses. If it’s a good growing season, you might be swimming in produce, and if it’s not such a good one, not so much. But that’s part of the fun – it’s like buying stock except the dividends are edible and your profits much more immediately evident. 🙂
My local CSA is partnered with Golden Earthworm Organic Farm, so yes, my veggies are organic. The fun part of this for me – and also a large part of the reason I wanted to join – is that my knowledge of vegetables and vegetable prep is extremely limited. I have always tended to prefer things that are quick – a simple rinse-and-sautee has worked well for me in the past, or I’ve bought pre-prepped/chopped butternut squash (or whatever). I realized that my veggie base is directly from my mother, so whatever she doesn’t like or didn’t make for us while I was growing up, I wasn’t very familiar with… which means an entire load of “non-Asian vegetables” were kind of a, well, mystery to me. I seek to change that immediately! (Not that I don’t love Asian veggies, but you need some variety! and sometimes, bok choi just ain’t gonna cut it when you’re eating certain style meals.)
Anyways, Week 1 brought a whole slew of learning right off the bat! So, this is what we got. And this is what I made:
See those darn Asian veggies again… (that’s yu choy or so said my receipt… just quickly steamed and then a little hoisin sauce drizzled on top) That’s not what I got! The plain-baked pork chops (with salt/pepper) have a balsamic rhubarb chutney on top. I asked around for recipes using rhubarb that were not sweet and this is what a lovely FB friend sent me. Because I wasn’t too thrilled with the result – yes it tasted fine, but I can’t recommend it exactly (I think I need to tweak it a little bit, but I don’t have any desire to do so) – I won’t be posting a recipe.
Here’s another, closer shot of the chutney. Chunks of apple, onions, balsamic vinegar, rhubarb…
Here it is in a jar. Apparently I don’t have any nice/pretty/small jars in my possession. Oh well.
This is what I did with the rest of my rhubarb – I sliced it up and put it in a container with white sugar sprinkled on top, until juices ran and it was a syrup. I would have sampled it as a breakfast syrup, but BF is the one who eats French toast/pancakes/waffles, so I settled on pouring some into the bottom of my gorgeous champagne flute (acquired here). Pretty tasty, adding a bit of tang to the champagne.
Beautiful salad! Underneath is a bunch of hand-torn butter lettuce, topped with slices of Japanese turnips, French radishes, orange bell peppers, a pile of soba noodles, and drizzled with honey-vidalia dressing. Yum. Really good, totally filling, low calorie and really delicious.
Here’s an up close shot 😉
A few days later, miso pork chops with some of the same salad to the side.
Mmm. I didn’t smooth the miso paste enough so excuse the fat-looking pork chops.
For the rest of the radishes, at first, I topped a toasted English muffin with some smoked salmon and then sliced radishes, figuring the peppery nature of the radish would be a nice complement to the creamy, salty smoked salmon. But then…
I decided I really needed cream cheese.
So I sliced up the radishes and stirred them into softened cream cheese, which brought everything to a whole new level! Of yumminess, that is!
That was essentially week one of my experiments with CSA. I roasted the beets simply and ate them straight (they were that good) – not taking pictures – and I gave all of the arugula to my CSA partner, Esther of Ambitious Delicious(ness). The bok choi was eaten simply…
If you’re interested in looking for a local CSA, check out www.justfood.org
Happy eating 🙂