Our first CSA share was ready on May 24. I wasn’t in the area, though, so this Saturday I picked up a double share.
It was our first time out to the farm, so I was surprised by the number of people there! Many folks were out in the fields picking extra strawberries and doing other work. Both the boys were asleep and I don’t really know what I would do with extra strawberries right now, so I just headed to the barn and picked up the veggies for the two shares.
This is what I ended up with:
2 pints of strawberries
1 pound of lettuces and arugula
1/2 pound kale
1 pound turnips
1/2 pound garlic scapes
2 basil seedlings
a few pinches of cilantro and chives from the herb gardens by the barn
I made strawberry shortcake for dinner on Saturday night, using the recipe here. It turned out okay, but a bit dry. If we have more strawberries this week, I might try it again.
The lettuces will be going into salads this week and the kale into smoothies that I have been making for breakfast.
I’m not sure what I will do with the turnips, though several suggestions have been made including roasted, pickled, scalloped, and soup (http://www.farmfreshfeasts.com/2012/11/silken-turnip-and-potato-soup-and-how.html).
The garlic scapes are also new to me. Suggestions include seared over pasta, pesto, frittata, and using them to replace regular garlic.
Stay tuned to find out what the final decisions are!
We decided to purchase a share through a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) for this summer. I am pretty excited about it. We get a box full of local, non-GMO, organic produce every week. We have the opportunity to go out to the farm to pick additional fruits, vegetables, herbs, and flowers. I know that some weeks it may be a challenge to use everything in the box, and we will probably receive some new foods we have not tried before.
One of the benefits of a CSA is that the farmer receives the money up front which allows for him or her to plan better. The farmer receives 100% of the money instead of the grocery store and the middle men taking their share out of it. We can spend time out at the farm walking around and meeting the farmers, etc. All of the produce, therefore, is local, so it should be fresher and better tasting since it doesn’t need to be shipped from California or Florida to Maryland. It does limit the selection, though, to what can be grown in the area and means we’ll have to figure out what to do with crops we haven’t really eaten or cooked with before!
One of the reasons I am excited about this is because growing our own food was a big thing during my childhood. Sure, it was a pain – when the other kids got to sleep in during the summer, we had to get up early to work (have to get the work done before it gets too hot, right?). When the other kids went on a road trip over Memorial Day weekend, the fourth of July or Labor Day, we were in the gardens planting, weeding and harvesting, consecutively because these were days Dad had off work. Now, though, I miss that. The produce at the grocery store just doesn’t taste the same. I miss doing physical labor (occasionally) and getting dirty. I hope that this experiment for this year works out well and the boys are able to have a similar experience growing up. Hopefully we’ll also move somewhere where we’ll be able to have a small garden as well, but for now this should work.
The particular farm I chose is Clagett Farm (http://www.cbf.org/about-cbf/offices-operations/clagett-farm). The farm is owned and operated by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation. It is about 20 minutes away from where we live. One of the things I like about this particular option is that there are pickups on Wednesday and Saturday. They allow you to switch between one and the other. And, if you are going to miss a share, you can pick up a double share the week before or the week after. This is particularly important for me as I travel a lot for work and we occasionally travel out of town on the weekends. We can also volunteer and work on the farm in order to get extra shares. Actually, if you have enough free time (which I don’t!) you can volunteer the whole season for your shares instead of paying for them!
I am going to try to keep up with this blog over the summer with what we get in our box and how we use it. We’ll see how this goes!