This will be my 4th or 5th year buying into a Community-Shared or Supported Agriculture (CSA) model so I thought it would be fun to share the contents of my food box. I’m going to try to do this on a regular basis throughout the season.
I have usually purchased my CSA from Edencrest Farms outside Minesing, Ontario. I now live in Orillia so it’s a bit less of a drive than when I was living/driving from outside Alliston/Angus. During the recent years when I didn’t buy into a CSA, I had either a huge garden or I was in the process of moving (last year) and didn’t know when or where I would be moving to. I didn’t want to miss half the season… that would be sad.
I love farmer’s markets, on-farm markets, and farm stands as much as any champion of local food eating + holistic nutritionist but CSAs have a special place in my heart for so many reasons.
Here are a few:
- All my local produce is local and organic (and Edencrest Farms is also certified organic). Around here, I’m happy to find one or the other (especially during winter) but I adore it when I’m blessed with both.
- It’s a one-stop shop for me. I can make one trip and get all the veggies I could want (or need) from one place. Summer is usually a busy time for me work wise so I like the convenience of this.
- I get to try new and special foods I might not have access to at my local grocery store.
- I find it the most affordable option for local, organic food in my area. I’m always impressed with the quantity > cost ratio of this buying model.
- I get to stock my freezer and cupboards (if canning or doing other types of preserving) for winter months when local, organic food is in short supply. My CSA share usually provides me with enough to feed a family of four and most of the time it’s just me and/or a friend or two eating the produce so I almost always have leftovers.
- An abundance of similar vegetables (spinach AND romaine AND buttercrunch lettuce for example) forces me to be creative in how I prepare them. A girl can’t subsist on salad alone so it’s a fun challenge finding new ways to enjoy similar vegetables in new ways.
Here’s a peek at my CSA box from Edencrest Farms this week:
1 bunch of radishes
Probably about 3/4 lb. asparagus (I ate some before I weighed it, oops)
1 huge head of romaine lettuce
1 large bag of fresh spinach
1 bunch of green onions
3 large white potatoes bigger than my fist
1 giant bok choy
2 huge rhubarb stalks
My CSA pick-up day is Friday. So far I’ve had:
– Half the cucumber as a snack.
– About 1/4 of the asparagus for dinner with salt, pepper and a little lemon. The rest will probably go into lunch salads. These are so easy to pan fry and so great with lettuce- or grain-based salads.
– A terrific green smoothie with a healthy helping of the romaine, some fresh ginger and mint. The rest of the romaine will probably be consumed in salads.
– The spinach in several morning omelets and a dairy-free spinach dip I’m recipe testing.
– Some of the green onions into morning omelets, my hash browns below, and the above dairy-free spinach dip I’m testing. I’m trying several variations of this dip – one smooth and one chunky (for my fellow lovers of all things texture).
– Some pretty spectacular hash browns with black pepper, sea salt, green onions and fresh herbs from my garden (basil, parsley, and lemon balm).
So good! Potatoes are a treat for me, especially when prepared like this.
I plan to roast the radishes for lunch or dinner tomorrow… yum yum yum.
I froze the rhubarb and half the bok choy for later because I knew I probably wouldn’t get around to using it while it was at peak freshness.
With the rest of the bok choy, I’m making this Cleansing Garlicky Baby Bok Choy Soup for dinner tonight. It looks so delicious!
Based on this week’s bounty, here are a few kitchen tips and tricks for your kitchen (and CSA) toolbox:
- How to store fresh asparagus: The best way to store asparagus is the same way the grocery stores do. Standing upright in a preferably glass container with a few inches of water in the bottom. Think of them like fresh flowers and change the water or top up as needed. Glass mason jars are awesome for this.
- How to freshen up romaine lettuce: If your romaine lettuce starts to lose its crunchy crispness, the best way to revive it is with warm water. I fill a large bowl with water that is slightly warmer than lukewarm water and leave it for at least 20 minutes. You don’t want it to be hot or scalding but warm water enters the cells of the lettuce faster and it perks right up. Try it for yourself and you’ll be amazed!
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Did you sign up for a CSA share this season? What’s in your local basket?
Life is a plate… Eat up!