May 18, 2009

Our first CSA delivery: oh, the bounty

Woo hoo! Our first CSA box arrived today! And here it is all spread out. What a haul. Honestly, I don't even know what some of this stuff IS.

When I joined The Compact, I didn't even know what CSA stood for. It means Community Supported Agriculture, and it's a familiar acronym to people involved in the local food movement. It's basically like going to the Farmer's Market, except the Farmer's Market comes to you. You're supporting local farmers who grow organic produce. The service visits all the Farmer's Markets in the area and finds the freshest offerings each week. Our service (Auntie Em's) even delivers it to your doorstep. Eating local and organic is better for the environment AND for your health.

This adventure of Buying Nothing New is leading me in all kinds of directions I never would have imagined. I know I've said before that I'm not really the type of person who does things Nike-style. I'm more of a deliberator, I like to weigh the pros and cons and take my time with a decision. But in this case, I dove right in. Last week I saw this post over at My Friend Oprah and within two days I was signed up and eagerly awaiting our first delivery. I simply couldn't think of any downside to doing it.

Luckily I asked for delivery every other week, because this is A LOT of produce. All we have to do is leave out the box on our doorstep by early morning the day of our next delivery. Our service also includes a list of what's inside with suggestions for preparation, plus a recipe. This week's is Alice Water's Swiss Chard gratin (recipe follows). Tonight we'll have our friends over for that plus some fresh fava beans spread on crostini. And fresh cherries for dessert! The apricots will probably be gone by the time they get here (I love apricots!)

This week's bonanza also includes spring garlic, purple sprouting broccoli, Detroit red beets, and red scarlett turnips. Any suggestions on what to do with the turnips or anything else you see here? Please leave your ideas in the Comments section.

16 comments:

calimama @ compactbydesign said...

I had no idea Auntie Em's was doing CSA and delivery. I LOVE that place!! They actually catered our rehearsal dinner a few years ago and it was amazing!

Looking forward to seeing future bounties!

Kari said...

I just signed up for a CSA too and was amazed by all the food I received. Good thing your CSA allows you the every-other-week option. I'm headed into the second week -- delivery is tomorrow -- and I'm like, "Wait! I haven't eaten everything yet!" lol

I'll look forward to reading your experiences with and thoughts about the CSA. I am really liking it. Seasonal organic food means healthy me, healthy environment, healthy farmers. I really like that :)

Canadian Saver said...

You got some great stuff!

I had signed up for a CSA share but they are going out of business :-( Not much detail, but they said our money would be returned soon by mail.

Alea said...

How about Borscht? Here is a recipe that I like, (but I leave out the sausage): http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Ukrainian-Red-Borscht-Soup/Detail.aspx

hiptobeme said...

This is great, I want to do it in my town, we have a program called The Good Food Box, which is run out of the church. I went to the farmer's market today though, and got some great potatoes and fresh garlic, YUM!

han_ysic said...

I wish there was a CSA close to me. although I grow a bit myself so possible wouldn't use it all. Enjoy your food.

April said...

Turnips are good peeled, cut into strips (like thick french fries) and eaten raw. With or without a dip. You might also look for some recipes for mashed turnips (and turnip cakes, which are made with mashed turnips).

Stacey said...

Oh, the joy!!! I am salivating thinking of the fava bean spread - alas, no fava beans in NC!

And I can't wait to make the Swiss Chard Gratin - much more yummy sounding than the frittata I had planned for later this week!

And turnips are *delicious* roasted and served in a ragout with other root veggies over polenta.

My default if I'm feeling overwhelmed by all the bounty and the next week's share is upon me is to roast everything and make a soup or ragout - great for lunches and can easily be frozen for some later night when you're in a pinch.

Kate Sommers said...

I want some of those apricots!
We have fresh mangoes right now but I miss fresh apricots and all the summer fruits you get in Calif.
Here's a recipe for pickled beets.They're not the same pickled type you see in salad bars.The way I make them is fresher and milder.
Wash,and cut the beets into chunks.Then steam.Be careful because the beet juice stains clothes, dish towels even light tile.
After they cool peel the outer skin off,put them into a glass jar with some of the juice from steaming.Add balsamic vinegar,Braggs liquid aminos,some fresh chopped garlic,and about a teaspoon of Spike seasoning.Refrigerate and you have delicious beets anytime to add to salad.
Beets are also great grated raw into salad.
With chard,I'll saute it with a little yellow onion and fresh garlic,and soy sauce.
I always brown the onion and garlic first then add chard and soy sauce.It's wonderful with fresh lemon squeezed on top.
I use to make this for my kids along with a hearty soup before going out on Halloween.I called it bat wings because it looked like bat wings!That way they had something healthy in them before eating all that candy.

Kate Sommers said...

Oh one more thing...an idea for using your onions,some of your carrots and basil(if that is basil,not sure)
Make a pasta sauce with all of this add some tomatoes and garlic and Italian spices and freeze half of it for another time.You can also steam the sweet potato,peel and mash them and use them for Yam Enchiladas.OR...you could make a soup with all of the root veggies and add in some chard...that would be good.
I love shopping fresh like this because it forces you to eat something fresh and homemade.

Ellen said...

I'm so jealous that you are doing a CSA. I've read about them before, but am too afraid that I'd waste at least half the shipment and too much of my grocery budget on it. What I need to do is make a routine of going to the farmers markets myself. Usually I'll spend about ten bucks a trip, on a bag of baby potatos, one fruit like a few apples or peaches or nectarines, a head of cauliflower or one vegetable to experiment with, and a bread treat to eat while I'm there. If I do this weekly or semi-weekly, I find I do use what I buy.

WilderMiss said...

I like to use turnips in hearty soups and stews. Think vegetable chowder - that'd work well with your carrots and potatoes as well.

WilderMiss said...

Oooh, and if I had fresh beets right now I'd make them into a salad with blue cheese and endive. Mmmmm...very French and summery.

Vinelady said...

Have you checked out epicurious.com for recipes. I always start there when I find something new.

Angela said...

Wow, thanks everyone for your great ideas!

I made the Alice Waters chard au gratin last night and it was absolutely delicious, although it took a lot longer than I thought. I think it was almost an hour and a half, so better for a weekend meal. Of course, it probably wouldn't take everyone that long, but there were a lot of steps.

I'm definitely going to roast the turnips and the beets, and use some of the beets for a salad and pickle the rest.

And then next week I'll use up everything we haven't eaten yet in a soup, or a ragout (not sure exactly what that is).

And I'm going to bookmark epicurious for all our future deliveries. My husband cooks once a week and I want him to get creative!

Thanks again for all your comments!

Sierra said...

About how much does a service like this cost? (if you don't mind answering)
I just discovered your blog and am interested in CSA. It's just me and my husband and we currently spend WAY too much on food...but he's 6 feet tall and works out 3 days a week...so he's a hungry man. And I can't figure out how to slash the bill...even though we use coupons and shop at Aldi and Walmart. Therefore, we might be able to afford CSA and it might be a good investment for us....
Thanks!
ps: I looked up some local CSA's, but all of them are already at full membership and they didn't list prices.

-Sierra
sierra.keaster@gmail.com