Friday, July 18, 2014

CSA Hooray! Week 3

A few weeks ago, a friend from the gym reached out to me ... for something totally unexpected.  It turned out that she was going on a multi-week road trip with her family, and needed someone to dump her 1/2 share CSA on while she was gone.

Say what?  Fresh grown produce? 

Of course I'm down!

And so, on Friday 6/27 I received my first bundle, and on Thursday 7/3 I received my second.  They were delicious!  Which meant this time not only was I excited to get my third share - I was somewhat in mourning.  Why?  Because this would be my last week of CSA procurement, since my friend was due to come home.  :-(

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted, right?!

And then - BOOM!  My impromptu trip to Chicago came up... ruh-roh!  I wasn't going to be here to get the box, so I had to give it away to my friend's friend (who does the pickup for us anyway).  EXTRA frowny face.  :-( :-(

Mourning aside, my final share for 7/11 would have been:


In case you're wondering, that is an assortment of: Napa Cabbage, Arcadia Broccoli, Cilantro, Parsley, Summercrisp Lettuces, Bright Lights Swiss Chard, Summer Squash/Zukes, Cucumbers, Scallions and Fennel.

Like I said in all my previous CSA posts, above is a photo of a FULL SHARE of from the CSA.  I was willed a HALF SHARE.  Imagine the above cut in half.  And FYI, I'm not belittling the size of a half share - it is very generous and definitely plenty to eat before it would end up going bad anyway.

So, I guess I can't say what I did with the food if I didn't actually get it.  But, what WOULD I have done with all this goodness?  Well, here goes!

-  Fennel and broccoli- ah!  I can't believe I missed these.  Fennel in particular is SO good!!  I saw a recipe posted by the CSA grower that took fennel, broccoli and sausage.  I really wanted to try that.  Maybe I will in the future.

- Napa cabbage is soooo good in Asian dishes.  I was actually looking forward to shredding it and making some sort of pot sticker or egg roll filler.  I'm sure the scallions and cilantro would have been a great complement in this as well.

- The lettuces are never hard for me to use up.  I eat a ton of salads.  Those would have been gone on day one.  I would have tossed the parsley in there for good measure, too.

- Swiss chard and cucumber - I've really been enjoying a wrap from Freshii lately that uses a par-boiled pair of chard leaves instead of a tortilla for the wrap.  It's filled with chick peas, tomatoes, corn, cucumbers, artichoke, onion and a light creamy dill sauce.  Mmmm, so good!  Anyway, I was hoping to recreate that at home with the chard.  Or try out this recipe, also suggested by the CSA grower.

- That leaves the summer squash and zucchini... which I actually had a massive plan for already.  I just bought a spiralizer so that I could turn them into noodles, since I've read they make a great pasta alternative.  Boo!  I can't believe I missed my chance to try out my new machine.  Good thing I'm growing my own zucchini in my garden!! 

And that was it!  Although I'm saddened to be done with the CSA, the timing is actually quite good.  I've got some VERY busy weekends coming up, which would make getting the produce home a challenge, not to mention the challenge of having time to cook/eat it before it goes bad.  Besides, I can't be too upset.  My garden is starting to come into fruition and the Minneapolis Farmer's market should be up to speed in the next week or two with all sorts of great options.  I think I'll survive.

That's not to say that I wouldn't recommend buying your own CSA.  I totally would!  If you are even considering it, please sign up!  In fact, Easy Bean Farm just had a terrible incident last week where their truck's refrigeration unit needed a massive repair, and they are desperate to sell a few additional shares ASAP.  So they are definitely an option if you're considering it.  And just my two cents: I highly recommend them, and suggest you consider purchasing your own share.

Regardless of where you land, having access to a CSA basket in the last few weeks has been a lot of fun for me, and opened my eyes to some new ways to eat vegetables that I may not have thought of in the past.  And for that, I'm grateful.

PS: Read more about the CSA origins at Easy Bean Farm by checking out their website or Facebook page.

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