June 17, 2010
CSA: Community Supported Agriculture
I decided to try out participating in CSA this summer. I paid for 20 weeks of locally grown, organic produce up front. The farm is in Maryland, which is a small state, but it’s not particularly close to me. However, they have numerous places where they drop off CSA produce and one happens to be at a residence in my town. I have had four weeks of produce now, and I’ve been very happy with it. We’ve gotten an assortment that varies each week. The above picture shows just a portion of what I got one week. Over the past four weeks, I received these items (and probably a couple I’m forgetting), but not all of them every week:
- spring onions
- collard greens
- snow peas
- beet greens
One thing we’ve had lots of is lettuce, particularly green and red leaf lettuce. For several weeks we’ve had build-your-own salad for dinner on Thursday (the day I pick up my produce). Another item I’ve gotten each week is spring onions. We eat onions a lot so those have been great.
This is the first year I have had a CSA subscription, and it’s an experiment. I am happy to help support a local farm, and I like the ease of picking up my produce from a convenient place. The farmer’s markets in my area are not as convenient, and I am often disappointed in how much produce is actually there. On the other hand, with CSA I have no choice about what produce I am given. I am hoping that there will be very little that we don’t eat and not too much overlap with my own garden. I’m also limited to picking up the produce on Thursday, and it makes shopping earlier in the week difficult when I don’t know what I will be getting. So far, though, I am happy with it, and I look forward to seeing what will be in the box each week.
How About You
Do you have a CSA subscription or have you had one in the past? What do you think about it?
To learn more about CSA and to search for one in your area, visit Local Harvest.
P.S. A tip if you aren't liking collards on their own: If you simmer them nice and long into a soup, they just sort of become lost in all the other ingredients. That way you don't have to "confront" them, but they still get used up and you get the nutritional benefits. :)
On the collard greens - what we started doing is slicing them veery finely into strips and adding them to stir fries and soups, or blending into liquid (we have a vitamix) and adding them to soups/stews/smoothies. They're great for you, just sometimes hard to love ;)
I too am not a big collard greens fan, but have found two ways to cook them that we like them. My husband liked them when I sauteed them adding a good amount of veggie broth to draw out the bitterness. Look for Sunny Anderson's recipe on FoodNetwork.com. The 2nd way, is not make chips. I ripped the leaves down into bite size pieces and then coated them in olive oil and a little salt. I then laid them out on a cookie sheet and baked them at 350 for 7.5 minutes (don't ask, just found it worked best) and they're not bitter at all. In fact, I like them quite a bit this way! (Just in case you get them again and are trying to figure out what to do with them.) You can also do this with Kale and other greens.
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