Archive for the 'CSA' Category


Last week’s fruit CSA share


  • 5 Sugar Snap apples
  • 5 Hosui Asian pears
  • 3 Razor Russett apples
  • 1 Nova Spy apple
  • 3 Empress plums

CSA wrap-up

pa224138csa1022.jpgThe CSA season ended two weeks ago. Here are pictures of our last three pick-up boxes. It still feels weird not to be going to the farm on Wednesday afternoons. It was sort of like getting a surprise present each week. I knew I’d be getting a box, but I didn’t know what would be in it. Sometimes the contents were familiar friends (“Oh. Green beans. Again.”), and sometimes they were completely unexpected (“Ooooh! A jar of local honey!”).

pa294341csa1029.jpgAs you can see, the green beans that filled our box during most of the summer gave way toward the end to winter squash and cauliflower. A lot of cauliflower. And cabbage. Now, I like cauliflower and cabbage just fine, but only in small amounts. And I certainly don’t need to be getting ginormous heads of cabbage and cauliflower four weeks in a row. Seriously—it was far more than my family could handle. Fortunately, I was able to give some away to neighbors.

pb054779csa1105.jpgBut I don’t want to have to give food away to my neighbors. I mean, I like sharing with them, and when my garden veggies are growing like gangbusters I love to spread the wealth around. But we put down a fair chunk of change for this CSA. I’m not saying it wasn’t a fair price, considering the amount of food we got. But we ended up getting a lot of stuff we didn’t like—and a lot of stuff we just couldn’t keep up with.

I’m doubtful that we’ll do the CSA again next year. (If we do, it will be only if we can split a share with one or maybe two other families.) The food guilt is just too great. I hate opening up my fridge and seeing, say, eggplant staring at me and thinking, “We paid for that eggplant, so we should use it” but dreading the prospect of eating eggplant (we tried a few new recipes over the summer, and we still don’t like it). I’d just avoid the eggplant and try not to make eye contact with it, and after a while it would start to turn into a science experiment and wind up in our compost bin.

I don’t like wasting food—and I don’t like prepaying for lots of stuff I won’t be willing or able to eat. So next year we will probably rely on farmers’ markets for most of our produce. Fortunately, there’s a new one on Wednesday afternoons, just a couple of miles up the road from the CSA farm.

Here are the last four CSA boxes. Yup, the potatoes and green cabbage are out of control…






What can I do with this stuff?

p9173475csa.jpgWhen Jan brought home this week’s CSA box yesterday, I was astonished not to see green beans in it. The deluge of green beans seems to have given way to the endless stream of tomatoes. We have far more tomatoes than we can manage, and I’d like to turn them into tomato sauce and can it. My experience in this department has been only with Roma tomatoes, though. Is it possible to make and can good tomato sauce with regular tomatoes? Anyone have a recipe they think is good?

We also have what the CSA farmer told Jan is a cheese pumpkin. Neither of us has ever heard of such a thing, and we have no idea what to do with it. Suggestions?

p9033311csa0903.jpgMy blogging has been derailed for the past month a half—first by our trip up to Vermont, then by the Nigerian State Security Services arresting my brother-in-law. Andy is back in New York now (Jan, Sylvia, and I took a day trip up to Brooklyn to see him today), so things can start to return to normal around here.

p9103349csa0910.jpgFirst up, two weeks of CSA boxes. We’ve been getting a lot of potatoes, nectarines, green beans (we ate the last batch smothered in mayonnaise and garlic—yum!), and tomatoes lately. We’re in the end-of-summer phase now; two weeks ago we got what is likely the last watermelon of the year, and last week we got what is probably the last of the season’s sweet corn.

So what else has happened in the month since we returned from Vermont? Sylvia started preschool (for the first time ever) nearly two weeks ago. That’s a biggie that warrants its own post—not one of mimsy musings about how my little girl is growing up so quickly (even though she is), but one about our commute to school.

I’ve been doing quite a bit of knitting.

And pickle-making. (What else am I going to do with all of those CSA cucumbers?).

And game playing. (The cake is a lie! Bonus points to the person who knows that reference.)

And just enjoying the end of the summer. (I hope you are, too.)

More on all of that later…


Still lagging behind here…

p8273084.jpgI’m still wading through hundreds of pictures from our vacation and prepping for my daughter’s first day at preschool next week. Oh—and trying to figure out what to do with the incredible amount of produce that comes into my house every week, thanks to our CSA. (See this week’s haul? We’ve gotten that amount of green beans for three consecutive weeks now. Now I do like green beans, but really, there’s only so much I can eat in a given amount of time…)

Consequently, I’ve been somewhat neglectful of my little corner of Blogland. This weekend promises to be a busy one, too, so it may yet be a while before I get fully caught up here.

But I have news to share! Really, I do! You won’t believe how many finished objects I have to show you. So bear with me while I get my act together. Thanks!


Trying to catch up

p8203078csa.jpgWe spent the the first two weeks of this month on vacation in Vermont, and since our return on Sunday I’ve been trying to get caught up. I had about 1700 posts in my reader, a gazillion e-mails, and of course gobs of vacation pictures to get through.

I hope to post about my trip in a few days, but for now I wanted to mention this week’s CSA haul. (My friend Beth enjoyed my CSA boxes during the two weeks I was out of town, so I don’t have pictures of those.) I now have enough cukes to make another batch of pickles (I made a double batch the day before we left for Vermont, too).

There’s a winter squash (which I plan to bake, then smother with butter and grade B maple syrup), summer squash, cukes, a ton of green beans, fresh portabellos (the county I live in is the mushroom-growing capital of the USA—there’s a very good chance your supermarket mushrooms came from here), a watermelon, onions, a red pepper, some potatoes, a quart of plums, and a couple of yams. And “a few” (ahem!) tomatoes. No eggplant, thank goodness.

p8203079lionbars.jpgWe’re well stocked on the veggie front, but some items (like orange juice and cheese) aren’t available through my CSA. So I took a trip to my local supermarket yesterday, where I was just tickled pink to discover that it now carries (in the international foods department) The Greatest Candy Bar in the World. Please note that there is not a shred of hyperbole in this paragraph: Lion Bars really are the best candy bar ever. Until now, I’ve been able to get them only from friends who visit the UK or from import shops/sites. Now I can get them whenever I go grocery shopping. Woot!


Catching up with the CSA

p7231856csa1.jpgHere’s last week’s CSA box. Note the apricots and plums—just the right size for three-year-olds. I don’t quite understand how the pineapple got here. There were boxes of Dole pineapples next to a sign saying “Take a pineapple!” I did (my daughter is nutso for pineapple), but I don’t see how this fits into a CSA that’s supposed to be about locally produced food. Last time I checked, pineapple wasn’t grown anywhere near Pennsylvania.

p7301870csa2.jpgHere’s this week’s haul. Corn and peaches make their first appearance this week—yum. With an imminent out-of-town trip coming up, we aren’t going to come anywhere close to eating all of this stuff. So the vast majority of this week’s box is going to my friend Beth. Fortunately, she happens to love eggplant: there are three of them this week!


It’s a miracle

After writing about how, even though I loathe pickles, I was planning to make some pickles with the gazillion cucumbers I’d gotten from my CSA, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I actually like these pickles. Hot damn.

After this revelation, I was feeling inspired to do some more pickling of stuff. Last week’s beet bounty combined with beets I already had on hand got me thinking about how to preserve beets. Kelli put me in touch with her friend Jessica, who passed along a recipe for canning beets. It looked pretty good, and I was all set to give it a go when I found (in Preserving Summer’s Bounty,” from the good folks at Rodale) a recipe for pickled beets in a honey, cinnamon, and allspice syrup. Yum.


In this week’s CSA news

p7161839csa.jpgHere’s this week’s CSA haul. More cucumbers, more zucchini, some yellow beans, red onions (this are the first ones of the season), smaller onions, bell peppers, hot peppers (another first of the season), small onions, an eggplant, and about a gazillion tomatoes.

I’m going to save the pickles until next week, when I hope to get enough new ones to make up another batch of pickles. (The recipe I’m using calls for a gallon of thin slices, which came out to about five decent-sized cukes last time.) For the other veggies, I’m going to turn to The Vegetarian Bistro, by Marlena Spieler, for inspiration. Many of the recipes call for eggplant, tomatoes, or zucchini—or even all three—so I’m bound to find something good in there.

p7161837extra.jpgAnd here are this week’s “bonus” items. The CSA boxes are kept in a small, air-conditioned trailer, and there are usually boxes or small refrigerators with extras available for purchase. Portabello mushrooms, for example, did not appear in this week’s share but could be bought for $1.50/bag. Local meat is also available at various prices.

This week, there was a box de-greened beets, with a sign encouraging people to help themselves to what they wanted. Another sign also told people to take one of the melons outside (there was a pile of them under a garden umbrella next to the trailer). I bought a dozen chicken eggs (laid yesterday morning) for $2.50.

I may have mentioned before that my CSA is at a nearby dairy farm that, for the past fifteen years or so, has operated an ice creamery. I recently learned from Tim, the farmer who runs the CSA, that only about two percent of the farm’s daily milk production goes to ice cream; the rest of the milk is sold to a regional distributor.

He sent an e-mail out to the CSA members last week announcing that they had just invested in pasteurization equipment and would be offering fresh pasteurized milk for sale once the licensing process was complete. Happy news indeed! We, however, are a raw milk-drinking family, so when I saw Tim yesterday (when picking up my box) I asked if he’d ever have raw milk available. He said, “I can’t sell it to you, but I can give it to you,” then went off to fill a half-gallon jug for me.

As it turns out, to get a license for pasteurized milk, the farm must first get a license for raw milk. Once all that is done (within the next week, Tim hopes), they’ll be able to sell both kinds of milk. He’ll have prefilled jugs of milk available for people to buy on CSA pickup days, but since I am (so far) the only person who’s inquired about raw milk, he won’t have those ready-made but will prep them to order. I’m pretty happy about this, because currently the only place I can get raw milk around here is at a natural-foods store about fifteen minutes away—it’s not too far from us, but the travel time (and gas!) really adds up when you’re going there about three times every two weeks. (Raw milk is fresh for only seven days, so buying in one trip more than we can drink in that time isn’t an option.)

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