Recently, at a friend's holiday table, we were discussing apples. And I said, "Oh it's not apple-picking season yet! It's too hot!" And friend's friend said, "It is too. My CSA has been full of apples!" Then, a little silent reflection on how funny that statement sounds, or at least would have sounded 5 years ago. And then smiles all around.
CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Even if people aren't sure of that at first mention, they usually get what I mean when I continue with "it's where you sort of buy a share in a farm and get some fruits and veggies every week for a season," and I usually only get halfway into that before the nodding and the "OH YEAH THAT, I HAVE HEARD OF IT." I wanted to try using a CSA a few years ago thanks to major raves from F, but I kept shying away. Cost (and no income, as a student), work (finding time and recipes to use the produce), and travel (I always wanted to do it for summer, and I'd look at the calendar and see we'd be gone half of it). So this fall I said no more excuses, let's do this. On the sage recommendation of Evan the Carnivore I signed us up for a half-share for fall at Normans Farm Market. $120 for fall. A slight discount if you do all three seasons.
A handful of my pals have blogged their CSA adventures, including The Dirty Radish and The Proudfeet. I'm following in their footsteps.
First, Normans is pick-up. The pickup I chose isn't far from where we live, and it's easy for me to pick up on my way home because I drive. When I arrived on the first day, I was given a small basket from a stack of small and large options. I could fill it up once with my choice of veggies (zucchini, onion, tomato, eggplant, potatoes sweet and not, cucumbers, peppers), then again with fruit (pears, peaches, plums, apples), then I get 2 "options." 2 acorn squash = one option, 1 pt grape tomatoes = one option, 1 butternut squash = 1 option, 2 heads of broccoli = one option, etc. I just ask someone who works there what is what and go from there.
Here's my goods from the first week. Very little planning went into what I chose. It was mostly OMG I GET TO CHOOOOSE SO MANY CHOIIIIICES YAY. I am easily entertained.
Decoded: Black plums (that at first looked to me like figs), white eggplant, yellow zucchini, acorn squash, pears, sweet potato, tomato, grape tomatoes, peaches.
I sauteed some of the vegetables and added a can of no salt diced tomatoes, white wine, garlic, quinoa and chicken breast pieces into a big bowl of steamy food. Mmmm food. I want to try to make this quinoa squash gratin next time.
I sort of wish I was picking up on Tuesday so I could have the haul at the beginning of the week. But I usually have the most time to cook on the weekends, and fall/winter food usually takes roasting and simmering (I'm talking to you, roasted squash and hearty stews). Also, I find myself busy after work this past Tuesday, next Tuesday, and the one after. So I guess Thursday was meant to be. PS click that link and watch the trailer if you know what's good for ya.