Thursday, June 19, 2008

An Unexpected Treasure

I have neighbors that belong to a CSA. They are off on vacation. I'm stuck here, so they asked me to sit for their animals, and since they couldn't use their CSA they told me I could have it. They gave me the address to pick it up but said nothing else. I figured the treasure would be somewhere outside the house and found a little open shed in their driveway. Jackpot.

If you have never heard of a CSA, it stands for community supported agriculture. You buy a 'share' of what is produced by the farm in advance, usually in the winter. It helps spread the risk out to the buyer as well as the grower (good for the farmer) and gives you very fresh locally grown produce at a place where you can find out how your produce is grown (good for the buyer). In our northern clime they start delivering to a drop off around June and keep going as long as there are things to be picked in the field. Sometimes it is only vegetables that the farm produces; sometimes it is fruit and veggies; some farms do shares of meat and eggs. Most farms pack boxes that the buyer has no control over, but some do it by issuing 'farm dollars' where you can purchase what you want at the farm stand.

So what did my little treasure box hold?

  • Two heads of lettuce, one leaf, one romaine - I figured, but I have so much lettuce in my garden to eat that I really don't need them. I already eat salad every day. Usually lunch is a salad with a ton of lettuce.
  • Radishes - Score. I have no more in my garden and I miss them in my salads.
  • Beets - Ick I hate beets, but I might like the greens since I love chard.
  • Baby bok choi - Score. I love boc choi. Thai food here I come.
  • Spinach - OK
  • Collard greens maybe? I've never grown them and never eaten them, but I'm willing to make the assumption they are collard greens and try cooking them.

As to the quality? Well I haven't eaten it yet. It is not as pretty as you find in the supermarket. The bok choi and beet greens are flee beetle bitten, which weirdly is a good sign to me. It says they think a little leaf damage isn't as bad as spraying the veggies. I concur. Basically it looks like the produce that comes out of my garden.

My friend told me that she had to learn to cook greens when she started getting her boxes. She lent me a cook book a few weeks ago titled, "Greens Glorious Greens" by Johnna Albi and Catherine Walthers. It tells you all about what to do with those greens you have never heard of or used before. How to pick good ones in the market, how to wash them, store them, chop them and cook them. Tonight I'm eating greens. I just haven't decided which ones yet.


  1. The stuff that you grow yourself is so much tastier - and fresh cabbages and leaks 'squeak' when you handle them - hours of fun!

  2. Hi Daphne! I have tagged you on my blog. Perhaps you would like to tag some more people.

  3. Have you tried the beets grated raw in salad? I find their earthy taste is far less pronounced then.
    Of course if you're a confirmed beet hater my suggestion may only make you shudder :-)