my first week – CSA Love Grows Farms

For the past couple of years, I’ve been an on-and-off participant in Bountiful Baskets – a cooperative that allows people across my region to collectively purchase produce and other items (either conventional or organic) on a bi-weekly basis. It’s been fun, and quite an adventure – never really knowing what your “basket” will bring (though it is always half fruit, half vegetables), I’ve had “conventional-envy” and “organic-envy” over the years. And also got to buy case-lots of things that I can turn into yumminess for when the holidays roll around (though I suspect they’d prefer I not buy peaches this year!). This always worked out because it was on-demand and I could split with my Mom, and we could share stories of what we were doing with our “bounty”. Of course, other friends in town participated, so that often led to a shared cup of coffee too. Never a bad thing.

But a wonderful friend of mine forwarded an invitation to join a CSA here in the valley. All organic, a local farmer. It sounded great. And let’s face it, a little romantic. As usual, I say YES without asking for important details – like how much “stuff”, how often, etc. I’d been spoiled, we could opt in or out depending on schedules. Plus, I split my weekends, so I’m not always “here” (or there!). I’d already committed. And then, there they were – the rules. So, I enlisted another friend of mine who is interested in organic food and honestly, has been more reliable about baskets.

Today was the first day. I might as well get my reservations/down-side out right at the beginning. Pick up between 3-5pm on Saturday. The sweet spot of the day! But. Here I go. The farmer delivered everything early (good), but I didn’t look at my email, so just waited for 2:30 to roll around (and when it did, I was sitting on the phone with a nice gentleman from India trying to help me fix the not-fixable new printer I had just purchased, again I digress!). Finally finished; off I went. And let me say – the person who put this all together is delightful! And how generous to do this! Wow, so much nicer than me. I’d heard how nice she is. Absolutely.

30 seconds later, I was leaving with my bag of “root vegetables” and such. I suspect that I was one of the early ones. Well, mainly because I saw the table completely covered with bags. I’ll be honest. I was not overly impressed upon seeing what we had. I felt bad. My friend that I conned into this, well, there was no way she was going to enjoy this stuff – some of it completely unrecognizable.
I even texted my friend (who is camping and should not be texting, but apparently her husband is sitting next to her on his iPad, so I’m really completely in line!) that I would give her her check back. I even sent a picture. I didn’t know what everything even WAS! Honest!!

After initially deciding that this would be relegated to rabbit food, literally  (my friend has a rabbit who would be happy with the bag of produce), I kind of felt guilty – so I thought I should go online and see if there was anything interesting. Then, I called my Mom…. Happy that I still get to. She doesn’t make anything with kale either. But had a recipe!! J

I came up with a couple of ideas online. Great reviews. Of course, I wouldn’t be making a lot of anything today.  So, I started cutting things down to size. Then, as I started peeling, blanching, trimming, things started to come together. And then I thought… well, this is more like – if I actually was a farmer, this is (an exercise in) what I’d do with what I grew! Which made it all more interesting. And now that I think even more about it, so in line with who I am – that crazy person who cans things in the summer (who can resist fresh peach or strawberry jam?), and lovingly makes quilts – because, after all, they keep us warm?

So, I’m now bonding a bit more with my (shared) bag of radishes (still ick), rutabagas, kale, chard and a few other things that I don’t recognize. So far, so good. After all, it’s an adventure (and didn’t I just ask for that??).

So, I made a rutabaga puree. I used 1 rutabaga (about 2″x 3.5″) with 2 carrots. Boiled until soft, and drained. Pureed with a little butter and a bit of brown sugar (and a little salt). This was surprisingly good. I resolved that I would definitely be happy to have again. One kind of big-ish serving.

And some kale – blanched, then sliced. (about 3-4 c trimmed?   1/2 of the bunch) Then cooked 2 slices of (great) bacon, removed from the pan when crisp. 1/2 an onion, diced; “some” crushed garlic, a small bay leaf, sprig of parsley and several small fresh sprigs of thyme – into the pan. Then I added the kale as well as some water to almost cover and some chicken stock base. I simmered mostly covered for a while, and then reduced the liquid over higher heat when I was getting closer to finishing.  That was good too! More like 2 servings.

Below are the 2 recipes that I used as inspiration (or a direct steal). 

So the lesson I learned is: just go with it! Find some way to make it interesting. And maybe you’ll find something good – and new!

3 thoughts on “my first week – CSA Love Grows Farms

  1. As I was recently ranting about the downfall of journalism and grammar, I quite enjoyed reading your blog (for the first time, sorry about that). Excellent work! Bravo! …also happy you figured out what to do with a rutabaga.

  2. I read your post today with some sympathy – of the been there done that variety :-). It's wonderful you pulled it all together and made lemonade. A CSA box is a challenging thing. I've decided to shop and buy local produce but no longer subscribe to a CSA. The contents of my box were always a feast or famine affair that didn't work well for my family. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

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