Thursday, August 12, 2010

My CSA Adventure

Posted by Carla B. at 7:18 PM
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Things are going well with the CSA I posted about recently. I have picked up my box for a couple of weeks now, and I am very pleased with the value for the money. All the vegetables are organically grown on a local farm that is considered a "slow grower". Currently, I am paying $390 for the remainder of the growing season - which means one box and one bag a week up to the week prior to Thanksgiving. That's not too bad, considering I get a wide variety that will continue to change as the seasons change.

So far, I get one box of tomatoes a week. This contains a pint container of heirloom Roma tomatoes - a beautiful yellow. It also contains a variety of other heirloom tomatoes - purple, red, even yellow zebra. The wide range of colors and types also means a wide range of flavors - some more sweet, some more tart. Some are good for sandwiches, and some make a mean tomato sauce. With these, I usually get around 10-14 tomatoes: 3 or 4 large ones (sandwich size perfect) with the rest medium-sized. 

I have gotten a bag of okra a week, with enough to serve a family of four (smaller than my family, but perfect for my family since several members seem to think okra means a sure death by taste). I also get some beautiful squash - a few crookneck and some zucchini. One week I got a pint jar of honey. This week's surprise was a small bag of garlic - about 8 heads.

I get more eggplant than I know what to do with, so if you have any good eggplant recipes please share. I have a good recipe for eggplant parmigiana, which I love. And since I am Southern, I have mastered frying them. I am trying to eat healthier, so I tried roasting them this past week but I wasn't entirely pleased. Please share any roasting tips you may have as well. This past week I received 4 regular purple eggplant, 3 Japanese eggplant and a pint container of Thai eggplant. I had never tried the Thai eggplant, and I totally messed up making it, so I hope I get another shot at that this week.

That is all just the CSA box, which also includes other things depending on the week. This past week I also got a huge bundle of fresh basil. Between that and the tomatoes, I made a killer tomato sauce we are using the remainder of this week. I am actually getting enough that I could be canning tomato sauce by the end of the season. That is very exciting considering the cost investment. It will be paying off past Thanksgiving. 

I am actually purchasing my CSA through the USLG market that I linked to in my last post. The market also has several other items that are delicious. The black bean hummus we tried was addictive, and I have now tracked down a good recipe that mimics the flavor. Their secret is to add a tiny bit of coriander. Other things I have tried include a chocolate pecan pie (not nearly as good as it sounds), chocolate milk from a local dairy (fantastic and hormone free), goat's milk (also quite good), goat cheese (you can make all sorts of delights with it), and more. I am very pleased so far with most everything I have tried.

I'll post more as I work my way through their market and menus.

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