Eat Your Vegetables

Yesterday I picked up my first CSA box. CSA, for those who don’t know, stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It works like this: I pay a set amount to a local farmer, usually one lump sum in the spring. In return, he provides me with weekly boxes of produce for the duration of the growing season. I get whichever veggies are ripe — peas and lettuce this week and probably melons and potatoes in September. My farmer, Jorge Carmona, owns 20 acres in Eastern Pennsylvania. He’s a really nice guy.

Name this veggie. Seriously. I don’t know what it is. Kale? Collards?

I like the model for a few reasons. It forces me to eat more vegetables and a wider variety of veggies. I probably wouldn’t buy collard greens, but I WILL figure out how to cook them if they come in my box. Also, I like having a direct connection with the person who grows my food. So much of what we buy in the grocery store has traveled hundreds or thousands of miles. I have no idea where it came from or how old it is. My CSA produce, on the other hand, I know exactly where it came from and roughly when it was picked. What’s more, being part of a CSA ties me, in some small way, to the land. If this year is a bad year for tomatoes, I’ll know it because there won’t be many in my box. If we have a bumper crop, I’ll know that too.

One huge honking zucchini.

But the veggies aren’t cheap. A half share, which is what we have, costs $400. That gets me 20 boxes of veggies, one per week from June until October. (We paid an extra $50 to add on a half-dozen eggs.) That’s likely cheaper than buying produce at our local co-op (where red peppers inexplicably never seem to be less than $6.99/lb), but more than our neighborhood grocery store. (Of course, the quality is better. Our grocery store veggies are often wilted and soft.)

My first box included: tomatoes, peas, mystery leafy green (photo above), lettuce, oregano, a huge honking zucchini, sage, beets, cucumbers, broccoli, fresh garlic, an onion, and green onions. Totally worth $20 — but only if we eat all those veggies. Recipes anyone?

5 Comments

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5 responses to “Eat Your Vegetables

  1. Molly

    Surely you have MACSAC’s A to Z cookbook? No? I’ll send it for your birthday!

  2. I’m ashamed to say I do not have that cookbook, although I met the author while waiting for Mark Bittman to sign a copy of How To Cook Everything.

  3. Looks like a beautiful bounty! It’s hard to tell what the greens are…the picture is a bit dark…wish I could help you there. But I always like to sauté my greens with a little bit of onion or garlic, which I see you have a lot of 🙂

    For the zucchini, here is my favorite recipe…turkey burgers and zucchini fries! http://inherchucks.com/2011/10/29/z-is-for-zu-chee-ni/. Or you can go the sweet route and make these zucchini cupcakes…http://inherchucks.com/2011/10/30/zucchini-part-2/.

    At first, beets were tough for me. I wasn’t the biggest fan, but put them into cake and I was happy…http://inherchucks.com/2011/12/10/beet-cake-with-cream-cheese-frosting/…or muffins…http://inherchucks.com/2012/04/13/chocolate-beet-muffins/. This roasted beet salad is delicious too! http://inherchucks.com/2012/05/29/roasted-beets-with-gorgonzola-and-walnuts/.

    I host a weekly CSA link party and I would love for you to be a part to it. I am sure you will find some awesome recipes too. Come and check it out and add the link to this post…http://inherchucks.com/2012/06/14/whats-in-the-box-30/. Hope to see you there!

  4. I think it’s kale. I actually use it raw in smoothies. It’s got a mild flavor and with fresh fruit, simply adds nutrition.

  5. Mystery solved. According to my Facebook friends, the leafy green is Red Russian kale. http://www.highlowfooddrink.com/2010/04/red-russian-kale.html. Thanks for weighing in, Tammy. And thank for all the recipes, inherchucks!

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