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?


Filed under food

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! Or you can go the sweet route and make these zucchini cupcakes…

    At first, beets were tough for me. I wasn’t the biggest fan, but put them into cake and I was happy……or muffins… This roasted beet salad is delicious too!

    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… 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. Thanks for weighing in, Tammy. And thank for all the recipes, inherchucks!

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