July 7, 2010

CSA Box of Treasures

Posted in Breast Cancer, Cancer, Family, Food, Garden, Health, Home, Recipes tagged , , , , , , at 6:46 am by Liliana

CSA produce

CSA produce

Every Wednesday morning, someone from my family makes sure to stop at the farmer’s market and pick up our CSA box of treasures.

What is CSA?
CSA or Community Supported Agriculture, is a program that allows small farmers to market their own local, seasonal produce directly to their immediate community.  I joined the membership of our particular farm last winter, and paid for the entire season by last May.

Now, from early June through the middle of October, all we need to do is show up and pick up a box of fresh, organic produce. Every week is a surprise, and we are never sure what will be for dinner. All produce had been picked the day before and is at the peak of its ripeness and nutritional value.

We have been eating all kinds of greens and a number of plants we hadn’t tried before. But everyone agrees that the experiment has been a huge success so far. We all gather around the box and marvel at the beauty, color, flavor and fragrance of various vegetables, herbs and flowers.

This is what we found in our treasure box today:

  • Genovese basil – an herb with sweet, spicy, shiny, green leaves perfect for flavoring salads, soups and stews; making pesto or freezing for winter.
  • Fava beans – resemble large lima beans with a tart, pungent flavor; can be cooked or eaten raw in salads.
  • Green beans – Maxibel French Fillet are very slender green beans with firm texture and delicate flavor; we usually eat them steamed, sautéed, stir-fried, or in a delicious green bean soup.
  • Beets & greens – Red Ace beets are round, smooth, deep red roots with sweet flavor and red-veined green leaves. Chioggia greens are an Italian variety with green leaves and pink-striped stems; root has cherry red, candy-striped color and a sweet flavor. Both are delicious steamed in salads, soups or stews.
  • Broccoli – deep emerald green, tiny buds that are clustered on top of stout, edible stems.  Delicious steamed with a bit of salt, olive oil and fresh lemon juice.
  • Napa cabbage – crinkly, thick, cream-colored leaves with celadon tips.  Unlike the strong-flavored waxy leaves on round cabbage heads, these are thin, crisp, and delicately mild.  Use raw, sauté, bake, or braise; common in stir-fries or soups.
  • Italian dandelion greens – bright red stem with a jagged, dark green leaf. Not a true dandelion, but rather a chicory with darker green and slightly larger leaves with a tangy, slightly bitter taste. Refreshing as a salad green or cooked as a vegetable.
  • Fresh garlic – a bulb of several papery white cloves. Can be eaten minced raw in salad dressings, sautéed and added to stir-fries, meats, vegetables. As garlic butter (1/2 cup of softened butter mashed with four minced cloves of garlic). Also, try roasting garlic by cutting off tops of garlic bulbs, so cloves are exposed, brushing with olive oil and baking for 1 hour at 350 degrees; squeeze garlic out of skins and spread on good, crusty bread.
  • Lettuce – Red/Green Leaf, Romaine, and Oak.
  • Green onions or scallions – young shoots of bulb onions with long green stalks and milder taste than large bulb onions.
  • Summer squash –  intense yellow color, straight neck squash with buttery flavor and firm texture.  Delicious sautéed, roasted, in stir fries or soups.

What a glorious bounty! Call around for your own local CSA farm information.

This directory might help you get started: www.localharvest.org