Saturday, July 6, 2013

Bring on the veggies

This is our second year participating in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). If you aren't familiar with CSAs, in a nutshell, you pay a farmer before the season starts for a share (or half share) of produce from the farm. Then each week you pick up your bag or box of fresh veggies.

Last year we purchased a half share through Stranger's Hill Organics. It was a good learning experience for us, with a convenient location for pick up. But it just wasn't the right fit for us. Instead of quitting, we looked for a CSA that would be a better fit for us.

This year we have a half share with Heartland Family Farm. We considered a half egg share as well, but a dozen eggs every week was a little more than we could commit to.

So far, I really enjoy the variety. Heartland Family Farm offers a wider range of produce, including some fruits and berries, so it feels a lot less repetitive than last year. I hate kale, so 15 or so weeks of kale last year was just too much.
One of today's recipes: French leek pie

Some of the produce we've received so far this year:

  • kale, but only a small amount, and only for 2 weeks
  • Swiss chard, this year's pick for veggies I most look forward to being done with
  • rhubarb
  • strawberries, unfortunately only 1 week
  • spinach
  • red potatoes
  • asparagus
  • beets
  • Napa cabbage
  • cabbage, another item I am getting tired of after only 2 weeks
  • leeks
  • herbs
  • Italian dragon's tongue beans
  • broccoli
  • popcorn
  • eggs
  • green onions
  • water cress
  • radishes
  • mustard greens, which went to the rabbits (we just couldn't eat them)
  • zucchini
  • kohlrabi
  • braising greens
  • summer squash
  • cucumbers
We're only 2 months in, but it's been quite a mix. Part of that seems to be the better weather this year (last year's drought limited some of the crops), but part is just the wider variety of vegetables this farm grows.

One of the things I started last year was making soups to freeze and freezing extra of various meals we made. By doing this, the volume of veggies wasn't as overwhelming and we had real organic veggies all winter.

Quart size bags of veggies in the freezer: shredded zucchini, chopped onions, chopped peppers

A few selections in the freezer: pesto, Swiss chard pie, strata, Swiss chard & bacon muffins

Here are a few of the recipes I've used last year and this year for some of our veggies. Please share your favorite recipes in the comments.

Baba Ghannouj from Saveur (I also hate eggplant, but this is one way to use some up.)
Butternut Squash Soup from Allrecipes (Ok, but a little spicy for our taste.)
Creamy Cucumber Soup from Eating Well (This was surprisingly good. Would be perfect with a baguette.)
French Leek Pie from Allrecipes
Napa Cabbage Salad from Allrecipes (Love this recipe!)
Rhubarb Muffins (7th recipe down) from The Rhubarb Compendium (I love rhubarb, and these muffins are fantastic.)
Restaurant-style Zuppa Toscana from Allrecipes (We had enough to last all winter given all the kale we got last year.)
Zucchini Bread from Allrecipes (A fabulous recipe, this works with summer squash too. I freeze 2 cup portions of shredded zucchini and summer squash to make this all year round.)

I do notice a trend, partly because it's an easy way to get Chris eating vegetables: I make a lot of soups. I also make a lot of baked goods if there's any way to make a vegetable into a muffin.

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