Friday, December 7, 2012

Just what do you do with all those Vegetables?

winter root vegetables

My boyfriend and I just joined a CSA for the first time! 

It's something I've been wanting to do since I first learned of their existence. 

What's a CSA, you ask? It stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and it's a great way for people to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Local farms offer "shares" (which is essentially like a membership or subscription) to interested consumers. In return, you receive a particular amount of vegetables (or meat or other produce) every week, or few weeks, or few months, depending on the type of share you buy. Generally you buy a share for one farming season, which involves numerous deliveries or pick-ups.

Perhaps this share would have had a much larger variety of fruits and vegetables, had I joined up in California, but out there I was living alone and it would have been a much more difficult endeavor for me to eat all of this food! Not to mention I was in grad school and keeping up with the incoming produce might have been an impossible feat. 

I was excited about joining on a number of levels. First, perhaps it goes without saying, I really love the idea of eating food locally. This offers a number of advantages that I won't delve into, but it also has a bit of personal meaning. I still remember growing up and visiting the local farm around the corner from my Mom's house. My sister and I would marvel at the variety of vegetables (some of which were more exotic than the supermarket selections we were used to), and we absolutely loved walking around the farm, visiting with the animals, and seeing where all the food came from! More than anything though, I remember even at that young age being amazed at the way everything tasted! The vegetables at the grocery store paled in comparison. Anyhow...I was excited about the idea of eating fresh, local and (hopefully) delicious vegetables grown right nearby.

And so, we subscribed to a local share, albeit with the least number of pickups, since we wanted to feel out the situation. I think this was a good idea! Our first pickup was in mid-November and it included:

3 lbs carrots
several small onions
2 bulbs garlic
4 lbs of fingerling potatoes
3 lbs black radishes
3 lbs turnips
chinese cabbage
pok choi
1 lb green tomatoes
2 lbs sunchokes
3 lbs greens
2 lbs Chioggia beets
1 lb sweet potatoes
tomato sauce 
and six eggs
winter root vegetablesChioggia beets
Chioggia beets have "candy stripes"!

Some of these veggies were quite familiar, others (like black radishes, Chioggia beets, pok choi, and even fingerling potatoes and sunchokes), I was surprised to find, I'd never encountered before! And so the adventure began: trying to find a variety of yummy ways to cook these guys up! More entries to come about this...!

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