We’ve been very busy around here lately, with big changes at work, at home, at school. We have been cooking, taking notes and photos of how we have used our CSA goodies, but I just have not had the opportunity to sit down at the computer (or the will to kick the 15 year old off the computer), to write.
But when I do find that time, I have some great recipes coming (and a few the kids didn’t care for but I REALLY liked (Mango Banana Mint Smoothies anyone?)
As we head into the final stretch of the Winter CSA, Farmer Al keeps telling us he is running out of goodies to put in our boxes. 😦 In Box 9, we got a few staples from storage: dried garbanzo beans, shallots, chili peppers, russet potatoes and apples. From the newer crops we got Swiss chard, with beautiful red and yellow stems, and baby spinach. Yumm!
Already I have made a garbanzo bean salad. I carmelized some onions with the chopped chard that I was going to use as a condiment, but the next day I turned it into spaghetti sauce, that we later used as pizza sauce. That is three, count ’em, 3 days of dining on one running recipe that kept getting reinvented day by day. And no one complained! 🙂 Sweet!
Because he is running out of goodies, we are skipping the next scheduled pick up for Box 10, but he promises to get us three weeks of CSA in April. He better not be lying to me again….. GRRR.
Although, my farmer did break my heart since my last pick up. I had been thinking it was time to sign up for the Summer CSA and wondered why we hadn’t received notice yet. Then he sent an e-mail announcing that he is changing the format of his CSA. Rather than a weekly box of vegetables of HIS choice, we now will order what we want in advance and he will deliver each box to a local farmer’s market to be picked up weekly.
This has caused a huge identity crisis for me. Megan at Clean Eats Fast Feets has talked about how the weekly CSA box appeals to her competitive spirit; how can you use what you are allotted without any waste? I have to agree. That challenge awakened something in me that appealed to my problem solving skills – forcing me to try whatever it took to use whatever I had before it was wasted. Before my CSA, each week I would sit down and select four dishes I planned to make for dinner, shopped for ingredients on the weekend and prepared my dishes each evening during the week. Very orderly, with some wiggle room for the unexpected/ school concert, dinner invitation, lazy order of pizza without too many extra groceries or ingredients that couldn’t be used within the next few days.
With the CSA box in the middle of the week, even with the advance notice of what might be in your, there was always an element of surprise, and panic. How will we possibly eat three different types of greens before next week? What is THAT squash and how should it be cooked? Will the kids even try anything with those peppers in them? The risk and the adventure made it fun and challenging. There was less planning on the weekend and more looking at what I had and creating… something….
Left on my own, I am not likely to ever order as many greens, or squashes (squashi my daughter asks?). The younger lady of the house suggested I can require myself to order at least one unusual type of vegetable each week to kick up the challenge. But it just seems so…orderly.
Yesterday, I was talking with a friend of mine who lives on Maui (devastating, I know!) and she joined a CSA (Yea! – CSAmom influence at work!). She gets to choose what she receives each week and she loves it. No one is going to tell her what she has to eat! She gets papayas, avocados and some funky Italian greens she really likes.
I researched the other CSAs in the area, and they too let you choose the produce you take home, so I am going to stick with my farmer and try the new system. On the upside, the new pick up spot is at a local winery – I am a member of their wine club, so I CAN do a little free wine tasting while I pick up my vegetables each week. 🙂
That may cut down on cooking the day I pick up my CSA box.