Thursday, November 4, 2010

We joined a CSA!

Joining Eden's Organic CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) was a big step for us. We love the local food movement, seasonal eating, and the ideas behind CSA, but we were unsure we could afford it.

After going out to Marie's farm and getting to know her and her land better, we knew we had to get involved. And we have been since August.

We paid our 200$ (a full share for 4 people is 400$ or 200$ with workshare; we chose the latter) and started coming out each Friday or Saturday morning to work.

We moved compost piles, weeded, chased and squashed grasshoppers and caterpillars, planted
seedlings, and harvested whatever was ready. At the end of September, we got a surprise for all our hard work: our first little taste of what was to come.

There wasn't enough for shares yet, but here was our first taste of the farm.

A Cucuzza squash, a few fingerling eggplants, little spicy purple peppers, and a purple bell.

Neither of us had ever heard of Cucuzzas. It was our first CSA adventure and we loved it. We ate it raw in salads (like cucumber), cooked it into pasta sauce (like zucchini), and roasted it (like eggplant). This first taste of the farm became the better portion of two meals that week. Not really what we'd been hoping for with the CSA, but for a sneak peek, we were pleased nonetheless.

A few weeks later, almost 3 months since we paid and 6 weeks after we started working there, we received our first official CSA share.

It wasn't much bigger than our sneak peek. But the food was delicious and we told ourselves to be patient. This was the first week that the harvest was big enough to split between the 30 families that participate.

We received another Cucuzza squash, which got baked with tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs. We had tomatoes and purple bell peppers for salads and pico de gallo. We roasted the Habanero peppers and added them to the pico. The Mizuna greens were braised and eaten with a slice of ham. We also got a bag of dried rosemary. Yum!

The next Saturday our share was even bigger. Our patience was paying off!

Our haul included green beans, Habaneros, Mizuna greens, sweet potato blossoms, fresh rosemary, fresh oregano, two Cucuzza squash, and four bags of sweet potato vine and leaves.

The green beans were a real treat. There were enough for two people for two meals.

We dried our herbs for future use. We ate all of the beans, greens, and peppers, but only one of the squash and only about half of the sweet potato vines/leaves. We ate our extra squash the following week and blanched and froze the extra sweet potato leaves. We did end up trashing some of the vines.

It was a good haul with a lot of food, but we found that the bulk of it (the sweet potato vines/leaves) were interesting but not our normal fare. We enjoyed experimenting with different ways of cooking them, but after eating them in some capacity every day for a week, neither of us wanted to see them in our next load of veg.

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