Saturday, February 28, 2009

Our experiment with CSA

We've heard about CSA's (Community Supported Agriculture) from several people, and it sounded like a great way to eat healthy organic veggies and also support local farmers. Then, we heard from our neighbors that a CSA farm was doing a drop-off in Pasadena, and we decided to take the plunge and try it! Fortunately, our CSA doesn't require an annual commitment, which helped us be willing to give it a try.

Since we started in December, we've become very familiar with many winter vegetables and greens--many of which I had never heard of or seen before. Kale, collard greens, mustard greens, swiss chard, beets, radishes, carrots, eggplant, kohlrabi, and turnips are just some of the things that we've had in our box. We only get 1/2 a box, but even so we have to work hard to find ways to use everything--especially the greens! We have succeeded thoughg--it makes us feel so healthy eating these vitamin-packed organic vegetables!
Look at the size of that radish!

So--what is kohlrabi and how in the world do you eat it?? And I'm not a fan of radishes, so what am I supposed to do with the endless supply we have? Fortunately, I already had a cookbook that is ideal for CSA users--it is sorted by season and has recipes for many of these lesser-known vegetables, and even a glossary with pictures and explanations of how to cook each vegetable! Simply in Season is now our most-used cookbook with lots of post-its and notes thoughout. Also, serendipitously we have a couple of neighbors who grew up in families that gardened these types of vegetables. The husband says he ate a kohlrabi every morning before he went to school!

So--how do we use these vegetables? Some of our favorite meals with the CSA veggies have been: Swiss chard cheese bake, greens with peanut sauce, vegetable soup, stir-fry, and quiche with kale and whatever other veggies we have on hand. We realized that one of the side-effects of having all these vegetables waiting to be used is that we have been eating more vegetarian meals, which also adds to the health benefits! We're still experimenting-- fortunately the vegetables change with the seasons so we get to continue to try new things! :)
A very large frying pan FULL of
greens...for greens with peanut sauce!
Quiche with kale and other veggies

1 comment:

Kiki said...

Good for you guys :-)

Now you need a juicer because (thanks to a certain boy I've gotten quite the education about the way you get different enzymes and benefits from juicing versus eating them raw or cooked) then you can get other benefits by consuming them in all different forms. :-) I've been juicing a bunch of those now...sometimes doing fruit mixed with veggie, and sometimes doing just veggie but with some lemon or grapefruit to help cut some of the bitter taste (carrot and beet does, also). It's a huge mess, especially doing it each time - although sometimes I do a little ahead it changes the benefits also. But it would help you use up some that are harder to get in other well as the benefits that come from the juiced form.

I think I'm going to join the co-op Phil goes to, as it's along the lines of CSA, but you can choose what you want. It's nowhere convenient, but now that I've adopted his prepare containers for all your juices for the week method, and do all the messy prep stuff ahead so it's ready to go, I think I can make it work. I do like the benefit of being able to select my own stuff...and combine that with my wonderful farmstand it might work well.

Then again, doing the CSA thing like you are, you get forced to use some things you might not otherwise.

Thanks for mentioning Simply in Season. I need to pull mine out! :-)

We meeting Wed?