Wednesday, June 5th, 2013

Things I Like: Our CSA Begins!

CSAshedYesterday was the beginning of our CSA season, easily one of my favorite times of the year, and so I wanted to post photos from my first pick-up at Ralston Farm, where a talented group of young farmers grow some of the most beautiful and tasty vegetables, herbs, and flowers around. Above is the little shed where the tubs of just-harvested vegetables awaits, along with a list of what’s available that week. For those of you who always hear about this “CSA” model and are wondering “what the heck is this?”, it stands for: Community Supported Agriculture. It’s a terrific way for small farmers to sustain an agricultural business because it’s made up of members who pay for a share of the season’s harvest ahead of time. Throughout the summer to early fall, you pick-up the fruits of their labor and as the season progresses, the bounty goes from young lettuces, to peas and carrots, then tomatoes (a Ralston Farm specialty), squash, and beyond…

CSAflowerThis week there were also these beautiful, buttermilk-yellow sunflowers. One of the reasons I love the Ralston Farm CSA—besides the intimate vibe and no-use of pesticide-is that it includes flowers. There is a “u-pick” situation for the flower harvesting, which is a little dangerous because when I see “u-pick”, I think, “I must strafe this entire row of flowers because they’re all mine! Mine!”

CSAhaulThe vegetable haul this week included green garlic, 3 varieties of kale, spicy mustard greens, young fennel, and butterhead/oak leaf/summer crisp lettuce.

CSAfennelHere is the curly tops of the fennel–my plan is to either core and slice the bulb very thin and put it in a salad, perhaps topping some crispy chicken cutlets or grilled fish with the salad; or use the whole vegetable, including the fronds, for a pasta dish like THIS one with linguine and shellfish. I actually know some hardcore fennel fans who will eat it in hand like an apple. Random side note which also explains why I love the intimate quality of a CSA-farmer relationship: My uncle was also an organic CSA farmer until very recently in Belgium, and he once gave fennel to one of his members who had just had a baby but was distressed because she was having difficulty nursing–he told her it would help her produce milk if she ate it raw, and it worked like a charm…Imagine the grocer at your supermarket sharing this information with you?? So if you or someone you know is in a similar nursing situation, take note! And also eating celery will do the opposite– close up the waterworks. I swear I’m not making this up!

CSAsaladAnd here is the first CSA salad of the year! In our favorite antique turned wooden bowl. Nothing better. Are you in a CSA? What is the best thing you’ve received in your weekly haul??

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