Wednesday, June 19, 2013

CSA: The First (Very Exciting) Pickup

After much excitement and anticipation, it was finally time for my very first CSA pickup at Greensgrow Farms.


In case you missed it, catch up on what the heck a "CSA" is, why I'm doing it, all the gory details, and the like here.

I pick up on Thursdays so Wednesday evening, I received a CSA e-newsletter detailing what's in the share, descriptions of the farms, and recipes. I was very excited to see strawberries and asparagus included on the list. Both are things that are so wonderful to have, especially when they are just-delivered fresh! I spent my lunch break the next day looking for new recipes and inspiration. Is this adulthood? Counting down the remaining minutes until I can pick up local produce? Maybe. More likely, I'm just weird.
Then I didn't get out of work on time, and traffic was more of a nightmare than usual so I was running short on time. I had a lovely idyllic plan of getting home from work at a reasonable time, grabbing the reusable Greensgrow bag they handed out during the launch party (the creme de la creme of reusable shopping totes, I must say), changing to sneakers and jeans, and taking a nice leisurely stroll over to pick up my bounty. Hah! Instead, I drove right over there from work, dug some plastic grocery bags out of my trunk, and raced up to the stand in my heels and pencil skirt.

Luscious red beets trying to steal the show from the leeks
 
Holy motherlode of vegetables Batman! The three plastic bags I had haphazardly grabbed were really not sufficient, but I can't really complain. The fruits and vegetables were all out in crates, with chalkboard signs indicating the quantity per share. In addition to your produce, you get your choice of protein. My options were yogurt, seitan, tofu, Amish butter, or cage-free eggs--all from the tri-state area!

Local eggs yeehaw!

I opted for the eggs. Eggs are a pretty big staple for me, done all ways. Nothing can perk something up like topping it with a fried egg. An egg is a great way to add some quick protein to a meal (and make you feel slightly better about your carb-binge or at least slightly more balanced). Plus, you can imagine happy chickens, not a warehouse coop more massive than than Costco. You will sleep better.

Tried to provide some scale on how massive the head of romaine was though my hand just looks weird and awkward.

After I subjected my cornucopia to a photo shoot, I got to work prepping. I find it easiest to do whatever prep can be done ahead of time, all at once. Make one big mess and have food ready to use whenever the mood strikes. Many a time has the thought of washing, drying, and shredding lettuce kept me from having a salad. I rinsed, sliced, and diced. I got water all over the floor and the cat.

Here's what I got:

 
And here's what I ended up making over the next week or so:
 
  • Strawberries: lots of snacking and Greek yogurt parfaits with homemade granola
  • Eggs: breakfasts and poached eggs topping, well, just about everything
  • Kale: greens soup, raw asparagus pesto (roughly based off this recipe)
  • Asparagus: raw asparagus pesto, shaved asparagus salad
  • Rhubarb: rhubarb syrup and rhubarb compote
  • Apple mint: fresh mint tea and cucumber lime mint agua fresca
  • Spinach: homemade pizza, raw asparagus pesto, salads, and greens soup
  • Beets: roasted beets
  • Leeks: greens soup and potato leek soup
  • Romaine: salads, salads, and more salads!

I forgot how dense and juicy a good strawberry can be. The commercial guys in the grocery store usually have that empty center and are, let's face it, a lot of sizzle and no bacon. The strawberries from the CSA were all strawberry, all sweetness, all deliciousness. I didn't need to sugar them or anything.

I didn't realize how different and more wonderful asparagus could be when it was that fresh. My mint tea was a great improvement over that I usually made with dried mint. (In case you were curious, the apple mint had an apple-y scent but a traditional mint flavor.) I cooked with rhubarb for the first time. Rhubarb makes a great syrup for cocktails! Also, it's a lovely color. I was having a connection and deep enjoyment with my food. Trying new things, coming up with new recipes, engaging the local economy, and pumping my body full of vitamin and nutrients. This is going to be a good summer.

I'll be sharing some of the recipes--stay tuned!

Note: Once again, no sponsorship or compensation--just an excited appreciation!



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