I’m not sure what the weather has been like for you this year, but in my area, it’s just been nuts. It was a cold spring, and it’s been a roller coaster summer. And then let’s not even get into the rain….
It’s certainly been trying for some of the farmer’s around here. That goes for field crops and for the gardeners.
Which makes it all the more crazy that I decided this is the year I was ready to commit to a CSA. Am I really ready to eat all these vegetables and tag along while mother nature takes the producers on her wild ride?
I guess we’ll see.
The first big disappointment already came. The whole start of the CSA was delayed due to the weather! But finally, the first basket was picked up, and, as promised, I’m sharing how we managed it with you!
What We Got
|Bundle of Rhubarb|
|Rainbow of radishes|
|Small head of bok choy|
|Head of green lettuce|
|Bag of mixed greens|
|Couple of green onions|
I didn’t do any direct cost comparisons, as I wasn’t in any other markets this week to scope things out. I know with what I typically pay for greens, this would likely be at least $20. I actually have cilantro and some parsley in my “garden” (the only two things that grew from seed, lol!) so I wouldn’t have purchased them. But I’m not turning them away either.
What We Ate
The day after the pickup we hit the grill. We made pork chops that were drizzled in a lime cilantro vinaigrette….not a flavour I would normally pick for pork, but it felt nice and summery.
On the side, we made grilled garlic scapes. I was excited to try these as I’ve read so much about them, but never actually eaten one. The flavour was indeed amazing, but the texture wasn’t great. Not sure if we did something wrong, or if that is just how they are?
We also grilled up radishes. Yes, you CAN grill a radish. And OMG, you SHOULD grill a radish! Don’t make a face and tell me you don’t like radishes. Neither do we. But I suspected the cooking would mellow them out a bit, and I was right. It was perfect.
I did also eat a few radishes raw this week, even though they aren’t my favorite. They still tasted great, simply because they were so fresh, and such nice varieties. The Mandult agreed they were nothing like the radishes he was used to hating. It really does illustrate how different garden fresh produce is from what we’re used to seeing in stores.
The cilantro all went into guacamole. Now, in fairness, we did take some to a potluck, so I only ate maybe two avocados myself, not all seven (though not for lack of trying….)
I’d been itching to make an arugula pesto, and since I kept seeing garlic scape pesto pop up on pinterest…well, it just seemed natural to combine the two. I also added parsley to it, because, frankly, poor parsley was being largely ignored.
Finally, we came to the last item I’d never cooked with before. Bok Choy. I did at least know what it was, so Asian-inspired stir fries are what sprung to mind. However, I’m also trying to eat my way through my freezer, and was looking at stew beef, not stir fry strips. So, what to do, but take that flavor inspiration to the crock pot! The result was some tender, mouth watering beef with bok choy (oh, and that last scallion!)
What We Didn’t Eat
This week absolutely flew by! There was a bit of meal planning, but we really didn’t cook a ton, or eat as many salads as we would have liked.
Nonetheless, we ate up our greens. Except the leaf lettuce, which is still very fresh. There are also some scapes I haven’t decided the fate of, one radish, and some parsley. But none of the above are near spoiling either. Proper storage sure goes a long way!
The only item thwarting me is the rhubarb. I don’t get it. I like rhubarb. There are so many things you can do with it – that I would like to do. And yet I let it go to rubber. I’m not sure why. Maybe it’s because I’ve never actually bought rhubarb (or put any work into growing it!), so I don’t value it accordingly. Maybe I have too many ideas for it, so I never settle on one. I don’t know….but it’s not compost yet. Past its peak, sure — but I’m determined to tackle those red stalks!
Was It Enough?
While a big part of this CSA experiment is seeing if we can eat what they give us, another aspect of it is seeing if we make do with what they give us for produce.
Now, there are some things that will never grow local to me, and I will keep buying. I simply won’t go without lemons, limes, and avocados. (Hmm….is it time for a guac break?) Those aren’t the kinds of items I’m referring to in this section.
As for items that do grow here, but weren’t in our share….. We had onions and potatoes in the pantry, but will need to replace them before they come into season. We bought some mushrooms…they weren’t essential, but I wanted them for my skillet. That’s it though.
All in all, not too bad considering this is the light end of the season!
Week One is in the Books….
So far, so good.
I’ll admit, when I picked it up, it didn’t seem like a ton of stuff.
In reality, it was just the right amount to keep us focused on our veggies, but not overwhelmed.
I’m very happy that nothing went into the compost bin.
I had a lot of fun researching garlic scapes and bok choy.
Bring on Week 2!
Are you part of a CSA this year? What has been your most inspiring veggie?