Meatless Monday: CSA Edition

It’s Michael Pollan‘s fault I joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) farm.

I am sure I am not alone in declaring that.

Last summer I ended up on the waiting list of Kretschmann Organic Farm, and I started receiving winter boxes, which were chock full of winter veggie and fruit goodness (apples, squash, potatoes, carrots).

I’ve started receiving their summer season boxes this summer. And I love them.

As Dan stated the other day at dinner, “This is how salad is supposed to taste.” Flora, likewise, has declared salads made with their greens, “the best salad I’ve ever tasted.”

This pleases me to no end, for obvious reasons. We’ve gotten mesclun greens, bibb lettuce, arugula, and green leaf lettuce, as well as spinach. So, so good.

The trickiest thing about receiving so much tasty, fresh, organic produce and herbs is, simply, using it all.

I’ve twice had to ditch the Swiss chard because it wilted before I could saute it with garlic. I wanted to make pesto with the sweet pea greens I got the first week, but they wilted before I got to them too.

Much of this, of course, is not having tons of time to cook throughout the week, or for that matter, the weekend. I’ve started making it more of a priority, though, because it’s too depressing to lose these fresh greens. We chow down on salads pretty steadily Thursday through Monday (Thursday is the day I pick up my box), which means eating more at home, which in itself is a relief.

I was hoping to have some new recipes, too, but really, you all know how to make a salad.

I’ve also been getting beets, and here’s what you can do with beets (to my knowledge): roast ’em or boil ’em. We had boiled beets this past weekend (the kids won’t try them yet), and they were so good and sweet. Neither Dan nor I even put anything on them, no butter, no salt, no pepper. And they are super easy: cut off the greens, leaving about 2 inches of the tops; boil for about 40 minutes; cool and peel.

Heavenly.

We’ve been getting strawberries, too, and all you need to know about strawberries is they don’t last a day in my house. Between the four of us, we pretty much devour them instantly. I barely get them washed before the kids are eating them — straight, no sugar.

I’d love to get some and have them last long enough to make muffins, but so far, I haven’t managed to hide them fast enough.

I’ll try harder with the blueberries, due to start showing up this week.

If you shop at farmer’s markets, but haven’t tried a CSA yet, I encourage you to sign up for one. Kretschmann’s is just one of many, many options in the Pittsburgh market. Along with the weekly boxes, they email weekly newsletters about what is going on on the farm and with recipes. Someday, maybe this fall, I’m hoping to contact them and take the girls to see where our food comes from.

I not going to get up on any type of locavore, organic foods soapbox here — there are plenty of activists and authors out there who have intelligent, interesting things to say (Michael Pollan being right up there). I’ll just leave you with the first line from Pollan’s book In Defense of Food, which is pretty much all you need to know:

“Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

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4 thoughts on “Meatless Monday: CSA Edition

  1. When my greens are getting wilty I either put them in a green smoothie or make veggie stock and freeze it for later use. Glad that you are enjoying your CSA. My inspiration was author, Gary Nabhan who wrote Coming Home to Eat in 2001 (or so).

  2. A helpful hints for greens storage…

    For Salad greens, herbs and spinach dont store them in a plastic sealed bag, cover them (or roll them up in) with a damp paper towel and put in a bag or container that is unlidded. Refresh the damp towel as necessary.

    For Swiss Chard and greens like that wrap them in damp paper towels and store in the crisper with no bags or anything at all. Refresh the towels as necessary.

    Another thing to try is to shock them in cold or ice water if they start to get all wilty. With certain greens this shocks the crisp back into them. Another tip is to not wash until you are ready to use. Water & plastic are the 2 biggest enemies of fresh greens and make them loose days of shelf life.

    Fresh herbs are also very easily dried if you cant use them fresh then you dont waste them AND have slammin herbs for winter cooking!

    And my fave beet – oven roast or wrap in foil on the grill and roast until tender, cook & peels and then julienne and toss with sesame oil, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar & toasted sesame seeds….ooooh so good.

    Happy cooking!! This is my most favoritest time of year with all the fresh veggies!!!

    • Good tips, all, and I usually do wrap my greens in paper towels. It’s when I forget that, yep, they wilt!

      I am drying a ton of herbs. I will never want for rosemary this winter!

      And I have to try that beet recipe — sounds excellent. Thanks!

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