Sisters Hill Farm 2018 CSA: Week 4

What we received in our share this week:

  • Spinach, lettuce, scallions, and cucumber – Lunch salads! You’ll probably read that all summer long.
  • Bibb lettuce – We didn’t chop this for salads. We’re keeping it whole and using the leaves for taco wrappers.
  • Basil – I used this tonight in round two of the Vietnamese pork and cold rice noodles dish. I made enough for two meals and needed another set of fresh herbs to chop up and throw in there.
  • Bok Choi – I’m going to stir fry it with quinoa and chicken.
  • Turnips and kohlrabi – Earlier this week I pickled turnips and kohlrabi. It turned out great. This week I’ll chop them up into roughly finger-sized sticks and roast them with olive oil and minced garlic.
  • Garlic Scapes – I’ll chop up some of the garlic scapes and use them in salads. The rest we’ll throw in a frittata with spinach and sausage on Saturday for breakfast.

How we prep greens for salad

Here’s what we do every Tuesday night to make our week easier:

  1. Wash all of the greens in a bowl in the sink, a batch at a time. If it is a head of lettuce, we separate the leaves from the head.
  2. Chop the big greens, leave the small ones like spinach and arugula alone.
  3. Spin the greens dry in a small salad spinner we picked up a few years ago.
  4. Store the greens in gallon-sized ziplock bags that we leave unzipped. We put these bags in the drawers at the bottom of our fridge.

Everything usually keeps for about a week, but we prioritize eating the chopped greens first, since they wilt faster. Prepping the greens ahead of time makes putting together lunch salads a breeze.

See you next week!

What I Did With My CSA Shares: Weeks 15-20

I’ve been a slacker and let six weeks of CSA posts stack up. For most of that time I was traveling either during the week, on the weekend, or both, so I just snapped photos and resolved to post about it later. After driving up to the Peace and Carrots Farm (our CSA provider) today for their Harvest Fest, I decided that I shouldn’t wait any longer.

Week 15

We used all of this except the potatoes in a giant salad that we took with us on road trip up to Maine. We tossed in some grilled chicken and were on our way! When we came home a week later, we used the potatoes in a breakfast skillet.

Week 16

We missed week 16 because we were up in Maine on vacation. I’m sure the veggies were gorgeous as always!

Week 17

The day we got this share we had to drive to Ohio for a birthday party, so we took one of the Long Island Cheese Pumpkins, the shishitos, and the jalapeños to my parents.

The rest:

  • Celeriac – I peeled it, chopped it, and put it in a veggie soup a few weeks later.
  • Garlic – We put it in the pantry with our large garlic store for winter!
  • Bell peppers đŸŒ¶- We put these in a veggie soup and cut up some for a breakfast skillet a few weeks later.
  • Broccoli đŸ„Š – We tossed the florets with olive oil and roasted them at 400F for 15 minutes, then seasoned with salt, pepper, and pecorino cheese afterward.
  • Radishes – We sliced these up and put them on chorizo potato tacos 🌼.
  • Long Island Cheese Pumpkin – We intended to roast this and save it for pies, scones, and bread, but it started to rot before we could get to it 😔

Week 18

The day we got this share we drove to Virginia for a wedding, so this stuff was promptly put in the fridge for use the following week.

  • Tatsoi – I chopped this up and added it to a veggie soup the following week.
  • Delicata Squash – Roasted and topped with brown butter and fried sage.
  • Brussels Sprouts – I roasted them at 400F for 20 minutes with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  • Peas – I chopped these up and added them to a big pot of veggie soup.
  • Spinach – We froze this to use later this year with creamed spinach or chickpea, spinach, and ginger stew.
  • Carrots – Chopped up and put in the veggie soup.
  • Garlic – We put it in the pantry with the rest to use this winter

Week 19

  • Cabbage – Chopped up and put in a large veggie soup.
  • Fennel – Chopped in half and simmered in the veggie soup broth before all the veggies were added. It is also pretty good braised in chicken broth and eaten as a side, or shaved and put in a salad.
  • Garlic – Saved in the pantry.
  • Hot Peppers đŸŒ¶ – Chopped up in tacos and breakfast skillets.
  • Spinach – We froze this to use later this year with creamed spinach or chickpea, spinach, and ginger stew.
  • Celeriac – We saved this and it will most likely get chopped up for a soup.
  • Yellow sweet peppers – We added three of these in a breakfast skillet and will probably freeze the other one with some other leftover peppers.
  • Brussels Sprouts – We are going to roast these in a little olive oil for 20 minutes at 400F and season with salt and pepper.
  • Kale – We have a bunch of greens, so we’ll probably make a big batch of greens sautĂ©ed with garlic and bacon.

Week 20

  • Delicata Squash – Roasted and topped with brown butter and fried sage. Or roasted and purĂ©ed into a vegetable mash.
  • Jerusalem Artichokes – These are tricky. I’ve only had them once before and I didn’t like how I prepared them (as part of a veggie mash). I talked to the farmer today and she prefers to roast them whole, so that is what I’ll probably try this time.
  • Turnips – I like them roasted and I like them diced up in veggie soup. I’ll probably do half and half.
  • Radishes – We are making flank steak tomorrow, so I might slice these and add them to a guacamole or I might make some radish slaw.
  • Turnip Greens – See below.
  • Lacinato Kale – I’ll probably take a bunch of greens I have in the fridge and saute them with garlic and bacon. Maybe some peppers, too. Though I could take this kale and make a quick breakfast with it.
  • Jalapeños – I’ll probably add this to some guacamole and add them to other dishes to give some heat.
  • Spinach – I’ll probably make creamed spinach later this week.
  • Sweet Peppers – We’ll use some of these in a breakfast skillet, but then we’ll chop up the rest and freeze them for this winter.
  • Celeriac – We already have one of these in the fridge right now, so I’ll probably peel this one, dice it up, and freeze it for soup.

Why You Should Join a CSA

What is a CSA?

A CSA, Community Shared Agriculture, is a system where people pay a farm in advance at the beginning of the growing season for a share of the season’s produce. Fresh produce is delivered (or picked up) once a week for the season, which usually lasts 20-22 weeks.

What are the benefits?

Healthy Eating

You never know what you are going to get. Every week is a surprise! You can, however, always count on it being fresh and high quality. CSAs allow you to make a one-time choice that enables healthy eating for the following 22 weeks. Having a wide variety of fresh vegetables on hand each week without having to make the conscious choice every time of what to buy makes cooking healthy meals easier. We definitely eat healthier during CSA season!

A Chance to Be Creative

We hate wasting food, so we always get creative and use as much as we possibly can every week. I ramp up my canning, preserving, freezing, and broth-making during CSA season so we can enjoy the abundance of great flavors during the winter, too.

Eating New Things

A CSA will expand your food horizons. How often would you choose to buy sunchokes, kohlrabi, rutabagas, tatsoi, or patty pan squash at your local store? How often do you even see those things on the shelves? Local farmers often grow heirloom varietals that are tastier and more exciting than what gets shipped in to grocery stores. Did you even know there were dozens of kinds of garlic? Have you ever tasted a green tiger tomato?

Getting Closer to your Food’s Source

This will be the fifth year that Amanda and I have participated in a CSA. For the last two years we’ve been part of one from the Peace and Carrots Farm. Farmer Laura Nywening delivers to the Yonkers Farmers’ Market on Friday afternoons. Almost everything is picked on the same day it is delivered!

Laura stayed around the market after her delivery a few times and it was fun picking her brain about the farm. She taught me all about hardneck vs softneck garlic, the Rocambole varietal she grows (which is excellent), and we talked about saving seeds. She is passionate about growing the tastiest, healthiest produce and using sustainable farming practices. We love knowing where our vegetables come from, who planted them, and who picked them. We even get to follow the farm’s progress on Instagram!

What do you get? What does it cost?

In 2016 I decided to keep track of everything we received during the season. I looked up what each of these items would cost if delivered from Peapod, a local delivery service. I picked the price for organic items when I could find them and searched other sites when there were items Peapod doesn’t sell.

We paid $495 at the beginning of the season (which breaks down to $22.50 per week). According to my unscientific analysis, the awesome stuff we received from Peace and Carrots Farm would have cost us around $612 from Peapod. An extra $117 worth of organic produce is nothing to sneeze at!

Here is my data. I’m sure it is slightly off because I collected it by hand in an unstructured way, but it is in the ballpark. I recorded some week late from memory and we missed two weeks because we were traveling, so I estimated by copying either the previous or following weeks.

Here is (roughly) what we received over the 2016 season:

Item Quantity
Acorn Squash 2
Arugula (bag) 5
Beets (bunch) 4
Bok Choy 5
Broccoli 2
Broccoli Rabe 2
Butter lettuce 2
Butternut Squash 1
Cabbage 3
Carrots (bunch) 5
Celery (bunch) 2
Chard (bunch) 3
Collards (bunch) 1
Cucumbers 21
Delicata Squash 4
Eggplant 5
Fennel bulb 1
Flowering Sage 1
Garlic (head) 2
Garlic Scapes (bunch of 3) 2
Grape tomatoes (pint) 10
Green beans (bag) 2
Green Leaf Lettuce 9
Green peppers 34
Green tiger tomatoes 16
Heirloom tomatos 8
Hot peppers 56
Kale Bunches 10
Lavender (bunch) 2
Long Island Cheese Pumpkin 3
Mint (bunch) 1
Muir Lettuce 3
Onions 22
Oregano (bunch) 2
Patty Pan Squash 2
Pie Pumpkin 1
Poblano Peppers 14
Potatoes (bag) 6
Radish bunches 6
Red Leaf Lettuce 7
Rutabaga 4
Sage 1
Scallion bunches 6
Spaghetti Squash 1
Spinach (bag) 1
Sugar Snap Peas (bag) 3
Sunchokes 1
Tatsoi (bunch) 2
Thyme (bunch) 1
Tomatoes 31
Turnips (bunch) 4
Zucchini 47

 

Here are photos of 8 of the 22 shares. Peace and Carrots farm always sends a great variety! I grabbed these photos of of their Instagram because I forgot to take my own. Some data collector I am! (Also, corn must have been one of the weeks I was out of town because it isn’t in my sheet. Bummer.)

 

Find a CSA Near You

You need to sign up before the growing season starts, so you have about a little over a month left.

If you are near Chester or West Point, NY, sign up for the Peace and Carrots Farm CSA.

If you are near Yonkers, NY, sign up for the Peace and Carrots Farm CSA through Groundwork Hudson Valley.

There are CSAs all around the US, so find one near you through LocalHarvest.org!

If you do join one, spend some time getting to know the farmer and learning about what you eat. You will appreciate your meals on a deeper level.