Friday, May 17, 2013

First CSA basket of the Season!

This is my third year of begin part of a CSA***. I changed farms this year and was very excited for our first pick up this year. This week the basket contained: a head of Cherokee Red lettuce, a head of Jericho Lettuce, a head of bok choy, strawberries, lemon balm, onions, maple syrup, along with a letter from the farmer. I sampled a little bit of everything except the lemon balm. I could not be happier the the appearance or the taste of the items in my basket.

I love to make stir fry and I know that is where the bok choy and some of the onions will be used. Most of the time when I make a stir fry I leave them vegetarian and serve with some rice and maybe some hot and sour soup. I think they make a great dinner choice towards the end of the week when I have a hodge podge of leftovers in the fridge. Here is the recipe for my basic stir fry:

Stir Fry

1-2 cups of chopped bok choy or chinese cabbage
1 cup small broccoli florets
1/2 cup onions
1 small zucchini, cubed
1 small squash, cubed
1/2 cup sliced carrots
1 tablespoon of olive oil

Heat oil in a large pan, and then add onions. Cook the onions for just a couple of minutes and then add the rest of the vegetables and cook until vegetables are tender crisp. 

Really you can add almost anything else to the pot that you like. Depending on that I have on hand, I like to add peas, some water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, mushrooms, some chicken or pork, or anything else that sounds good that night. 

***If you aren't familiar with a CSA: A CSA (consumer supported agriculture) works when a farmer offers a number of "shares" of his produce. The shares range from 1/2 a bushel to a full bushel  of various items. The customer pays a portion or the full amount prior to the season starting to help offset the costs of seeds, greenhouse supplies, repairs to equipment and other farm related expenses in exchange for a weekly share of the farmers produce. The farmer has money upfront to offset his planting costs and knows that he has a market for that amount of produce. The produce that is in each weeks basket changes to reflect what is in season at that time and tend to be pretty generous. Often there will also be additional items that can be purchased at the CSA pickup site such as eggs. Both of the CSAs have provided newsletters, emails or have a Facebook group where they will also share recipes, which is great when you have something in your basket that you aren't that familiar with. Like lemon balm! Lemon balm added to a simple syrup makes an awesome sweetener for iced tea.

In my experience I have found the CSA to be a positive thing. I think my food dollars go a little bit further, especially since I try to buy organic produce. I love the variety of food that I get. I know its fresh since it is picked the morning of the day that I get it, it is local and I am eating what is in season. The flavor of the foods cannot be beat. Even now that I am growing some of my own food, I appreciate the having access to things that I do not grow.

After two years with one farm, I did decide to make a change this year for many reasons. It wasn't a decision I made lightly but I think I made a good choice for our food dollars. One of the reasons I wanted to switch was that this one includes some fruit in their baskets. The pickup is also more convenient for me. There were other reasons too, and I think I will be very happy with this CSA.

1 comment:

  1. Bamboo shoots, boc choy and water chestnuts make the world an even better place.What an awesome CSA that includes boc choy!Enjoy your loot! Have a great weekend!



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