Thursday, September 29, 2011

It's Not Easy Eating Leafy Greens (CSA Adventures 2011: Weeks 3-9)

Salad !

So.  The first 9 weeks of this year's CSA season were a bit...leafy. And I totally fell apart, as far as blogging about the season is concerned.  I had a new baby; I should have known this would happen.

About the leaves: I don't want to seem whiny in this post because I really value CSAs as a service in communities.  This year, I joined a new CSA program in my neighborhood. It's run well, full of lovely people, and shares were sold for a great price. I also know that different farms produce different kinds of produce, and that each growing season is different from the last.  I also know that the beginning of a farm's spring growing season often produces many greens.  And I remember when I helped run a CSA (now closed) and got a little tired of people complaining about getting too much kale. All this said, my shares this year have felt quite heavy on the greens.  Though I could have used some more kale.

Don't get me wrong.  I like leaves, and leafy greens, and they're good for me. Dan makes a kick-ass giant salad, so they almost never go to waste.  Still, as the weeks went by, I kept expecting them to diminish, in favor of more hearty vegetables that I could use to make exciting recipes.  Other vegetables did come, but in small number.  Each week's share was only four or five different kinds of produce, instead of seven or eight.  And there have been more "side" items like scallions and radishes, which can be hard flavors to build a dish around, rather than heartier elements like squash or tomatoes.

I could have signed up for a full share, instead of a half share, when I joined the CSA. But the variety of items would not have increased -- just the amount of each item, which would have meant even more greens. I did sign up for the second half of the season, another 12 weeks, because I figured that as autumn begins we'll be shedding some leaves.  Perhaps I'll even end up with an eggplant or two?!  A girl can dream.

If you're keeping track, like I am, to compare to other CSAs and other growing seasons, here's what we've gotten.  I won't make you suffer through a thousand photos of salad, but you can guess that's usually what we were eating with these ingredients.

Week three

Week 03
1/2 pound of Spinach (leaves)
1 head of Lettuce (leaves)
1 bunch of Scallions
1 bunch of Quelite (leaves)
2 Tomatoes ("tomatoes are not in season yet, but we are able to offer them to you through McEnroe Organic Farm's greenhouse.") = Yay!

The tomatoes were beautiful and delicious.  We sliced them, sprinkled them with salt and pepper, and ate them immediately.

Week 04 Produce
1/2 pound of Spinach (leaves)
1/2 pound of Verdolaga (purslane) (leaves)
1 bunch of Kale (leaves)
1 bunch of mint or tarragon (leaves)
1 bunch of Scallions

This week, the purslane, which I quite like, was gone by the time we picked up our share, so we went home with a cabbage instead. Cabbage is my least favorite CSA vegetable ever, but that's no one's fault.

Week 5

Week 05 Produce
1 Bunch of Kale (leaves)
1 Bunch of Red Amaranth (leaves)
1 Bunch of Radishes
1 Bunch of Basil or Oregano (leaves)
1/2 pound of Heirloom Lettuce (leaves)

The lettuce this week was loose, rather than a head of lettuce, and incredibly bitter.  I wish I knew what sort of lettuce it was. I'd avoid it in the future.
Week 06 Produce
1 Bunch of Red Amaranth (leaves)
1 Bunch of Heirloom Radishes
1 Bunch of Scallions
1 Bunch of Beets
1 pound of mini Bok Choy

Hello, stir fry! I love bok choy. This was a great week for non-leaves.

Week 07

Week 07 Produce
1 Bunch of Red Amaranth (leaves)
1 Bunch of Basil (leaves)
1 Bunch of Beets
1 head of Cabbage (leaves)
1 pound of Summer Squash

Oops.  The beets withered and died before we could get to them.  Maybe beets are the new cabbage for me.  There's just so much stain-y prep with beets.

Week 08 Produce
2 Cucumbers
1 head of Cabbage (leaves)
1 pound of Summer Squash
1/2 pound of Quelites (leaves)

Week 09 Produce 
1 Bunch Beets
1 Cucumber
1 Bunch Scallions
1/2 pound Mustard Greens (leaves) 
1 pound Green Bell Peppers 

The leaves are definitely diminishing.  And cucumbers always make me happy, though we seldom do anything with them but eat them raw.

Do you belong to a CSA?  Have you eaten a lot of greens this spring and summer?

p.s. I seem to be missing a bunch of photos.  I'll add some later, once I've had time to check the other camera for strays...


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