Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Last CSA Day

Yesterday was the last CSA pickup of the season, and it was quite a box. This is the end of the summer growing season, the weekly boxes of awesomeness, and an end to reverse meal planning. It's fun to pick up a box of vegetables and figure out what to do with them, instead of planning recipes and going out to find the ingredients.

Cauliflower, onions, mizuna, tiny bok choy, leek, cabbage, red lettuce, tatsoi, scallions, romaine, cilantro, bell peppers, collards, radicchio, and broccoli.

The box reflects a seasonal return to lettuces, and has enough for a week of gorgeous salads. I have a pile of squash, white potatoes, and yams from recent weeks as well but they'll be gone in a few weeks. I froze a bag or two of blanched greens when I couldn't use all of them, but everything else was used in our weekly meals. 

This was the first year we were members of the Lancaster Farm Fresh Coop and I'm quite happy we made the change from our old CSA. While I do miss the experience of going to the farm and wandering through the barn and gardens, the variety available from a coop is attractive. This list, while long, isn't complete (edamame, for one) and doesn't indicate the variety of items included. For example, "herbs" makes one think of basil and not sorrel (delicious).  We liked knowing which farms our food came from, and which items were certified organic or grown with sustainable/IPM methods. 

For those of you thinking about joining, this is a wholehearted recommendation. There is much more to the organization, including a buying club, fruit shares, flower shares, and a CSM (Community Sponsored Medicine) share. (We had a CSM share this summer and loved it. More on that another day.) Next year I plan to include both fruit and flower shares, since I peeked at them all summer and liked what I saw. If you are interested but don't see a location near you, contact them about becoming a site yourself. Our pickup location was arranged a few years ago by a woman who wanted to be able to participate, so she worked to get enough people committed to the coop and offered her garage as the site. 

This week's menu, from that last box? So far it's looking like this:

Broccoli soup with added greens
Pepper, onion, and bok choy, and mizuna saute
Millet mash (cauliflower and millet "mashed potatoes")
White beans and collards
A poached leek, somewhere
Dinner salads

I look forward to sharing next year's first pickup!

Other posts about cooking with this year's harvest from LFFC can be found here,  here, and here.


Liz Keuffer said...

I'm curious about the CSM. Is this alternative medicines? Just wondering.

Anna said...

Herbals, Liz. Without looking in the cabinet, individual fresh herbs for teas like chamomile, tulsi, mint, and nettles. Without making medical claims, information is included about traditional uses for that week's herbs. We also have a few jars of herbal blends, already dried.

Preparations included an awesome throat spray, chickweed salve, lip balm, echinacea tincture, and an oil for earaches. There is more, too.

The CSM was every other week instead of every week. I really liked it. I have some tulsi (holy basil) tea steeping right now, as a matter of fact.