Joining a CSA- Adventures in Produce
by Courtney C Horne @FireezDragon
Recently we joined the Luckett Farms Community Supported Agriculture (or CSA) program- essentially you pay to get a box of food from a farm each week and you get whatever they are producing. It was a bit of a leap of faith.
There wasn’t really a way to view a bunch of the past boxes, read reviews, etc- like I would if I was considering a monthly subscription box. And plus there is a 5 month commitment.
Well I am very glad we took that leap!
Every Sunday for the past three weeks (and for the next 17 to come), we go to a park and pick up a box of produce. We are getting the small family size and paying monthly so each box is costing us $25. There are different box sizes available and an option to pay the whole season to get a discount as well.
The boxes are really helping us accomplish our goal of both eating out less and also eating healthier with an emphasis on more veggies!
Week one brought:
Cucumbers (5.5 lbs of them!), Squash, Zucchini, Okra, Potatoes, and Onions. We made stew with potatoes, pickled the majority of the cucumbers, used the okra to make an African smothered okra dish, and tried to make squash pancakes (which sadly didn’t hold together). The onions got used in a variety of ways throughout the dishes.
Week two came with:
More cucumbers, squash, zucchini, and okra. Plus the addition of salad greens, radishes, bell peppers and stone ground grits.
As a huge grit fan I was overjoyed to get this giant bag of stone ground goodness which got served with shrimp and we have a ton left to cook. Some of the cucumbers, squash and zucchini got pickled into a pickle that mixed dill with the turmeric and mustard seed commonly found in bread and butter pickles. Additional cucumber formed a salad with the radishes and mixed greens. Some of the bell pepper found its way into the salad as well and more of it was smothered with the okra along with some tomatoes. The last of the bell pepper- along with the rest of the squash and zucchini- found their ways into a delicious baked egg dish.
More cucumbers, okra, squash, zucchini, salad greens and a return performance from the potatoes from week one. New this week was a bag of corn meal (stone ground) and a bunch of mustard greens.
The cucumbers have already found their way into a gazpacho (all but one I saved for salad making). And half the squash and zucchini has became a meat free pasta dish with some noodles, red sauce, mushrooms, and black olives.
The okra will be getting turned into okra rellenos and the rest of the squash and zucchini into taco fillings. The potatoes will be mashed and the mustard greens smothered into sides for some pork chops.
Oh and the salad greens are being used for occasional side salads throughout the week.
The first three weeks of my CSA have been a huge success and I am really enjoying it. The third week I even had- and used- the opportunity to purchase some raw peanuts from the farm as well. (They weren’t putting peanuts in boxes due to allergy concerns)
I think this is the most effective way I have found for me to change the way I am eating to shun restaurant food in favor of home cooked meals with an emphasis on fresh, healthy, local ingredients. The farmers market is great but so easy to skip- this commitment is a huge motivator for better eating.