Monday, June 15, 2015

My CSA Produce Box

Some of my friends keep asking me what on earth this is...

New to my rural area, a local farmer decided to furnish this service.  I knew what it was and JUMPED at the opportunity..

In a nutshell.... you pay a certain fee and you get random produce weekly.  It's local.... fresher... somewhat organic.... in season...   BETTER!    In more urban areas, you can purchase by the week and sometimes even have it delivered to your door.  In my case, I paid for several months up front and the farmer is just down the road.  If we can get more people on board, maybe we can do it differently - but I am THRILLED.

For me, it works out to $24/week and includes eggs....  I am never quite sure what will be in my box but it definitely is forcing me to learn to prepare and to eat a lot more produce!

Before I share this week's box, I want to note that for the last month I have gotten bags and bags of lettuce!  3-4 bags per week and salads have been the mainstay of our diet!

This is my box for this week:
I do have to say - straight off that this is the first week it hasn't been overflowing - but that is due to the huge quantities of lettuce, beets and radishes we've been getting!

First I pulled out the LAST of the lettuce for the season.... 2 large ziplock bags... trimmed and a first wash.  It is getting too hot for lettuce to be really good now - but I still have 3 heads in the fridge downstairs so I imagine we still have salads for another week or so....
     AND the FIRST of the cucumbers.... and those are already of a number I will have to preserve!  We will probably be able to eat half of those this week.. but I am thinking I need to find some of my cucumber pickle recipes from last year...

Carrots!  I got a few last week so now I have about 20... again, some for eating and a new recipe for dill pickled carrots to try.  We like them raw - or, when cooked, as an addition to the dish, not as the main item.  Cooked carrots by themselves don't have much appeal here.. though we do enjoy them tossed in with other veggies.. roasted or sauteed.. or raw.

The last of the beets... babies... trimmed of greens because the bugs are busy with them now.  I did discover this year that cooked beets are not a fave.  I do have some roasted in the fridge and they are okay - but not something I crave.....  BUT I do enjoy them pickled.. and have put up 2 types already and have a dill beets recipe waiting for these guys.

AND... Kimchi....  this is my third jar of it.  I am working with jar # 1 trying to figure out how I will use it.  The hubs is not particularly adventurous with his food so I am on my own with it for now.  I love the spice of it but am not 100% how to use it.  Cold - well, it's spicy wet cabbage - perhaps an acquired taste?

AND... the last photo :-)

Beautiful scallions..... I use these a lot chopped in eggs and stir-fries and salads...  They also freeze well for later use.

Pretty little eggplants that I have no clue what to do with... well, that is not exactly true.. but I have had it exactly 3 times.... once as eggplant parmegiana [which I hated].... once in ratatouille [which I loathed].. and once thinly sliced and deep fried [which I liked but I am afraid I am definitely a devotee of deep fried crunchy coatings - so I think it had little to do with the eggplant itself].   I have been advised to try a stir fry...

Fresh local eggs..... yay!!   And a bag of fresh dill for my canning adventures [beets and carrots] suggested above.

DEF more than the $24 cost to me.

The only real concerns for me at the moment are the Kimchi and eggplant.  I will probably hunt for a local person to barter with because I am not fairly sure I will end up wasting those... and that is not something I want to do!

But there you have it... my produce box....

  the DOWNside:
           1.  Pay up front
           2.  You never know what you will get
           3.  You have to figure out how to use it
           4.  Sometimes you get something you don't like.

  the UPside:
           1.  Paying up front means it is free now :-)
           2.  It is local - FRESH from the field... we are eating better food!
           3.  You never know what you will get... SURPRISE every week! (but since I typically shop sales, I face the same thing at the grocery store)
           4.  You have to figure out how to use it.... I do love learning and trying new things!
           5.  I can work with my supplier to voice my opinion on what I don't care for... OR I can canvas my neighbors for a barter....  I bet somebody will share other garden produce for my canning adventures... or chocolate for my husband.. or .. who knows?  

I'm in!  And loving having this available to me and my family!

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