Wednesdays are exciting here at our now BLUE house, that is getting painted from previously being known as The Brown House. On this day, our sidewalk turns into a pick up place for eight families to get their CSA (community supported agriculture) produce from Farmer Megan, of Care of the Earth Community Farm.
This is the third year my house is a delivery point for other CSA members. The perk for me is that I get delicious, crisp, fresh picked veggies (and sometimes fruits) delivered to my front porch. All the members enjoy a sense of community picking up together, and talking about what we have been cooking with our goods.
Farmer Megan days and the friends it brings to our front lawn, is a definite hit with my kids as well. It’s part of the enjoyment of the food process that I’m try to teach my children, as they learn where their food comes from and the importance of eating real, unprocessed food.
Wednesday was the first day of the new season. We get a full share plus two dozen organic fresh farm eggs a week. Sometimes it can be challenging to eat all that in one week, depending on the time of the season. At the start of the season the offerings are less. It increases as the hotter months come and more crops are ready to be harvested. Relying on what is fresh, and not being 100 percent sure of what groceries you’ll be cooking with from week to week, is part of the challenge I like about a CSA.
Farmer Megan offers loads and loads of resources, recipes and even a blog just for members featuring helpful ideas and food inspiration. Over the years, this young farmer has become a friend of mine. So she doesn’t mind me passing along some of her resourcefulness here.
Really, she fascinates me. She went to our town’s most prestigious private school, then college in New York to study public heath. She got a degree, went to work on a farm and decided to be a farmer. Now her and her husband do all the work at their farm and feed 100 CSA families – just the two of them and their one vintage tractor. They are an organic farm, doing things by hand, all the way down to squashing the bugs off the cabbage leaves with own four thumbs.
This is what we got in our box on week 1, as written on the board she displays at her weekly deliverers.
This is how we eat it
Spinach :: I made a Cream of Spinach soup that my children actually loved. I’ve made it before. But the key this time was to use heavy whipping cream and 1/2 and 1/2, divided equally, instead of whole milk. And when I pureed the soup with my immersion blender, I did so just barely, leaving bits and pieces of spinach still intact which made it appear more like soup and less like green baby food. My seven-year-old is a very picky eater. She loved it and beamed with glee, proudly declaring, “I’m not picky anymore!” Then she asked me to make it again the next day. Ah, success that makes mom smile – really BIG.
Cream of Spinach Soup
- Lightly sauté 1 small chopped onion in olive oil. Add 1 pound fresh spinach with stems removed and 3 cups of stock (I use vegetable stock). Cook until spinach is soft.
- Either transfer to a blender or use an immersion blender to puree.
- Add 1 cup of heavy whipping cream and 1/2 and 1/2, divided equally.
- Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper and serve hot.
With our spinach, we also love making quiche, scrambled eggs with feta cheese, adding it to pizza sauce or simply tossing it in a salad. I even put it in blueberry smoothies for the kids!
Kale :: I mostly just sauté it in butter, with some garlic. It’s a nice easy warm salad on chili spring evenings. For a fancier version with an actual list of ingredients, I’m wanting to try this Garlicky Kale Recipe over at Broccoli Cupcake. Soon I’m going to try making these Kale Chips featured on The Family Kitchen at Babble. I’m hoping to get some likes from the kids. Wish me luck!
Chard :: I made a Lentil Chard Soup that I loved. My toddler liked the broth and the beans. My husband liked it okay (he’s not the biggest fan of beans). But I liked it enough that I would make it again just for myself. I made it on the fly, with leftover soaked lentil beans I used to make bean burgers, and broth from the spinach soup. You can toss chard in just about anything, just like you would spinach.
Lentil Chard Soup
- Sauté 1-2 cups of finely chopped onions and sliced mushrooms, adding 2 cups of chopped, stemless chard. When done, onions should be clear and chard slightly limp.
- Add 1 cup of vegetable broth and 1/2 cup of water. You can adjust the ratios depending what you have on hand, and how much liquid you want in the soup.
- Add 1-2 cups of pre-soaked lentils.
- Season with cumin, salt, and pepper while the soup comes to a low boil. Reduce to a simmer until ready to eat.
Lettuce :: Salads, salads and more salads. I love salad. But a good salad. Lately I’ve been on a kick of having salad served with boiled eggs, avocado, pine nuts and a homemade white wine vinaigrette. YUM! My two younger girls will eat plain lettuce as a side at dinner.
Carrots:: My kids nearly ate these carrots whole before they made it into the refrigerator, or even got washed! They eat carrots for snacks, in their lunch and as appetizers for hungry bellies while dinner is getting made at home. It’s their favorite vegetable.
This is how we store it
With good food like this delivered to my door, I don’t want to waste it or let it spoil before we can eat it up. So I follow the advise of Farmer Megan. Because you know, those farmers, they REALLY know. She has a whole big list sorted by vegetable and the best way to store it. But for now I’m going to list a few of the spring crops, borrowing her advise. And did you know – the storage of the same crop can vary based on when it is being harvested (cool and wet versus hot and dry)? I’m telling, those farmers know A LOT.
A good rule of thumb for storing greens and spring veggies is to seal them in a plastic bag or air tight container in the fridge. Refrigerators are designed to store meat and cheese at lower temperatures than vegetables prefer. So providing them with a little insulation helps their longevity.
It is best to wash vegetables and particularly herbs just before use, unless they have gotten hot or dried out. In which case, rehydrate first in cold water, spin, and bag.