Thursday, June 07, 2012

CSA - Week 1

When D mentioned that she joined a CSA farm share in NYC, we were so excited at the concept that I had to find a local one for us as well. CSA is Community Supported Agriculture, where a local farm grows and harvest fruits and veggies on behalf of the CSA members and the harvest is shared among the members. Some CSA memberships also need the members to work for a few hours in the farm. D's did not and ideally I was looking for the same. Browsing through all the options in NJ (and there are loads), I decided to go with Griggstown Farm. They seem to be supporting CSA for quite a while now, have a lot of members and a very interesting list of harvests. The membership lasts for about 20 weeks from June through October and offered as a full and half share. Of course, we picked the half share (which is also turning out to be a lot of food!). In addition to all the benefits that everyone talks about, CSA personally allows me to try out veggies that I otherwise would not, thus expanding my food horizon and forces me to cook innovatively so that A and I (and D) don't cringe at the dinner menu.

The first week offered a whole bulk load of green leafy vegetables - most of which had never set foot (figurative foot) in our house ever before. Arugula, Kale, Lettuce and Chards suddenly became the rulers of my refrigerator and I had to think very hard for ways to incorporate these veggies in our eating routine.

CSA haul - week 1

Arugula was easy - I made a salad with chopped arugula, thinly sliced apple, grape tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and some raspberry vinaigrette that was chilling in the fridge (see the pun here?)

Then came Kale - I tossed kale leaves in olive oil, salt and pepper and left them in a 250F oven for about 20 minutes for some crispy kale chips. They don't look it, but were quite tasty and the three of us ate the whole bowl of goodness (!!)

Kale chips 

I convinced A to throw in some Collard leaves and of course the cilantro, into his cabbage kootu, which was a big hit.

The broccoli, scallions and bok choy went into a veggie stir fry along with some mushrooms and paneer. I made the stir fry with lost of ginger, soy sauce and some hot sauce and paired it with fried rice.

The lettuce went into another salad with sliced pears, heirloom tomatoes, feta cheese and more raspberry vinaigrette.

And finally, I used the sage, oregano, thyme, swiss chard, collard leaves and more broccoli for a Pasta dish last night.

Phew! that was tough. I still have the purple cauliflower and radishes sitting in my fridge tray. And meanwhile, the new haul comes in tonight. I guess I have to think of more things to do with these veggies - already feels like its going to be a very 'green' summer :)