First, if you don’t know, CSA (community supported agriculture) is a local food program where you receive a weekly delivery of produce fresh off the farm for about 6 months out of the year. We joined the Long Hungry Creek Farm CSA this year. Long Hungry Creek Farm is in Red Boiling Springs, TN and is run by a guy named Jeff, better known as the Barefoot Farmer. You can buy single shares or family shares. We are sharing a family share with some friends of ours. It works out to be a bit cheaper that way.
The interesting thing about this is that it’s not like going to the grocery store or even the farmer’s market and picking and choosing what you want. You get what has been harvested that week. It comes to you freshly picked and unwashed. You either use it or lose it or possibly give it away. That’s the challenge of being in a CSA. We’ve had two pick-ups so far and already I’ve received quite an education! Also, my learning curve needs to get a bit steeper if we’re really going to make this worthwhile for us!
My first adventure was rhubarb. I knew we’d be getting rhubarb and I was very excited about it. I’ve had rhubarb only one time in my whole life. I’ve always been a bit intimidated by it and even though I knew all kinds of cakes and pies (and we all know how I feel about cakes and pies, right?) are make with it, I’ve just never ventured out to use it myself. Also, I was under the impression that rhubarb is red. So on the first pick-up when there’s these long, green stalks that look like celery, I’m a bit confused but I just go with it. When I go to chop it up for baking, it’s still green. Turns out, rhubarb is only red if it’s been grown in a hot house (thank you Google & Wikipedia!) Who knew? Well, now we both do!
I was able to make two desserts using the rhubarb we received. First, I made a recipe that was provided by the CSA. They send an e-mail newsletter the day before the pick-up telling us what we’ll be getting and it includes some recipes for some items from the week’s harvest. I made the Strawberry Rhubarb Dessert bars andthey were quite yummy. Since there was oatmeal used in the recipe, I deemed them appropriate for breakfast!
The only other time I’ve ever had rhubarb was back when we lived in Virginia. We had visited a coworker of DB’s who lived on some lovely land on the outskirts of town. She had encouraged DB to drop by sometime, so one Saturday afternoon we took advantage of the offer. After we arrived, she pointed out some things on their property (like an orchard!) that we go and look at. As we meandered around and took in the views, she was busy in her kitchen. When we returned to the house, she had baked a rhubarb upside down cake, had made coffee and had set out some really yummy cheeses and crackers. (This woman definitely has the gift of hospitality!) I was leery of the cake but to be polite, I tried it and was very pleasantly surprised at how delicious it was. All that to say, the second thing I made was rhubarb upside down cake*! And it was every bit as yummy as I remembered.
Did you know that garlic grows under the ground and has an edible stalk that can be harvested before harvesting the garlic (it just grows back)? It’s called scape and it’s delicious! It’s especially yummy when you sautee it in olive oil and then add chard or other greens (we got swiss chard on the first pick up and beet greens on the second) to it. There are lots of things you can do with scape. And it keeps nicely in the fridge.
We got a lot of lettuce. I learned, too late for the first week’s batch, that you can put lettuce in water, set it in the fridge and it will perk up again. I lost the lettuce from the first week because I didn’t know this. The lettuce we got this week has been so good! Quite flavorful and colorful. I hope we get it all eaten, we’re not big salad people so it’s been hard to get it all consumed.
I need to be more proactive about giving away things that we won’t eat, like the radishes we got the first week (which we also lost, see what I mean about learning curve?) I’m excited to see what each week’s harvest brings. Trying new foods has been very fun, at least for me. The kids are kind of unphased by it. They tend to be rather picky. They’re supposed to take a least one bite of whatever is on their plate. I made JBelle try the beet greens tonight. She didn’t care for them though it may have actually been the balsamic vinegar that was on them that turned her off!
This post is my pick for this week’s “I Am Blissfully Domestic“.