February 28, 2011

Our Adventure with the CSA

This is heaven.  I can't wait for Market Season to start again. Yes, Market Season deserves caps.

Well, our CSA is over, and Myrna and I have decided not to renew. We joined because, being a winter CSA, the price was right. We hoped the fact that we had the food would make us cook a little more, give us some structure and discipline. But we definitely ran into some snags.

The trouble with the CSA is that it really is one-size-fits-all. We got half a gallon of milk every two weeks. But it spoilt in 10 days. We could not get through it fast enough (and BOY did it smell when it went bad!).  We only got a dozen eggs, though, and we go through them much more quickly than that. And the yogurt was very runny.

The winter veg were disappointing even for winter-in-the-mid-Atlantic standards.  We didn't get hearty greens like brussels sprouts and kale, which I love.  Instead we got 8 squashes and a dozen sweet potatoes.

But there were real highlights, too.  The meat, from Polyface Farms, was amazing.  I honestly don't know how to describe the difference between a farm raised chicken and the paltry flavorless stuff you can get at the supermarket.  I mean, one is a chicken and the other is cold pink guck.  Just, come over sometime and I'll roast you one.  And the butter.  Oh guys.  I am not a poet, but I could write poetry about this butter.

Now that the farmer's markets are beginning again, I'll be better about what I buy there.  I'll buy my meat there.  It's a little more expensive, but oh-so-worth it.  I'll be adventurous with my vegetables, and I'll actually cook them.  And one of these days I'll even quit buying pasta.

We still have sweet potatoes to cook through.  I'm going to make this swiss chard and sweet potato gratin from Smitten Kitchen.  It will be perfect with our weekly roast chicken.

***If you are interested in a Spring or Summer CSA in the Washington DC region, this is your go-to source.***


  1. awesome!! we get our chickens from a great farm like Polyface, too and they are so much better :0

    re: sweet potatoes
    I found an awesome sweet potato broccoli soup recipe, tasted it the other night--fabulous!

    Also, baked sweet potatoes are just about the best thing ever. I could eat them for dinner. On their own: just add butter and salt. heaven :)

    good luck!

    (soup recipe)
    2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed 2 medium onions, chopped
    6-8 cloves of garlic
    1 tablespoon oil
    1 bunch broccoli , split in florets 1 cup milk
    Water ( just enough to cover veggies)
    1 vegetable boullion cube (optional)
    salt & black pepper
    1 tsp powdered sage
    1 tbsp thyme
    1 tbsp dried oregano
    4 tbsp fresh parsley or cilantro (optional)
    can be served with croutons and cheese (optional)

    Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally until translucent. Add sweet potatoes and herbs. Add enough liquid to cover and boullion and bring to
    a boil. Lower heat and simmer 10 minutes or until sweet potato is cooked.

    Use some liquid from the
    soup to boil broccoli in the separate pot.

    Puree sweet potatoes soup in blender. Stir in soy milk and broccoli. If the soup is too thin, discard the liquid you used to boil broccoli, otherwise add it back to
    the soup. Bring to boil and simmer for several minutes.

  2. Oooh, that gratin sounds heavenly. Only Swiss chard is something silly like $4 a pound at our grocery store; maybe I'll substitute kale, which is local and only $1/lb.

    And you shoulda had me in the house to take care of that milk ;)

  3. oh Anne: that sounds amazing. And Anna, I was fully planning on using frozen spinach! ;)

  4. Our new favorite sweet potato recipe, shamelessly stolen from our friends, the O'Dwyers:

    Decide how many sweet potatoes you want to use. Peel them and slice into fries.

    Toss with olive oil and sprinkle liberally with salt. Spread them out on a cookie sheet and bake in a hot oven for about 10/15 minutes, occasionally stirring/turning/redistributing.

    Once they're done, remove them to a serving dish. Drizzle with real maple syrup (not drown) and toss with chopped scallions.


  5. Colleen4:09 PM

    I am so, so unutterably thrilled that I will have my very own vegetable garden this year. Tomatoes and beans and lettuce and carrots and golden beets, fresh herbs and edible flowers, huzzah! We'll even have a variety of lavender suitable for culinary use.

    We also have apricot and crabapple trees. I'm not sure the crabapple will fruit this year, though, because we had to prune it pretty drastically. Not that I know of any culinary use for crabapples other than jelly, and unlike you I hate making preserves!

    I have a recipe for sweet potato muffins around here somewhere.

  6. you can send the crab apples to me! :) Actually, if you like pickled things, pickled crab apples are very good and easy to make. Also, you can always just roast them with nuts and strusel.