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Category Archives: Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)

Purple Kale and Garlic Scapes

This is already week 6 of Grant Family Farms CSA and it is suddenly all about variety and the unfamiliar. Last week we had ordinary kale and baby beets finally hit the single shares. This week we had kale again but this time it was a gorgeous exotic dark purple kale, scratchy curly like regular parsley with intensely purple stems that contrasted with a lime green interior when sliced. I cooked my share tonight, braising it with some white wine and vinegar, adding a bit of sugar for a sweet-sour taste. I sprinkled on some crumbled bacon and ate it with fresh baby mozzarella. It wasn’t spectacular, but I thought it was pretty good (especially the pretty, since I was careful not to cook the color away.) My daughter walked in and made a beeline for the kitchen, nose twitching all the way. She nabbed a bit from the pan. In about two seconds her eyes opened wide and she ran from the room. Next sound–flushing toilet. Kale is a member of the cabbage family, so it does have a rather strong flavor. It’s also a bit chewy, but if you’re prepared for the taste it can be good. I have yet to try the newsletter’s recipe for kale chips. If it shows up again next week maybe that’s what I’ll do.

Exotic vegetables from Grant Family Farms CSA

Now I have seen and even eaten kale before, but as I transferred our share from the bin to my veggie tote I felt as if I had entered some fantasy world as I pulled a few gracefully curved stems with little pointed caps on them. There they are in the photo, sitting on top of the kale. I remembered an unfamiliar term in the newsletter, something to do with garlic. It turns out these other-worldly items are the stems and flowers of the garlic plant and can be used just like garlic. They are supposed to be mild, so I didn’t use them with the kale. I wanted to be able to explore their subtle taste. I did take a tiny bite of one while the kale was cooking, and the bite I had was definitely not mild. It was very good and garlicky, though, so I’m looking forward to using it in a stir-fry along with the beautiful peas that came this week.

My main goal in participating in CSA was to add more vegetables to my diet. I am also finding that it forces me to explore new ingredients, ones like purple kale and garlic scapes that I would never buy and may not even ever see in the grocery store.

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CSA Week 2 Fresh Dill!

We’re about halfway through week 2 of Grant Family Farms CSA, and I am slightly less than halfway through my share. The spinach is the easiest to deal with. If I can’t get through it as a salad green I cook it and a huge pile turns into one nice serving of vegetables. The week 2 share consisted of:

  • 2 heads of leaf lettuce
  • 2 big bunches of spinach
  • 1 bunch of fresh dill (my favorite in tartar sauce or tzatziki sauce, though I had to click on 5 recipes before finding one with dill at: http://kalynskitchen.blogspot.com/2007/07/worlds-best-tzatziki-sauce-recipe-greek.html.  I make my tartar sauce with equal parts of mayo and yogurt because the yogurt cuts any fishy taste. Tzatziki sauce makes a great base for tuna salad for the same reason–lower calories, too.)
  • 1 big bunch of cilantro, which all went to Janine and Louis because Barb and I really don’t like it. When I first saw it I thought it was broad leafed parsley, which I love–what a disappointment.

This week my daughter and a friend are visiting, so I’ll have no trouble eating it all.

Sorry, I can’t seem to get the link to kalynskitchen to be clickable. If anyone knows what I’m doing wrong, please send me a comment. Thanks.

 

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Our first installment of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture)

CSA spinach with eggs--now why did I add that cheese? Unnecessary calories!

After reading an article about Community Supported Agriculture back in January, I went online and located Grant Family Farms, a CSA farm that has a large number of delivery sites all over Colorado. For those of you not familiar with the concept, CSA is an agreement in which you buy a “share” of the farm’s produce. You pay ahead of time, and then vegetables (and/or fruit, eggs, meat and poultry, and even baked goods, depending on the farm and your choices) is sent to you weekly. I e-mailed the farm, asking for an example of how much would be in the weekly delivery for a single share. Becky Jackson sent me the link to a blog in which one of their members had photos of his weekly shares: http://the300lbman.blogspot.com/ . Besides making my mouth water, the photos gave me something to show a few of my friends to see if they would be interested in sharing the share with me. It’s not that I don’t like vegetables, it’s just that I resist taking the trouble to cook them. I decided to give CSA a try, hoping it will possibly improve my eating habits. My friends have decided to participate in the experiment, so one weekly share will be split in thirds: 1/3 for me, 1/3 for Barb, and 1/3 for Janine & Louis.  If Janine & Louis decide they can use 1/2, then Barb and I will each get 1/4. Since both of us looked at our first batch and wondered if we could eat that much lettuce in a week, that will be fine with us.

After a few glitches, I picked up the first delivery on Wednesday. It consisted of:

  • 1.8 lb. huge spinach leaves
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • 1 head green leafy lettuce
  • 1 small bag (2.5 oz.) mixed young greens
  • 1 bunch cilantro, which I gave to another member.

So far I have learned two things: first, find out what everyone’s preferences are. Cilantro is one of the few things I really don’t like, and I was pretty sure Barb had told me the same thing, but I didn’t know about Janine & Louis. After I told her about the cilantro, Barb went on the Grant Family Farms website and printed their list of vegetables, marking in red those she didn’t want and making additional comments. I’ll ask Janine & Louis to do the same.

My second piece of learning came when I tried to sort and divide up the lettuce. I ended up stuffing each of the other two portions into one of those flimsy grocery store produce bags, which wasn’t very satisfactory. Then it took two days for Barb to get hers, and three days for Janine & Louis. Therefore we need to figure out the logistics of dividing, packaging, and redistributing the vegetables.

How would I rate this week’s experience? Logistics, C, but satisfaction, A+. I have already gladly eaten three salads and scrambled some eggs with the spinach. That’s more vegetables than in the whole month of May.

 

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