Provider Farm-CSA Haul #1

We joined a CSA! And we pulled in a friend from college as well. At the recommendation of my boss, we purchased a CSA share from Provider Farm in Salem, CT.

What is a CSA? That’s short for Community Shared Agriculture… but I’ll let them do the talking:

A CSA is a partnership between farmers and their customers. When you buy a membership or a “share”, you are investing in the farm for one season and receive the dividends in the form of a weekly portion of the vegetable harvest. CSAs are great for you because you receive a full season’s share of the best vegetables you can find at an affordable cost. CSAs are great for us, the farmers, because paying up front makes it easier for us to plan the season. CSAs guarantee the shareholder the best prices around since we sell shares at the cost of production.

Source: http://www.providerfarm.com/csa

So, we drive 20-ish minutes to this farm and are given the choice of different items within a few categories. We leave with enough fresh, local, and pesticide-free vegetables to last us through the week… and then we come back the next week and do it again!

Provider Farm CSA Pickup Selection

The fun part comes when you end up with vegetables that you might have never encountered before! There’s a wealth of interesting plants to discover when you venture beyond the produce section of your standard grocery store.

Here are a few of the things that we picked up this week and what I plan to do with them:

Scarlet Kale

Scarlet Kale

Inspired by the one bite of my friend’s soup that I tried while in Florence, Italy, I’ll be adding this scarlet kale to a hearty Tuscan Ribolitta. This tomato-based soup features  white beans and a plethora of other vegetables to stand up to strong(ish) meats like bacon and sausage.

Bok Choy

Three Heads Bok Choy

During the post-wedding period of time when I was still looking for a job, I would make steamed pork buns once a week for Jimmy to take to work as his mid-day snack. Two years later, I am happily employed and Jimmy has been without these meaty morsels for months now. It’s time to bring the 包子 (baozi) back!  

These fluffy dough balls feature pork and a vegetable- either napa cabbage or bok choy. On our last trip to Taiwan, I had the opportunity to learn from a pro and improve the technique that I have yet to master. This week will be my first time putting those new skills to work!

Potatoes and Arugula

Potatoes

Food & Wine pairs these two rather conventional ingredients into an unconventional warm salad. Roasted potatoes are tossed in a mustardy vinaigrette with handfuls of arugula, providing just enough heat to wilt the greens. Eat responsibly; pair this salad with a nice glass of wine 🙂

Lettuce

Lettuce Head

My husband loves leafy greens. Not so much in a side-salad kind of way, but braised alongside the main dish or stir-fried with some bacon or shrimp is the way that we do ’em in our house. Spring/early summer promises an abundance of leafy greens like lettuce, bok choy, cabbage, and arugula to keep him happy!

The other week my husband whipped up some homemade shwarma, which we then threw on top of this week’s lettuce, paired with chopped tomato, served alongside my homemade pita bread and hummus.

Turnips

Bravo Meat Radish

Have not yet settled on a preparation for the turnips. Pictured above I have Meat (green) and Bravo (purple) Radishes.

  • I could glaze and roast these in miso.
  • Combine them with potatoes to make hash browns and top with a fried egg or two.
  • Make a soup… but my husband is not so into the purées…

Any ideas on this one? Please leave a comment!

Radishes

Whole Long Red Radishes

I’m about to make-ahead dinner for tomorrow: Braised radishes with shallots and vinegar. I’ve only ever had radishes as snappy raw-discs tossed into salads, so I’m curious to see how braising in red wine vinegar and chicken stock (I’m subbing this for the water in the recipe) will come out. Fingers crossed!

Long Red Radishes Closeup

P.S. The radish dish was AMAZING! Cooking the radishes makes it into a whole new vegetable. It is still unique in taste, but significantly reduced in bite and surprisingly savory.

 

 

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