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Tag Archives: value of CSA

Watermelon Season

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I think it’s time to try watermelon gazpacho. This week, again, but bigger, we got a watermelon in our fruit share.

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I could take upstairs and get on a scale with and without it to see what it weighs, but it’s quite the behemoth. And, it wasn’t one of the large ones on the pallet.

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There are 28 watermelons in the box. This week there was very little maneuvering room in the pick up site. You see up there we also got peaches, again. The weird weather last winter seems to have affected the stone fruit trees, as by this time, we are sometimes seeing other fruit. Getting a little tired of peaches.

As for this week’s veggies.

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Cylindra beets, and peppers, and red potatoes, and eggplant. Oh yeah, and …

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… tomatoes. Two kinds. At least the half shares didn’t get zucchini. Today people were putting tomatoes back into the swap box early when I was there.

Today was a cheese delivery day, too.

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Cheddar aged six years. A very interesting mozzarella, which I will review in depth when I try it. And a “Lanchego”, a Lancaster County Manchego style cheese.

I am really enjoying the variety of these cheeses. Last month’s Millich Kivvel was awesome.

No pics of the chicken. Breasts and wings this week.

Good delivery this week from Lancaster Farm Fresh.

Next post will be about my other food source but I think it’s time to relax and have a glass of wine.

In The Box

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The view from above.

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This is what you see when you open a half share Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA box in the middle of August.

The new one in the box is the bunch of Malabar spinach. I do grow this in my garden, but mine is nowhere near as large as these are. There are nine ears of corn in there. Because I swapped three zucchini for the corn. There is a bag of green beans. A bag of rainbow carrots. An eggplant. And, hidden below those two heirloom tomatoes.

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A bag of roma tomatoes, suitable for making sauce. As for the fruit share.

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It must be a banner year for peaches, as we have another six in the fruit box. Last and certainly the largest. The watermelon, a red seedless variety.

No pictures of the frozen chicken in my chicken share. There were two large boneless skinless chicken breasts. And, two whole legs of chicken.

Moving over to the Friends and Farms bags. Just a small amount, except for that cantaloupe.

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An individual share. Two tomatoes. Two peaches (I have no idea where they are, they aren’t in the picture). One zucchini, I am happy to report. Two ears of corn. Three humongous leeks. Hydroponic lettuce. And that okra. I need to go look for something new to do with okra.


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Fresh kielbasa. Bacon. Eggs. A new supplier of chicken. Breasts this week. They were already the main item at dinner tonight. Baked in olive oil with a coating of mixed herbs.

Plans for tomorrow. Make tomato sauce. Find a recipe for a curry using the Malabar spinach. Make peach jam. It’s summer craziness when everything starts ripening at once.

My Out of Control Kitchen

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It happens every August. The tomatoes get way ahead of me. I can’t keep up with the processing. I have to dedicate an entire weekend to plowing through the produce and filling the freezer.

Add to it the CSA glut.

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For $19 a week you too can be overrun with fresh beautiful vegetables. OK, so there are also some fruit shares here. They are a slight additional cost.

Lancaster Farm Fresh delivered some pretty heavy boxes this week. We got:

FIVE zucchini (seriously? in a half share?)
A bag full of baby sweet peppers
A bag full of hot Hungarian wax peppers (not pictured, more below)
A bag full of baby eggplants
Two heirloom tomatoes
Three slicing tomatoes
Four golden beets with greens
Two heads of garlic

The sugar baby watermelon was part of our fruit share. Along with more of these.

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Eight more incredibly juicy luscious sweet peaches.

I swapped those peppers. For a reason to be revealed later.

I did get this.

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Three ears of sweet corn from the swap box. You can never have too much sweet corn.

My chicken share this week was a 3.5 pound heritage bird.

As for Friends and Farms, I am glad we moved to an individual share for the summer. That way we aren’t completely overwhelmed with produce.

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This was bread and cheese week for the individual share. I picked pumpkin pecan bread from the Breadery. Ewe cream cheese from Shepherds Manor.

Spring Mix. Donut peaches. Nectarines. Sweet potatoes. Heirloom cherry tomatoes. A yellow onion. Green beans. An eggplant.

As for the protein, not pictured, we got catfish, and sirloin steak.

Definitely enough to keep us from the grocery stores for a while.

I just need to get out there and start freezing food.

Is It Extreme #buylocalchallenge when …

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… it’s the normal way you live?

This isn’t a challenge. It’s our life. We can thank Friends and Farms, Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA, Howard County farms and markets, and my garden for making the vast majority of our food come from local sources.

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Like this luscious fresh fruit in our CSA share. Without worries of bacteria. We got plums, peaches and blackberries from LFFC on Thursday. The plums are gone already. My husband must have had a couple with every lunch and dinner. They are so ripe, so flavorful.

LFFC also gave us this.

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In a half share.

Golden Beets
Rainbow carrots
Red potatoes
Royal burgundy beans
Ping Tung long eggplant
Heirloom tomatoes
Corn (I swapped zucchini for these)

I gave up four zucchini for two ears of corn. There is way too much zucchini in my garden.

As for the add ons.

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The cheese share included: Millich Kivvel, a raw milk cheese reminiscent of Camembert. Aged Goat Cheese, and Goat Feta.

The chicken:

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Thighs, drumsticks and boneless, skinless chicken breasts. These chicken deliveries have been one very welcome addition to our food sources. Last week I slow baked legs and breasts. Served the legs for dinner and the breasts became the center of a Caesar salad for lunch.

I love having antibiotic free, hormone free chicken in our diet. Once you tasted free range chicken, it is really hard to settle for those bland tasteless store bought chickens.

As for Friends and Farms, and my individual share. We got ground beef and ahi. I forgot and put them away before documenting my food.

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There was a large quantity of heirloom squash in the bags. A few assorted tomatoes. Two peaches. Blackberries. Green beans. Kale. Frisee. Eggs and bread this week. Honey whole wheat from The Breadery.

Tonight for dinner I grilled the ahi. And some of the squash. Brushed with Italian dressing and seasoned with salt and pepper.

The individual basket is perfect when you have a garden, or for one or two people. I like getting bread biweekly and eggs three times a month. Cheese once a month. Breakfast meat once a month. A good rotation. One that we customized to fit our needs.

All in all, doing the Buy Local Challenge is easy, when you have local food sources delivering the bulk of your protein, dairy, vegetables and fruit.

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CSA chicken, with my onions. And CSA heirloom tomatoes. Dinner Thursday night.

Rhubarb on My Chicken Wings

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A marriage of one item from both of this week’s baskets. Rhubarb from Friends and Farms. Chicken wings from Lancaster Farm Fresh.

Tomorrow, after I recover from all the wonderful food, wine and beer at Wine in the Garden, I will talk more about the other items we got this week. But now, let’s just talk savory rhubarb.

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Last summer I made RhubarBQ sauce. This is the last jar of it.

There will be more of it made with the rhubarb we got today. I think I have enough to do half the recipe that’s on the link above.

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We also got two pounds of chicken wings.

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The chicken is an add on item in our Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative CSA delivery.

What could be better for a lovely summer dinner? Grilled chicken wings served with a dip of savory tangy barbecue sauce that invites you to venture outside that strawberry rhubarb rut we fall into whenever we get rhubarb.

Believe me, this sauce is worth the time to make.


Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

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Ordinarily I am not a big fan of chicken breast. Usually too dry and without the taste that legs, thighs and wings have (at least to my taste preferences).

I tried a new technique for me, and made a very satisfying dinner tonight. Half the chicken in dinner, and the rest will become a chicken corn chowder base in a day or two.


Made in a stir fry pan. Here is what I did.


I had a pound of boneless chicken breast from our first Friends and Farms basket. I wanted chicken pieces that were moist. So, I started out with the chicken fat that had been skimmed off the stock I made with a whole chicken last week. I heated it up in the pan and added the chicken in strips and cubes. Let it cook slowly in the “schmaltz”. Pulled out the chicken and removed all the fat from the pan.

Put in my base.


Remember that jam jar dressing recipe from last week? Made with maple yogurt and Dijon mustard. Well, over the weekend I made another batch right in the mustard container, using equal amounts of mustard and yogurt and adding the cider vinegar and oil in the appropriate ratio. I put some coconut milk in the pan, about six ounces, added two teaspoons of flour, salt, pepper, and a healthy squirt of the mustard dressing. Made a white sauce. Added about four ounces of my oven roasted cherry tomatoes, taken from my freezer. Put the chicken back after adding another couple of ounces of milk to get the consistency I wanted.

A little sprinkle of tarragon, and of paprika. Kept on a low simmer while I made some of the Pappardelle’s pasta from Secolari.


I used about four ounces of the pasta that made two servings of pasta. Added about half the chicken mixture. That leaves me with half a pound of chicken to make the soup later this week.


The finished dish. I was considering adding cheese, but it was fine all by itself.


Served with a Maryland Chardonnay from Big Cork. The 2012 vintage. Perfect match to the creaminess of the sauce, this big chardonnay balanced the meal. The salad. Made with the Bibb lettuce from last week’s basket.

I have to admit. It is easy around here to eat locally, even in the dead of winter. The chicken. The tomatoes from the freezer. The schmaltz from a local roasting chicken bought last fall. The yogurt in the dressing. The lettuce. The wine.

I am glad we signed up with Friends and Farms for the winter. Gets me into making new dishes, and expanding my recipe collection.

Now I need to pull the frozen corn from the freezer and make that soup soon.


Loving the Basket

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Of Friends and Farms goodies. Here, in the dead of winter, it is nice to pick up some fresh veggies, like kale and onions.


Besides these fresh veggies, we had apples and carrots in the bags at the pick up point.


The carrots and those onions will be great in a slow cooker pot roast. We had a chuck roast this week, and some “processed” items.


The tomato puree, with the chuck roast, carrots and onions will form the basis for a pot roast.

We got a piece of sharp cheddar cheese today. Matched with apples, a good snack or dessert.

I chose Maple yogurt this week. We also had cod in the bag, which became part of dinner tonight.

What am I missing? Oh yes, Breadery bread.


This week I chose Montana white bread. To use for toast, and for a couple of recipes that need bread.

While I was there, I picked up a dozen eggs, and a half gallon of apple cider. It is nice to have extra items available to augment your basket.

Can’t complain at all. This is a great deal for getting fresh and flash frozen items to make it through the winter.


Winter CSA Sign Up

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An up and down experience. First you see it. Then you don’t.


Will there be a winter CSA? Hopefully, enough people will sign up to guarantee delivery here in Howard County.

What am I talking about? A Winter CSA from Lancaster Farm Fresh Co-op. With delivery at MOM’s Jessup.

I have been hoping we would get a close site for the winter add on of my current CSA (through Sandy Spring). We were told we might get one, but Sandy Spring chose not to host for the winter. Most of our Sandy Spring sites are private homes, not businesses.

Our Columbia pick up point volunteered to host, but Sandy Spring decided not to participate, since Columbia was the only possible site. So, we were first encouraged, then disappointed.

Jessup is five miles further for me to drive, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to drive the extra. Lancaster Farm Fresh is moving possible sites into the MOM’s stores all across MD.

In the end, the great price for fresh organic food made my decision. When you figure the cost, compared to shopping for organic in the stores, the CSA is a bargain.

I really like how they are creating a mix and match package. The basic veggies. Meat, chicken, eggs, butter, milk, yogurt, bread, tofu, seitan, cheese, vegan burger, and pantry items.

Pick what you want. Even if it is only the basic share of 5-8 veggies. I have to give them credit for making it easier for people to customize their food service.

I love the chicken option for the winter. Not just whole birds but different cuts of chicken.


Although I do enjoy roasting these chickens.

I hope the weather cooperates for the winter. At least MOM’s is on a major road right off the interstate.

Looking forward to a winter of eating mostly local, organic food.


Unusual Veggies

Week Two of the CSA. We got a new one here.


Salanova Lettuce.

The latest trend? All I know is that it’s expensive if you can find it, and we got two heads of it this week. $8 worth of lettuce. Along with the eleven other items in our CSA box.


We got:

1 bag carrots
1 bunch collards
1 bag purple Viking potatoes
1 bag Yukon Gold potatoes
1 bunch celery
1 bag yellow onions
1 butternut squash
2 heads freckled lettuce
1 head romanescu cauliflower
1 bag purple top turnips
2 heads salanova lettuce
2 pieces rutabaga

I don’t know what is more fun. The cauliflower. The freckled lettuce. The salanova.

Why I love this CSA. Giving me veggies I never heard of. But, that are so good.

The bread this week.


A whole wheat country French boule. We like the small sixe of the boule. Just enough for a couple of soups.

Adventures in food. That’s what a CSA will bring you.


CSA in the Rear View Mirror

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The 2013 Spring/Summer CSA is over. Every season I do a spreadsheet summarizing what we got, and was the cost worth it.

We belong to Sandy Spring CSA, which uses the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative as the source of our vegetable, fruit, egg, cheese, flower and herb shares. The coop includes 75-80 farms spread across Lancaster County. They directly supply 2500 members, and they supply 500 members through Sandy Spring. This is the 5th year Sandy Spring has used LFFC, and the third year we have been members. We get the basic 100% share of veggies. No add ons, as I like using the farms and markets for my other items.

We pay $740 for our share. 24 weeks. We are promised 8-12 items weekly. We received 283 items, 131 of them unique. That averages out to 11-12 weekly. It also averages out to $2.60 an item, for organic foods. We really do get our money’s worth.

By unique, I include different varieties of the same vegetable. Like green and red tatsoi are different. And, green or red romaine. You get the drift.

The most frequent occurrence this year? Garlic! And, orange carrots. Both were in our box nine times this season. Green beans showed up eight times. Slicing tomatoes seven.

As for very unusual items, this was the year we saw bitter melon, purple mizuna, eight ball zucchini, bintje potatoes, blue radishes, white beets, Gai-lin Chinese Broccoli.

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I found out I liked okra. Particularly when it is grilled. I made my first habanero jelly.

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One of the reasons I like this CSA is that unexpected strange item. With so many farms, providing members from Harlem, Brooklyn, Philly, DC, NoVa, and points between, they have greatly expanded their heirloom and ethnic varieties.

You want Southern soul food? Okra and collards. Chinese? Bok Choy. Tatsoi. Mexican? Habaneros. Jalapenos. Cilantro.

The challenge, which I embrace, is that discovery of a new vegetable, and how to use it.

Thankfully, my better half is just as adventurous and likes almost everything we get. OK, OK, the bitter melon was a fail.

We begin a seven week fall extension this Thursday. I have added a bread share and a chicken share. I will be getting two chickens on the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th deliveries. Bread every week.

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It took us three years to become really skilled at using all of the bounty we receive from the CSA. At first, it is overwhelming but changing how we eat and making lunches and dinners that highlight our CSA veggies has been good for us. In our health and in how we feel.

If you wonder what in the world made me do all this math, it’s that mathematician background. What can I say?



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