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Daily Archives: May 25, 2012

Summer CSA Week Three

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I needed a wide angle lens and I had to stand on a stool to get it all in the picture. This week, the box was chock full of goodies.

Twelve items. Yep, we got to the pick up site and found the boxes full of veggies. The list from the site:

A peek down into a loaded box:

I swapped the kale for a second package of garlic scapes. I want to make another batch of pesto to put in ice cube trays and save for winter cooking. Easy, and so good to use in the dead of winter.

My cost analysis this week yielded even bigger savings than the previous weeks.

Lettuce mix – 18 oz. would cost $10 at Roots. Scallions $1.69. Garlic scapes $2 a bunch X 2 = $4. Bok Choy $3.69. Spinach $3. Collards $3. Radishes $2. Turnips $2.50. Kohlrabi $3. Rainbow Chard $3. Broccoli $2.50. Total for equivalent of organic and farm raised veggies is $38.40. I pay $29.75 a week for the CSA. Again, this week’s organic haul is a bargain. Total savings for the three weeks is $21.15. In good years like this one so far, CSAs are a real bargain, but the risk of a bad year is always out there.

Did I use everything last week? All but the kale, which I swear will become kale chips Sunday or Monday. A couple of red scallions, and half a head of romaine. Everything else got used. So, I did OK in the consumption department. I will leave this post with a pic of one of the mostly local dinners I made using CSA and market foods, and a local wine.

The wild ahi wasn’t local, nor was the Pacific Red Pepper Tomato Soup that made the sauce. The ahi was braised in sauce with red scallions from the CSA, and olive oil. The bread is Atwater’s rosemary Italian. The potatoes came from the Olney market. The garlic scape pesto I made using local scapes, not local pine nuts and parmesan and olive oil. The wine, a lovely Vin Rouge from Glen Manor in VA was the perfect weight to complement the big flavors in the pesto and in the red pepper tomato sauced ahi. 2010 was a hot dry year. This wine was 14.9% alcohol but didn’t feel like it. Good balance of flavors. I saw an email from Jeff White, the owner and winemaker, that came today saying this Vin Rouge is running low. If you want a lovely wine in a Bordeaux style produced here on the East Coast, this is a good one.

I will be using more of the garlic scape pesto tonight making Israeli couscous with pesto, and a side of fresh English peas, asparagus and mint. Dessert will be fresh strawberries with buttermilk cake from the market, and vanilla ice cream, not local unfortunately since South Mountain is missing from the market.

This entire month I went to a chain grocery store once, and spent less than $50 getting staples. You can eat well in season using local markets and your CSA. I really love this time of year. The start of the fresh food season. Now, what to do with kohlrabi?


You Like Tomayto, I Like Tomahto

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No matter how you pronounce it, tomatoes are my summer candy. So, I was excited yesterday morning to find this in my garden.

These are yellow plum tomatoes. I noticed the blossoms last week. Now, I have teeny tiny tomatoes there, and I have blossoms on the Sweet Olive plants, which are a determinate grape cherry tomato. They are an early bloomer and will be done before others produce.

The Wayfarer cucumbers are blossoming, and even have really tiny cukes starting to emerge. And yes, after I snapped the pics I went in and weeded out the emerging morning glories that inevitably come up from seeds left in the soil after last year. I use them as an attraction for pollinators at my perimeter, but they tend to take over unless you grab them out before the seed pods open in the fall.

The wild asparagus in my crepe myrtle is still producing. Besides the four spears in this pic, there are two more tiny ones coming out of the ground to the left of the plant. This year I have harvested 15 spears so far. These six would bring the total to 21, the most I have found in this location.

These two long thin spears will be sliced, blanched and find their way into some pasta with the garlic scape pesto tonight.

As for the lettuces and mixed greens, the rain rejuvenated them and there are all sorts of goodies hiding among the bolted plants. Time to harvest these and use as a garnish on a pizza.

I also think I need to do some serious mint pruning, and maybe make mint simple syrup for iced teas and summer drinks. This pot of mint is about six years old, coming back every spring.

Herbs and greens right now, with the promise of other goodies in the next few weeks. Gardening is one of those simple pleasures. What is your garden producing now?