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Daily Archives: August 28, 2013

Test Drive a CSA

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Fall Sign Up for the seven week extension of our Community Supported Agriculture was announced yesterday.

I belong to Sandy Spring CSA, in the summer and fall. I have moved around in other seasons, but like the variety of what we get. Here’s a typical fall box.

fall csa week 5 2012 and hawk 014

This is a full share. Larger in volume and in number of items. For someone who wants to try out a CSA, the 60% share is a really good option. For seven weeks, you would be getting 5-8 items. The smaller share doesn’t get the more exotic veggies, but does get pretty much the same things we get in the full share.

If you ate two or three meals a day at home, like we do, and eat mostly vegetarian for lunch, a full share does work out. I pay about $30 a week for the full share. The 60% share costs $19 a week.

All of these veggies are organic, and would cost quite a bit more in the stores.

The other reason I like the fall share is that it begins just as the farmer’s markets are closing down in Howard County. For Thanksgiving and Christmas I have enough here to make dishes to take to relatives, or to pot luck luncheons. I also created a “root cellar” in the coldest room off the garage, where I keep potatoes and onions. I was using them well into February last year. I did end up planting a few of the sweet potatoes, which are about ready to be harvested in the next week or so.

Organic produce isn’t sprayed with anti-sprouting treatments, so your potatoes will grow eyes eventually and if put in water will sprout.

I like getting the full veggies too. Like the tops of the beets, the greens, the celery. Check out this celery from last year.

fall plus csa week 3 2012 076

I froze those greens, and pulled them out to make chicken stock with them.

The final delivery is just before Christmas. Last year that 2+ pound sweet potato got used in a holiday preparation.

csa last week plus baking and cooking 012

That full share did include some rare veggies, There was a seminole squash (a cooking pumpkin family squash) and that red komatsuna. Komatsuna is an Asian mustard green similar to spinach.

I really like getting the strange veggies that challenge me, by buying the full share. In the 60% share, you might not see the komatsuna. For a CSA novice, getting familiar veggies that are easy to cook is an introduction that doesn’t overwhelm you.

Believe me, my first summer, in 2011, before I started my blog and kept track, I do remember being overwhelmed. And, giving lots of stuff away because I hadn’t changed my cooking style.

Now, strange items don’t faze me at all.

If you want a short term “relationship”, and not a long term commitment, you might want to try out a fall CSA.

And you too might experience the fun of making a “Christmas tree” for Christmas dinner.

christmas 2011 103

Romanescu cauliflower, all decorated with cheese and spices and herbs.

CSA fall season runs from the first week in November until the week before Christmas. I pick up off Cedar Lane near the Robinson Nature Center. Convenient to Rte. 32.