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Tag Archives: CSA

Pepper’d and Squash’d

My Community Supported Agriculture basket is overflowing with peppers this week.

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Including ghost peppers. Which I have no idea what I am going to make with them. We also got a healthy dose of squash.

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Acorn and patty pan this week. Last week?

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Zucchini and delicata.

It may say “autumn” in the next week around here, but the vegetables are still screaming summer.

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Because there’s six ears of sweet corn in this week’s basket, too.

A little side dish, celebrating the seasons.

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I took the zucchini. Sliced it. Covered it with items from the olive bar at Wegmans. Drizzled in olive oil. A very tasty side served with Boarman’s steak.

And, now, because my programs have failed me twice while writing this post, I think I will run off quickly before it dies again. Here’s to Indian Summer, enjoyable while it lasts.

The New Normal

These days. My typical Tuesday, to do all my shopping in one fell swoop.

Pick up the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share.

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Lancaster Farm Fresh. An Amish cooperative of over 100 farmers. Organic for the price of conventional. We are in the last third of the summer season. Getting ready to sign up for the eight week fall extension.

Figuring out what to make with what we got. Thinking about stuffing peppers.

Heading off to Boarman’s market to finish my shopping. Those back roads from Braeburn to Hall Shop to Highland.

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Picking up the proteins that now replace what I used to get from Friends and Farms. Sausage for stuffing. Filets for a date night dinner. Chicken breasts for tomorrow.

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Finding local eggs there since there are no eggs left in the house. So much of what we eat now comes from the local sources and the small businesses around here. Not a bad way to shop.

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The best part of these pick ups? That amazing bread from She Wolf. A real highlight of our CSA. Maple and Oat Sourdough.

Succotash!

And more trivial local interesting food stuff.

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Because every year I get drawn in by the signs on Rte. 32 that tell me Jenny’s market has fresh lima beans. Shelled by the patriarch of the family. If you have ever shelled lima beans, you know you do much work to get those tasty beans out of their shells.

The beans, corn and scallions in today’s version of succotash come from Jenny’s. The red pepper, from my CSA.

The cornerstone of one absolutely delicious Sunday dinner.

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Fingerlings from the CSA. Salmon from a trip to Wegmans. Wines?

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A local Sauvignon Blanc throwdown. I liked the Linden one. My husband, the Big Cork.

To me, around here, summer is always about fresh food. Bought locally. Prepared simply.

Slow(er) Food

A few days ago I blogged about fast food options at home. I got a few comments about my cast iron pan.

csa and lamb dinner and pans 015 And, about seasoning it. I have had my original two pans about a decade or so. I bought them at Tractor Supply. On sale. They are Lodge pans. I am not sure if others are as good, but these pans have handled just about everything and are very easy to clean, and to keep seasoned.

I only use hot water to clean them. With an abrasive sponge to scrub. I season occasionally with olive oil. Put in the oven. They are definitely non stick.

Besides using them for quick cooking, I do make dinners that take a bit more time. Like with these pork chops.

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I had seared them in the pan, then I put them in the oven with some apple cider to finish them while keeping them moist. Pork takes a little more time to cook.

As for other options that need more time in the oven, but not a huge commitment in active preparation, I have many meals that take 10-15 minutes to set up. Then, about half an hour to execute.

Like this week. This was my CSA basket.

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So many choices. The first night I decided to make lamb meatballs with stuffed patty pan squash and fingerlings.

I stuffed the squash with half a tomato from my garden, crumbled feta, herbs and olive oil. Boiled the fingerlings. Put the squash in the oven while prepping the meatballs. It took about 15 minutes to prep. 30 minutes to cook. The result?

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Excellent meal. By the way, I cooked the meatballs in a muffin tin. It wasn’t a very fancy meal but it certainly was full of flavor. And done in less time than driving to a restaurant, getting put on a waiting list and hanging out for 30-45 minutes waiting for a table.

We had a nice cocktail out on the patio. Once the oven timer went off, we came in, opened a pinot noir and had a leisurely meal.

I have learned to cook simply. Using the fresh ingredients from my CSA. Baking or sautéing a protein. Taking the time to sit at the table and have a quiet conversation. While not spending $50-$100 for dinner. :Like you easily can do around here. Those drinks, appetizers, wine, tip, taxes and desserts all add up.

We like to go out a few times a month, but can eat better foods, with incredible wines, by putting together meals with great local fresh ingredients.

 

Melon Season

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Here we are again, in the abundance of summer Community Supported Agriculture world, where all of a sudden a fruit or vegetable dominates your weekly allocation. These past two weeks? Melons.

All sort of melons.

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Last week there were three of them. This week, four. YES, FOUR!!!!

Those melons in the picture above included an heirloom cantaloupe. A “modern” cantaloupe. A yellow seedless watermelon.

As for the difference between heirloom and modern cantaloupe. Just a touch different in terms of acidity.

And, a soft fragile rind.

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I remember from my childhood, only having cantaloupe in the summer. Getting them fresh from the fields on the way to or from the ocean. Maryland Eastern Shore cantaloupes. They were a breakfast treat. Sliced into quarters. Sprinkled with salt.

Now, we get more creative with melon. I have become enamored of this recipe lately. It is very similar to my watermelon, feta and mint salad, but with a more complex dressing.

As for what we are doing with this week’s watermelon. I am thinking melon margaritas, if the weather stays this hot.

This week’s basket included four melons. A French Chanterais. An heirloom cantaloupe. A “baby doll” watermelon. A regular cantaloupe.

Anyone have other ideas for what to do with all this melon?

Sum-sum-summertime

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We are only a week away from the official start of summer. Tell that to my garden, that is still giving me lettuce and asparagus.

At least we are transitioning into summer with our CSA delivery this week.

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This is our second week with garlic scapes. Which I love. Last week I made pesto which has been melted on pasta, and used with shrimp to make a meal. It may get slathered on cod tomorrow night. I will make another batch from this week’s haul, and freeze it in ice cube trays. To brighten up next winter.

As for the peas. I absolutely love getting fresh peas and shelling them.

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They have to be eaten or frozen almost immediately.

The greens are being replaced with summertime vegetables. But, no, there won’t be tomatoes for a few more weeks. Be patient. The ripe, fresh, flavorful tomatoes are coming. Just not there yet. If we get a few more weeks of warm weather, we should be there.

I saw my first blossoms on the zucchini today, and there are blossoms on my tomato plants. Summer is just around the corner, here in Howard County.

Regional and Seasonal

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Blurring those lines again.

And making decisions that give people more options for good food. While keeping their businesses profitable.

The old Community Supported Agriculture model used one or two farms, without all sorts of add on options. It was great in good years. Not so great when flooding, or drought, or extreme heat or cold, impacted the yields. We see now how two of our major food sources have expanded their horizons and brought in farms from farther away.

I can hear it now. “but it’s not local. Not from our state(county)”. Maryland is a very tiny state. 42nd in terms of area. You know, if we lived in Texas, we could be more territorial. Just for fun, I put my map on my iPad over the state of Texas. Moved the view to Maryland. I could make it all the way to SC if I put MD on top. Or all the way to upstate NY if we were on the southern edge of the page.

Thinking regionally is a good thing. It gives us access to fresh food from a surrounding area that may not have had all the rain we did.

Cast in point. Our CSA, Lancaster Farm Fresh is bringing food in for their wholesale business from farms south of us. When they need to meet demand in the CSA, they occasionally use that wholesale produce for our boxes.

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Like these collards last winter.

If you want a sense of what drives these decisions, read this interview with our CSA founder Casey Specht.

The refinement of our CSA model into a full service food delivery system is a remarkable journey in seven years.

Then, take a look at what Friends and Farms is doing. And excerpt from our latest newsletter. Phil’s Farm Field Trip

“With 14 days of rain in a row and little relief in sight, we decided to send Philip on an expedition to find both sun and spring produce among his many friends in the Carolinas. He finally encountered the sun in Newton Grove, NC, and the produce was not far behind. Burch Farms in Faison was busy at work harvesting leafy greens and a little further down the road, strawberry harvest was just wrapping up. But the real purpose of the trip was a little further South at the Farm of Chalmers Carr where the season’s first peaches were being harvested. Because our local harvest was decimated by the late winter storm, we are asking Mr. Carr to start shipping peaches to us within the week. We know it is early, but we can’t risk a “peach-less” summer. To top the trip off, Philip stopped by the Pine Ridge pecan orchard to visit what we hope will be a bountiful fall harvest of paper shell pecans. So far, so good!”

I can’t wait to order those pecans.

I have done quite a bit of my shopping from them, in addition to getting my protein and dairy bag. Just this past week.

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Checking out the refrigerated items. Picking up my favorite yogurt. A few cheeses. Not to mention the butter I normally buy from there, Trickling Springs butter. I do love how our food services add so many items from small farms and vendors to their inventory.