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[Nov. 5th, 2013|10:38 am]
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We get our first basket from our CSA this Thursday. That means a lot more vegetables will be coming into my house, and will continue to come into my house throughout the winter. For those who don't know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It is a system that pays local farmers up front and spreads the gamble of farming over a larger group of people. If it's a poor year with flooding or drought, then as a member of the CSA you shoulder part of the burden. If it's a year of abundance, then you get to share in that abundance. If you are in favor of keeping small family farms in business--and I am--then a CSA is the most proactive way you can put your dollars toward that goal.

It also means that you get a share of whatever is harvested that week, whether it's something you would normally buy or not. I'm really excited about this. I am terrible about planning recipes, but I'm quite good at spontaneous cooking. Spontaneous cooking, however, means using the ingredients on hand, and the farm share means that I will have lots more veggies on hand when I wander into the kitchen and say, "Now what shall I make for dinner?"

And they will be different veggies than I buy when I'm auto-shopping my way through the grocery store. It's easy to fall into habits, and eat the same thing all the time. The CSA is great at presenting me with produce I have to say, "now what do I do with this?" Like beets. I don't really care that much for them, but Ferrett likes them. Left to my own devices, I won't buy them. But if they arrive in the farm share, then I'd better figure out something to do with them.

It's not cheap, but I think it's one of the best ways to support the local economy and get more variety into your diet. If you are interested in finding out about CSAs in your area, you can find a lot of information at Local Harvest.

This is what I'm getting in this week's share:

1 Whole Chicken, approx 5 lbs
2# bag fingerling potatoes
1 bulb garlic
1 candy onion
1 bunch swiss chard
1 bag mixed baby lettuce, 0.5 lbs
1 bunch beets with tops
1 bunch celery
1 bag purple filet beans
1 head broccoli
1 quart baby sweet peppers
1 bunch carrots with tops
1 dozen eggs
1 quarter peck gala apples
4 oz pumpkin quark (a spreadable cream cheese)
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: ba1126
2013-11-05 04:24 pm (UTC)

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My nanny family participates here in Mass. and the kids and I often do the pickup (sometimes going out into the fields to 'pick our own', like green beans). It is a good 'education' for these kids and I've learned a lot myself! Nanny Mom 'splits' the cost of the share and the crops with another family, making it more affordable.
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-11-05 04:51 pm (UTC)

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Here they have started having large shares and small shares so that couples and families can customize a bit.
[User Picture]From: ba1126
2013-11-05 06:13 pm (UTC)

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That's a good change! We only have three in our house, so it would be costly, and WAY more food than we could eat!!
[User Picture]From: roniliquidity
2013-11-05 04:35 pm (UTC)

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OK so you have the perfect stuff for this: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/perfect-roast-chicken-recipe/index.html


I've made it a bunch of times, everybody loves it. I also throw some beets in there because they become almost candy sweet when roasted. I know cooking the veggies under the chicken might be a problem for Ferrett because they basically cook in the chicken drippings (and infinite web sites will debate how bad/good that is) but if that's a problem, they'll roast just fine in a separate pan with a little olive oil.
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-11-05 04:53 pm (UTC)

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That looks yummy! I will definitely be roasting that chicken!
[User Picture]From: coeli
2013-11-05 05:11 pm (UTC)

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I'm jealous that your CSA runs through the winter. This the last week for ours until May. But I do love it.
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-11-05 08:35 pm (UTC)

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It's really exciting that they run through the winter. It will be interesting to see what we get in midwinter.
[User Picture]From: ba1126
2013-11-05 06:20 pm (UTC)

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Did you just join? My nanny family has been getting produce all summer.
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-11-05 08:36 pm (UTC)

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We did just join, yes, for the winter season.
[User Picture]From: blergeatkitty
2013-11-05 10:25 pm (UTC)

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That is about twice as much food as we get in ours!

FYI, every time we got chard this year - and it was a lot of times - I made this: http://www.food.com/recipe/pasta-with-swiss-chard-bacon-and-lemony-ricotta-228310
[User Picture]From: mplsindygirl
2013-11-06 12:43 am (UTC)

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I grew swiss chard in the back garden this year. Been eating the most recent batch for a few days straight. This looks yummy. My kids wouldn't touch it though.
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-11-06 03:55 am (UTC)

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That looks tasty! I've been doing kale this year, but need to expand to chard.
[User Picture]From: blessed_oak
2013-11-05 10:39 pm (UTC)

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I like beets, but beet tops are the best thing ever! That looks like a nice mix you are getting.

Our CSA has a new card you can load money on whenever you want, and swipe for however much you want, at their stores or the farmers markets. It's great now that it's just the two of us most of the time! This will be the first year we'll be buying from them in the winter, so I wonder what kind of variety they will have. They do meats as well.
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-11-06 03:53 am (UTC)

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They are definitely evolving. I do still like being faced with stuff I wouldn't usually buy, and a card like that would defeat the process.
[User Picture]From: cynic51
2013-11-06 02:03 am (UTC)

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is this a full share, two shares or a half share?
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-11-06 03:52 am (UTC)

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It's a full share, the only kind available from Fresh Fork for the winter.
[User Picture]From: noevilliveon
2013-11-06 05:50 am (UTC)

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And thanks to this post and a quick search on Local Harvest, I will be picking up MY first CSA share on Thursday as well. :D I'm excited!
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-11-06 02:08 pm (UTC)

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That's AWESOME!!!!
[User Picture]From: wolflady26
2013-11-06 12:48 pm (UTC)

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Ha, quark is totally German! I've never seen it in the US, very cool! :)
[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-11-06 02:09 pm (UTC)

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I have gotten it before, but only when visiting a farmstead that made its own cheese.
[User Picture]From: leeann_marie
2013-11-06 05:21 pm (UTC)

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This makes me jealous, since my summer share is just wrapping up. Maybe a winter CSA is a better deal, since one tends to want to cook more in the colder months, anyway. Hmm...