For years I have complained about the poor quality of the produce found in our grocery stores. For crying out loud, we live in California! Why can’t we buy good produce and fruit? Why does it not have any taste and spoil so quickly? Why is it sprayed with what I can only guess is carnuba wax? Why does it taste faintly of bleach? Why does it look good on the outside but is mushy or grainy inside? Was it ripened by gassing? I needed to find a better way. The local Farmer’s Market which was a big improvement but it is seasonal and not always convenient. I tended to buy more than I was able to use and wasted a lot.
I decided to try buying a share in a local CSA. We signed up for the Winter Vegetable Share in the Mountain Bounty CSA. You probably already know that CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture where people buy shares in exchange for a weekly produce box. I pick up a box of winter vegetables weekly on Wednesdays.
This was my first week in the CSA and I really didn’t know what to expect. There’s just the two of us at home, so I was hoping it wasn’t too much food. I can always share with the animals but that is a bit on the expensive side. They will, however, be happy recipients of all the trimmings.
Two days before the pick-up, I get an email detailing what I can expect to find in the box. It gives me time for meal planning to include what’s in the box.
The braising mix is a mixture of tender greens suitable for braising. I have lots of ideas for how to pair them with a protein. I think they would be great with a plate of shrimp and grits. I like to eat collard greens with grits, so the braising mix should work well. I am not sure Michael has ever eaten grits. I usually prepare when I am eating alone. Not this time. 🙂
The almonds were an instant hit with Michael. He eats a lot of raw almonds and, although these were smaller than we are used to, they had great flavor. I think I’ll roast the beets and use a recipe suggested by my friend Kelly. It has pistachios and Feta cheese. Sounds interesting, doesn’t it? I will probably make coleslaw and braised cabbage with onions to use the cabbage. I am not fond of fennel, but I promised myself to try to find a good use of all the ingredients. It is my mission for the Winter CSA.
I trimmed the beets greens, and carrot and fennel tops and gave them to the chickens, goats and emus today. They were very happy to have fresh greens and it gave them something to do after being cooped up during the storm.
I found a perfect use for the carrots today in this orange chicken dish. The carrots were the best part! You can find the recipe HERE.
Join us here next week to see what we get in the box and how we use it. I’ll share it all, the hits and the misses!