Little Localvores: behind the scenes at our CSA
Welcome to Little Localvores - a weekly series on our family's first experience with a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Every Tuesday all summer long we will receive a supply of fresh produce and local foods through the Good Natured Family Farms CSA. I'll chronicle my attempts to get my toddlers (3 years and 15 months) to eat fresh and local, healthy foods.
Localvore: someone who prefers to eat locally grown/produced food.
Our weekly CSA is all volunteer run so everyone has to help out with the delivery and pick up a couple times during the summer. In only the 4th week of this new CSA, I was impressed with how well our student leaders have the system down. 170 CSA member bags means a lot of items to count and organize. These pallets (above) held about 6 bags of produce each - and they were just big enough and heavy enough to be awkward to move around.
We moved all the items off the truck and into a wide open room. We had about 5 people helping and it went pretty fast - off the truck and completely organized in less than an hour. As you can see, the others were all working hard while I documented the activity. Thanks for putting up with my semi-helpful effort!
This is what 170 bags of fresh and local produce looks like. The vegetarian and vegan bags were grouped together at one end to keep them separate. Cold items were placed in a large freezer in the next room over, and flowers were lined up so members could select their favorite bunch.
The fresh flowers were an extra special surprise in last week's supply.
So many different bundles to choose from...
This past week was another great selection of local items: cucumbers, zuchini, yellow squash and patty pan squash, candy onions and hoop house tomatoes, swiss chard, peaches and blackberries. There was also living lettuce from Two Sisters Farm and veggie patties (my CSA bag is vegetarian, other members received beef patties). And of course, the lovely flowers...mine lasted a full week.
Check out the size of the hoop house tomatoes!
The veggie patties came from Local Burger, one of our favorite restaurant spots in Lawrence. These held up well on the grill and were really, really good. Ryan is a bit of a veggie burger connoisseur, so he would know.
We used the Two Sisters Farm living lettuce and hoop house tomatoes for the veggie burgers. We also added some slices of avocado and GNFF sweet-hot pickles. Spicy brown mustard and aged swiss cheese topped it all off.
And in my book, no burger is complete without sweet potato fries. (side note: I make sweet potato fries all the time, the kids love them almost as much as I do. I have yet to find a recipe for baked sweet potato fries that makes crispy fries. If anyone knows a great recipe, I would love to have it.)
We made a pretty simple recipe of swiss chard sautéed with shallots in olive oil, seasoned with salt, pepper and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. We enjoyed this with salmon on the grill and brown rice - a pretty typical weeknight meal for us. I'm still surprised that the kids like it and eat it. We had another veggie loaded pizza this week with onions, squash and tasty tomatoes. I used GNFF tomatoes and cucumbers together with quinoa and some feta for a quick lunch salad. So many options, I love it!
Peaches and blackberries, what's not to love? These went so fast in our house that I didn't have a chance to make an actual dessert with them. The kids have always loved any and all fruit, and berries are their favorite. I did manage to save a few of these for a simple late night dessert for Ryan and I one night after the kids were in bed.
Sliced peaches and blackberries on top of all natural vanilla bean icecream, with a drizzle of GNFF honey to seal the deal. Sweet, simple, delicious. This is my idea of a perfect dessert all summer long.
In our second full week of utilizing the CSA, I can definitely say that we are eating more vegetables just due to the fact that we have more on hand. We typically shop for groceries on Sundays and almost without fail, I run out of fresh veggies by the end of the week and resort to frozen peas (a good back up, the kids love them, but not very inspiring). Getting all this fresh produce on Tuesday each week means we have fresh veggies through the weekend, giving me more options to incorporate them at each meal. Charlie has been pretty agreeable about trying everything, and a taste is all I ask of him. It's getting a little easier each time.
I'm still working on figuring out ways to use all the vegetables each week - I have a lot of yellow squash left but everything else was gone quickly. I am looking forward to finding out what is in next week's bag. I like the mystery and surprise that my Tuesdays have become!