So right away you may be asking, what in the heck is a CSA?
CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture, is a system for helping farmers sell directly to you as the consumer. Consumers usually pay at the beginning of the season, when the farmer needs your moolah the most (for seeds, fertilizer and other seasonal start-up costs), and receive farm raised goods later that year, typically on a weekly or biweekly schedule. These programs can also be called farm shares, because you are buying a share of the farm’s production. There is also an element of risk – if the crop is poor, share members agree to receive less; and the opposite is true as well – if the farm produces an awesome crop, share members will receive more.
So that being said, why did I decide to participate in a CSA?
My first thoughts about joining a CSA came from the fact that I could receive organic farm fresh produce every week right from the ground. Even though you usually pay up front, you can end up saving money in lieu of buying this produce at the grocery store. I was also really excited about getting to try new things that I wouldn’t normally buy or even think to get at the store. Considering I eat a lot of veggies, I wasn’t worried about the food going bad because I’ve become so much more open to trying new foods! And of course, supporting the local farms makes it that much better.
So now that you’ve got the basic run down of what this thing is all about, what kind of food am I getting?? Well, being as it’s still pretty early in the season, it has been a lot of greens! Today, I thought it would be fun to share with you what I received this week and how I’ve prepared it!
My CSA is through Red Wagon Organic Farm out of Niwot, CO and I have loved everything about them so far! Since I have what’s called a regular share [I chose to do a biweekly regular share this time, since I’m only one person and not a huge family!], I received:
- Snow Peas
- Hakurei Turnips
- Choice of Lettuce or Braising Mix
- Choice of Kale or Chard or Collards or Bok Choi or Broccili Raab
- Fava Beans
The moment I got home, I decided to prep everything! If there is one thing I’ve learned through this journey, it’s that convenience is key. You’ll eat whatever is readily available and ready to go, am I right or am I right?
The first thing I made was Kale Chips. Instead of reinventing the wheel, I turned to my new Oh She Glows cookbook and followed this recipe. As this was my first time ever making Kale Chips, I decided to keep it simple and just use a little olive oil, sea salt and pepper, without the extra seasoning.
Are you as shocked as I am that I’ve never made these before? Pure craziness.
I really liked the chips and will definitely be making more in the future! The only thing about these is you pretty much have to make them the same day for best results; they don’t hold their crispiness as well going into the following days. Keep in mind, I only used a few kale leaves to make two pans of chips, I still have lots of Kale left for some delicious salads this week! Probably my favorite Festive Kale Salad ;)
Since I was grilling up a turkey burger for dinner, I also chose to follow Red Wagon’s recommendation and grill up the Fava Beans as well. I love that Red Wagon has a blog where they post recipes and teach you how to cook with the new foods you may be seeing in your CSA! Definitely really helpful to see their recommendations. You can find the recipe I followed here.
I have to say, that although I did really enjoy the fava beans – they seem to be a lot of work. After grilling them, you then have to get the beans out, and then shell the beans as well. See that dark green bean? Yup, I finally got to eat that after all was said and done. Granted, I could have just been in a lazy mood.
The last thing I did was wash, slice and prepare the carrots, snap peas and turnips for eating. The carrots and snap peas are pretty self explanatory: cut off stems, wash thoroughly, devour with hummus. Yum.
Hakurei turnips on the other hand, you may have never heard of. Nor had I before I got my first bundle in week 1 [this is week 3 for me]! But let me tell, these things are surprisingly – to me anyway – really good, as well as very versatile. They grow just like a typical turnip; the greens can be cut off and sauteed with your meal. Then you can eat the turnip raw, tossed on a salad, sauteed, or even grilled up with some sweet potato. I have found the options to be pretty endless with these guys! Plus turnips are a root vegetable, but only have about a quarter of the carbohydrates that potatoes do, so they are great at times when you’re looking for something low-carb.
Considering this is just one share, I have to say I’m pretty glad I took the plunge and decided to participate in a CSA. It will be exciting to see all the different types of foods I continue to see, and don’t worry – I’ll be keeping you updated ;)
Are you part of a CSA? Do you think you’d participate in one in the future?