A few months ago, based on the positive experience of a friend who had done the same thing, we signed up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. In a nutshell, members pay a fee to the farm early in the season, and then get weekly shares of whatever fruits and vegetables are ready for harvest. Kind of our own farmer's market. Sandhill Organics is the farm that is providing our bounty, though they are one of many who do this kind of thing. We missed the first week of the season, so this past Thursday was our first trip to the farm. My son thinks it is fun to go to the farm for vegetables, my husband and I both really like the idea of supporting local farmers, and the produce is so much tastier than anything I could find in a grocery store.
The farm puts out a weekly newsletter that tells you a little bit about the crops and the going's on at the farm, and then provides a list of what is expected to be ready for that week's pick-up. We were not signed up for the spring share, but I had been reading the newsletters and was beyond excited to finally get our first pick-up once June rolled around. They also provide tips for the different items for storage, cooking, and even some recipes, which I find almost as valuable as the actual produce. It opens a whole new world for us of things we've never eaten before, ways of preparing that we've never tried, and a little extra motivation to use all of produce before it goes bad and we have to throw it away.
This week's pick-up needed two 5-gallon buckets to tote home. We got raspberries, strawberries, carrots, lettuce, kale, garlic scapes, turnips, baby leeks, a garlic bulb, zucchini, kohlrabi, and popcorn on the cob. Since we had the newsletter before shopping for the week, we were able to plan our recipes ahead of time to ensure we knew what to do with all of those things. And surprisingly enough, by the time we have dinner tonight, I bet we'll have eaten through 80% of it in four days.
I can imagine you're asking at least two questions. First, what is a garlic scape, and who in the world eats kohlrabi? Second, do you really expect us to believe that your three-year-old is eating all of that? The answer to the first is that a garlic scape is the flower stalk of a garlic plant, and I don't know who makes a regular habit of kohlrabi, but we used it in a cole slaw and it was quite nice. As far as my son, well, he eats some of it and some he doesn't. But since he treats chicken nuggets the same way (he is three, after all), I take that as a victory.
Today's lunch was a meal that I can guarantee I have never eaten before in my life, and it was fantastic. I sauteed turnips, kale, garlic scapes, and baby leeks in butter, salt, and pepper.
Next, I put it all on top of a store-bought pizza crust, topped it with feta and mozzarella cheese, and put it in the oven for ten minutes. This beautiful thing is what came out of the oven. It tasted just as good as it looked. The sauteed kale and garlic added a zing of flavor, the turnips were buttery and soft with just enough crisp when you bit into them, and the cheese held it all together nicely and added a smooth topper to it all. Amazing. Without the recommendation from the Sandhill Organics newsletter, I never would have dreamed of this combination, but I'm so thankful I tried.
I will admit, it is extra work to prepare this kind of weekly menu and the vegetables themselves, and I can image there will be some Thursday nights where I just don't feel like putting forth the effort. Since one of my initial goals for this year, when I started this blog, was to cook more good meals for my family, this is a home-run solution for at least five months of the year. I am very excited to be a part of this and hope that it becomes as much of a normal summertime habit as marveling at the impressive locations that weeds take root in my garden.