We joined a CSA here in Austin recently and got our first box of food last week. It was very exciting for me, as I am still unfamiliar with the seasons of food in this strange climate. In DC we bought all our food at the Dupont Circle farmer’s market and thus became very familiar with what was in season when. Austin has unpredictable cycles of warm and cold, which, combined with my limited knowledge of edibles, means that I don’t really know what is in season at any given time aside from the very obvious stuff. Our box contained a typical mix of winter veggies as well as some fruit:
The quality of the food was incredible. It was picked the morning that we received our box and was clearly extremely fresh. When Brian came home with the box he set it on the floor and Dylan immediately crawled over, pulled himself up to standing using the side of the box, and began playing with all of the food inside. Somehow he snuck part of a spinach leaf into his mouth. We noticed something in his mouth 10 minutes later and fished out the little piece of spinach, which was not chewed up or anything (the kid only has two teeth!) but was thoroughly slimed. He must have learned that trick from Cooper, who was notorious in his younger days for carrying things like a blueberry or an acorn around in his mouth for long periods of time without chewing them. You’d give him a blueberry and he’d be all like, “Thanks!” and you’d think he had swallowed it until two hours later when it rolled out of his mouth and onto the rug. He actually did this recently and our baby helper had the misfortune of sitting upon the blueberry; luckily she was wearing dark pants.
Thumbs up for super fresh, still-dirty veggies!
Supposedly one box is enough to feed a family of 2-4 people for one week, which is pretty much a load of crap as far as I can tell. We eat a lot of veggies around here, but not an obscene amount, and have had to supplement with non-local veggies and fruits from the grocery store (a travesty, really). But of the veggies we received, nothing went to waste. I am actually quite proud of myself for figuring out how to use everything we got, including things we’d never eaten before like kohlrabi. Oh, it was all so delicious! Here’s what I made:
Sauteed radish tops, kohlrabi bulb, & green garlic
Carrot-quinoa soup (using both the roots and the tops)
Pureed carrots for Dylan
Cole slaw (cabbage, carrots, parsley)
Sauteed collard greens & kohlrabi greens
Spinach salads with radishes, scallions, and carrot tops
And of course we ate the fruit straight-up as snacks
Sauteed radish tops, kohlrabi bulb, & green garlic with cole slaw
We have three more weeks in our 4-week CSA trial. I would like to continue with it because the quality of the food was so good, and because it is very important to me to eat local, sustainably-produced food, but we will need to see if the cost comparison comes out in favor of the CSA or not. I don’t mind spending a little bit more for quality local organic produce, but with my nursing-mama appetite it’s a challenge to keep our food costs under control so we’ll need to see how things shake out.