Wednesday, October 19, 2011

My CSA Box

CSA = Community Supported Agriculture. I was not familiar with this term until a year ago. Basically it's a program where area farmers bring their produce to your doorstep/drop off location for a membership fee or charge per box. It's a food network of sorts. Usually organic. 

We finally decided to give it a try. There were several farms and companies to choose from but I'll spare you those details and say we found one that was a little cheaper and delivered to a drop off site that was more convenient than others. We signed up for a 4-box trial. This meant that we would receive one box every other week for two months. 

I was really excited to try cooking with vegetables that I wasn't used to cooking (or eating) and to try cooking according to season. This was more challenging than I would have thought, but it was fun too.

We just picked up box number four today so I thought I would share with you my experience with my CSA box.

This is what came in our box today! This is by far the most variety we've seen in our four boxes. Boxes 1 and 2 included a wonderful assortment of tomatoes, tomatillos, and herbs but I had a hard time using all of it. This box has some of our favorites: romaine lettuce, egg plant, sweet potatoes, green beans, broccoli, and apples. It also included fennel (which will be the second time I've come into contact with it), swiss chard, tomatoes, radishes, and bok choy (also a new one for me). I have yet to plan how I will use these throughout the coming weeks but I am excited that we have such an assortment!

Over the last few weeks I've tried new recipes to incorporate my new produce. Some were great successes, others just ended up tasting okay but being more expensive in the long run. One of my hopes was that each box would supply us with all the produce we would need for a week making it cheaper than my current form of produce shopping. And it did in quantity but not in the variety. Many of the vegetables could not be used on their own (or if they were it wasn't very filling or tasty). I ended up buying even more produce to supplement what was missing (spinach and lettuce for our salads and fruit which was rarely included).

I've made things like zucchini linguine, pasta with swiss chard, stuffed peppers, swiss chard and zucchini quiche, eggplant ziti, tomato-walnut pesto with pasta, zucchini frittata, and tomatillo salsa. We enjoyed all of them. It also made our evening meals more vegetable based rather than meat based.

I cooked these green beans with dinner tonight. They were so delicious! They looked beautiful too.

So, we've concluded that although it is fun to get a random box of produce every other week, it makes meal planning and budgeting a little harder. My next experiment will be to go to the farmer's market every other week instead. There I will be able to pick out what produce I want for the following weeks and shop around! My hope is that I can make it a more affordable option for my family.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

I love hearing about the different meals you have tried with these vegetables. A relative of mine also did this and liked it, but I think ran into the same frustrations as you. Would be interesting to try though!