But let me back up a moment.
CSA, for those who don't yet know, stands for Community Supported Agriculture and basically it's when a local farm offers "subscriptions" to its produce. For a set period of time, once a week you receive a box of whatever produce they happen to be harvesting that week. This is a great way to support your local farmers and a fabulous way to get fresh, local, and often-times organic produce to your family. And hey, if I can avoid a trip to the grocery store - I'm pretty jazzed.
I became very interested in CSAs after reading The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball (I highly recommend it) and since we are currently living in our little townhouse in Klamath Falls - and without my glorious raised garden bed back in Albany - a CSA seemed like just the thing for us. I researched the area and after having a very disappointing experience with one local grower, I discovered Staunton Family Farm.
Staunton Family Farm is just outside Tulelake, CA, which is about 30 minutes from Klamath Falls. They have quite a few pick-up places in K Falls and once you designate your chosen pick-up spot, you visit each Thursday to get your little box of veggie-heaven. We have been traveling quite a bit this summer, so signing on for all the cycles didn't make much sense, but I was able to get us signed up for the latter two cycles (8 weeks) of late summer/early fall.
This was my very first experience with a CSA (aside from my rather disappointing phone conversation with the other grower which really shouldn't even count) and I must say it was a pleasure! Siennalee and I located our designated pick-up spot, a local church, followed the Staunton Family Farm signs into the church basement and there were greeted by three very friendly young ladies. Behind them was a horseshoe configuration of three long tables all laden with produce.
As it was my first time picking up a CSA box, one of the gals showed me that one side of the horseshoe was for the half-boxes (which we had requested) and the other side for whole boxes. She walked along with me and pointed out each different vegetable (all ready for you in bunches or baggies) and even gave me tips on how to prepare them - like fava beans. She also suggested simple recipes for the odd items such as beets and pointed out the bin where you "donate" whatever veggie you're not interested in and then the other subscribers are able to take extra from the bin if they like. I added my spinach and took an extra bag of salad greens from the bin. :)
Siennalee was quite pleased to be able to pick out a small bouquet of Zinnias and shyly said thank you to the friendly trio. What a lovely experience! But even better was when we got home.
|Behold. The CSA box.|
|I just get giddy every time I see this.|
|Siennalee picked out the bouquet with the most red flowers. Of course. She also gave one to the little neighbor girl. Not a red one though. ;)|
|These carrots are so sweet! They were perfect in the big salad I made as soon as I got the box home.|
I wasn't sure about taking the beets until the gal walking with me told me how to blanch and peel them, then saute them up a bit with some EVOO and a sweet Walla-Walla onion, then add balsamic vinegar and goat cheese. Well, I have to say I haven't been feeling so hot lately, so a lot of my favorite foods have been ignored - but in my normal state I absolutely LOVE goat cheese, sweet Walla-Walla's, and balsamic vinegar (all together or by themselves - no matter), and since I anticipate at some point having my normal state of taste returned to me, I took the beets on in good faith.
|A zucchini by any other name... is pretty much the same. :)|
This lil guy's name I completely spaced, but it's a type of zucchini and it's grown a lot in France. I took him because I thought he was cute.
Staunton Family Farm includes a newsletter each week with a brief note to members, a list of the current offerings, and recipes. The girls were quick to tell me that this was a fun newsletter and not typical. I wondered at this a bit until I got it home and saw the extra humor peppered through it.
This week's offerings were: lettuce salad greens, spinach, beets, carrots, green onions, zucchini, varied squashes, snap peas, snow peas, a sampling of cherry tomatoes, wax and string beans, baby potatoes, basil, and parsley. Perfect.
Today I pulled up my big girl boots and ventured into the kitchen (a place that has not been my favorite haunt lately) to make some late-summer vegetable soup with a good portion of the vegetable selection from the box.
|One of my favorite recipes - and freezes beautifully too for those winter days when you miss the flavor of late summer.|
|Sorry Jason, there may not be enough left for dinner.|
I'm already looking forward to next Thursday!