Well, we can finally cross something off our bucket list! We signed up for a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) membership a few months ago, and just picked up our first basket of food!
First, let me explain the whole ‘CSA’ concept. I did a project on Community Supported Agriculture in one of my agriculture classes a few years ago, which is what really sparked my interest in joining one. Basically, you join the CSA by purchasing a share of the harvest. You pay before the season begins, which gives the farmers money to purchase the inputs for farming. This is great for the farmer because it reduces the financial burden at the beginning of the season. And it’s great for the consumer because they get a basket of fresh produce every week.
We joined the Three Springs Farm CSA. Three Springs Farm is an organic farm in Carlisle, Kentucky (located about an hour northeast of Lexington). We didn’t want to get in too far over our heads, so we’re doing the smallest share, which means we’ll pick up our basket of food every other week. I picked up our first basket yesterday afternoon, and man, oh man, am I excited! And I’m also a little nervous. After picking up the basket, I realized I’m going to have to figure out how to cook and eat all of this stuff. Luckily, I have a seemingly endless supply of cookbooks, so I will be perusing these on my day off.
Our first CSA basket is full of all kinds of exciting things, many of which I’ve never eaten before. Here’s what we got:
-red bibb lettuce
-green bibb lettuce
I think the real challenge is going to be eating all of this stuff before it goes bad. After picking up our basket last night, I had about an hour before Eric got home to decide what we would have for dinner. We’ve been living off of leftovers for the past few days, not wanting to go grocery shopping until we knew what veggies we would be eating this week. So I took inventory of what we had in the cupboards and fridge (which was pretty much cheese and spices), and decided we would have pasta with arugula and garlic chives. So here’s our first ‘on the fly’ CSA dinner, which turned out to be pretty darn tasty.
Pasta with Arugula
whole wheat penne pasta
1 cup marinara sauce (I am in love with marinara sauce and believe that it can make anything taste phenomenal)
1/2 tablespoon EVOO
garlic chives, chopped (I used 4 pieces, but you could definitely add more for more flavor)
two hand fulls arugula (it cooks down a lot, so feel free to add more!)
grated romano cheese (or whatever cheese you have on hand)
Begin cooking pasta according to package instructions. Make sure to add salt to the boiling water, as that’s the only chance you have to flavor the pasta.
While the pasta is cooking, heat your marinara sauce in a saucepan or in the microwave.
Add the EVOO to a skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped garlic chives and sauté until browned (this will smell heavenly).
About a minute before the pasta is finished cooking, add your arugula to the pot. Let it cook for a minute and then drain the pasta and arugula. Serve topped with marinara sauce, garlic chives, and grated cheese.
If you have any idea how to eat the foods in our CSA basket, please share your recipes! I’m a bit intimidated by the radishes, in particular. We’ll be sharing our experiments with you!