In an attempt to eat seasonally, support local farms, and lower our grocery bill, we signed up for a CSA. “CSA” stands for Community Supported Agriculture, where we pay a local farm at the beginning of the season for a share of their weekly harvest for the growing season. We were a part of a CSA during our last summer in Kentucky, and it was wonderful. Each week, we would pick up a basket of fresh veggies from a drop off site near our apartment, and then we’d eat seasonally all week long! It really helped us try some things we hadn’t experienced before (like beets, which we now love), and it was great to know exactly where our food was grown.
This time around, I was in the midst of researching a bunch of CSA possibilities in Portland when our apartment manager sent out an email that a CSA was willing to bring shares directly to our apartment, if we were interested. And that pretty much ended the research process for me. So we’re signed up for a CSA through Rocking T Family Farm. They offer a bunch of different share options (different sizes and frequencies), and a discount if you pay for the whole thing in advance. Each week, they will email us a list of what we should expect in our share, and provide some recipe ideas on their blog.
The growing season starts out with a ton of greens, which are not my favorite thing in the world (salad hater: party of one), but I’m going to eat them, by golly.
And since the rest of the world might be wondering what we’re going to do with all this green goodness (or what to do with your own CSA veggies), I’ll share how we’re cooking and eating our week’s share. And please leave a comment if you have a great recipe that incorporates any of these ingredients, as I’m sure we’ll have them again! Mint was probably the easiest thing to incorporate. I used it in this Splattered Egg Curry (recipe is second from the bottom), which was fantastic. And if we weren’t still recovering from the sugar shakes with the Portland Donut Crawl, I probably would have used the mint in my Kentucky Mint Bourbonales, as well (so good and summery!).
The Bok choy ended up as a small side dish (very small, as that stuff cooks down to almost nothing) in this Bok Choy with Garlic and Ginger. It was pretty good, and had a nice Asian flair to it, but I probably should have added some toasted sesame oil at the end to give it a bit more of a kick. I’d also recommend cutting the bok choy into much smaller ribbons than I did, as they all clumped together into a throat blocking mass.
We used the swiss chard in this absolutely delicious Sauteed Chard and Gruyere Grilled Cheese (perfect for the last meal in a string of very rainy days), and served up a side of this Roasted Radish and Asparagus Salad, which used, you guessed it, our radishes. I’ve never enjoyed radishes before, but I think roasting them really helped. In my opinion, they kind of taste like potatoes (is that weird?), and they got some nice flavor from the springy dressing.
I ended up making the kale into kale chips (so fancy, I know). I just removed the stems, ripped the kale into pieces, drizzled it with olive oil, sprinkled it with salt, and baked it at 375 for about 10 minutes. Delish and so crunchy (and gets stuck all up in your teeth, so beware). Had it not turned really warm outside when it came time to eat the kale, I might have used it in this Smoky Kale and Bean Soup, which has been our favorite use for kale during the cold months.
The cabbage leaves proved to be slightly tricky, as all the recipes I could find involved using the leaves as a wrap around some sort of meat and rice. We had some salmon burgers in the freezer, so we grilled those, cut them up, and wrapped them in the leaves with some avocado.
I threw the mustard greens into a red Thai curry I made over the weekend. (With no recipe. Things were getting wild around here.) The curry was really tasty, but I don’t think I could taste the mustard greens at all. And that’s probably okay because something with “mustard” in the name doesn’t really get me excited.
With that, we successfully ate our way through week one of our CSA! Huzzah! Please leave any recipe suggestions in the comments! We’d love some help with dinner ideas!