Yesterday I picked up our first CSA (community shared agriculture) share from Roots and Shoots farm. I was supposed to pick it up Wednesday in Manotick, but apparently I can’t read simple directions and managed to miss the first pick-up entirely, but they were nice enough to let me come out to the farm for the Manotick Station pick-up day and let me get my share on Thursday.
Not only do they offer yummy, organic, seasonal, local vegetables, but they send out an amazingly helpful e-mail with suggestions on how to prepare and enjoy food that may be a little exotic for families who subsist on a diet of vegetables you would mostly find in a 1970s garden salad with French dressing. In the brown faux-wood bowl, of course.
In this week’s share we got:
- Garlic Scapes
- Hakurei Turnips
- Spring Onions
- Swiss Chard
Look! Not scary at all!
With the exception of Hakurei turnips, I had previously heard of all of these things, and the only one that continues to intimidate me is the Swiss Chard. I picked up my share after work and with grilled peppercorn steaks already planned for dinner, I was excited to dig in to our bounty. I used the head lettuce in a salad with tomato and cucumber, just to ease the family in to the idea, and scrubbed up the Hakurei turnips and tossed ’em on a plate as Roots and Shoots suggested they taste best raw.
Thanks to a suggestion on Facebook, I put the garlic scapes into some tin foil with some butter, sea salt and pepper and grilled ’em up with the steak.
Oh! My! Good! God! The roasted garlic scapes were the highlight of the meal. Considering I’d never heard of them before our farm visit two weeks ago, they’ve shot to the top of my summer must-eat list. I dropped ’em on top of my steak the way you’d eat fried onions or fried mushrooms with a steak and they were divine!!
So on our very first share collection day, we ate our way through three of eight items, probably no more than 20 or so hours after they were growing in the field. How awesome is that?
But even after noshing our way through more than a third of our bi-weekly share in the first hour, I had a bit of a problem:
These vegetables are much, um, larger than I’m used to. The Swiss chard alone needs its own fridge. Clearly this whole CSA thing is going to lead to more lifestyle changes than I anticipated.
I’m already excited about my next share, but in the interim I’m headed out to the Manotick farmer’s market on Saturday morning to stock up on more garlic scapes. And I might need a little more mouthwash, too!
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