Thursday, October 22, 2009

CSA Love: week one

About 5 years ago, while living in Chicago, I heard about this amazing thing called CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). While I'm sure many of you savvy blog readers have probably heard of this, I was surprised when no one at my work knew what I was talking about. When you join a CSA, you buy a share in a local farm for a set period of time. Each week, you get a selection of the ripe produce from that farm--in whatever quantity or variety there happens to be that week.

I had been wanting to join one for years, but I kept picking up and moving right in the middle of every subscription period. Luckily for me, now that I live in a hot part of the country, farms can grow veggies year-round. I just joined a CSA for a local farm, and today was my first pick-up. I've been excitedly talking about it for two days, and it didn't disappoint! My spoils:

A huge, sweet watermelon
roasted chilis (yum!)
swiss chard
i'itois onions (similar to scallions)
braising mix (does anyone know what I am supposed to do with this bag of leafy greens?)
butternut squash

I'm so excited--I think it will be a real cooking adventure for me, and I'll try to share any interesting recipes that I come across. I've never cooked with swiss chard (send recipe ideas!), and have only a little experience with butternut squash, so I think this could open up all kinds of new possibilities.

I'd really encourage you to check out Local Harvest, a non-profit website that allows you to search for farms, CSAs, and farmer's markets in your area. For a lot of CSAs you need to sign up pretty early to get a spot, so it wouldn't hurt to start your search soon!


Chelsea said...

I discovered swiss chard when I first went to the local farmer's market. It's delicious! Basic recipe is just to saute in butter and garlic. Yum! It also works well uncooked as a wrap to stuff things in. Slightly bitter taste, but holds up well.

Wendolene said...

Looks delicious! I am sorry to say I don't have any suggestions to offer as far as cooking, but I look forward to seeing the results!

Petit Filoux said...

Butternut squash is gorgeous roasted. Just drizzle a little olive oil on the top, in the oven for 45min, no need to peel, it'll come out gorgeous! You could eat it like that or blitz it to make a lovely soup. I love love love butternut squash!!! And don't throw away the seeds, just clean them, put them on a baking tray, drizzle a little oil and some salt and roast until golden. They make a brilliant snack!!

Unknown said...

There are some great Swiss Chard recipes on That's how I learned what to do!

HBSigrid said...

My favorite Swiss chard recipe: saute 2 head chopped chard in olive oil, add small can chopped tomatoes, small can white beans (rinsed), 1/2 tsp thyme and sage. Put in small casserole, top with bread crumbs and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Love this stuff for how healthy it tastes.

Farmgirl Susan said...

Congratulations on your first CSA pick-up! What beautiful bounty. It's always fun to see what people get. And I may be able to help you out, because I just happen to love Swiss chard. In fact, I'm on a one farmgirl mission to convince everybody on the planet to grow and eat more chard. ; )

One of my favorite recipes is for Swiss Chard Artichoke Pizza, and there are links to several of my other Swiss chard recipes in that post. Bon appetit!