This is the story of my weekly CSA. My box comes from Nichols Farm & Orchard in Marengo, Ill. The farmers at Nichols Farm send out a weekly email that contains a list of items likely to appear in the share and details about what they’re planting and harvesting, which always is interesting to me because as a city dweller, it’s easy to be a bit out of touch with in-season crops.
The start of the CSA brings excitement and a small amount of apprehension. I already can’t wait for tomatoes, peas, and shell beans. It will be a delicious summer, but the weekly delivery of my own little share of farm-fresh vegetables stretches my creativity when planning meals. I love to problem solve, but I’m not going to sugar-coat it—sometimes the box can be intimidating. My goal with this blog is to share how I used my box and exchange ideas and inspiration with other CSA recipients.
The first share arrived June 3. The week’s bounty included mixed baby lettuce, spinach, white globe radishes, arugula, mizuna, rapini, Yukon Gold potatoes, spring onions, asparagus, and rhubarb.
When I unload the box, my mind starts working on the menu. Radishes are easy. I’ll eat those with butter and salt on crusty bread. And fresh baby lettuce doesn’t need a whole lot to make it shine. For that, I prepared a lemon anchovy vinaigrette I saw as I flipped through the June 2014 issue of Bon Appétit.
The potatoes and spring onions got tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper and roasted in a 400-degree oven until tender. Once done, I stirred in a couple tablespoons of butter and adjusted the seasonings. This and the rapini were two very delicious side dishes to mushroom-gravy-smothered pork chops.
Spinach and asparagus paired well with gnocchi and a creamy lemon sauce and the mizuna ended up in a stir-fry with tofu and bok choy with a side of sesame spinach. And, watermelon and arugula salad with feta and balsamic glaze tasted like the beginnings of summer.
The red bundles of rhubarb nestled in the bottom of the box were enough to make two desserts: a simple strawberry rhubarb crisp and a rhubarb strawberry cake, which consisted of a layer of fruit compote underneath a vanilla cake. I love rhubarb. It’s season always seems so short, so having it this week was definitely a treat.
Do you receive a CSA? What did you get this week? What did you make?