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Sunday, June 1, 2014

CSA: A Bi-Weekly or Weekly Venture?

Everything consumed in time for Box 2!
For years, we've picked up a weekly CSA box on Saturday mornings from the first weekend in May to roughly the end of January. As our farmer predicted, by year three, we had a system to either eat everything or freeze or can that which we did not consume in a week's time. We did well. Our friends would marvel at how we, two people, managed to eat so many veggies.

Well, those days seemed to be over last year. With the purchase of a quarter cow and half of a pig (to be eaten by the omnivore in the family), we found ourselves with loads of roots and greens that ended up being chicken treats by week's end. Additionally, our gardens have grown exponentially in the past half decade, and when we bought a house in the country, we had hoped to someday be much more self-sustainable.

It seemed the time had come to downsize our CSA box, but we have commitment problems hence no children, no addition to the get the idea. Even downgrading our CSA order seemed so daunting, but we took the leap (sarcasm intended for those of you who can never figure out my sense of humor!).

Well, on May 10th a CSA box was delivered to our normal pickup site, and we weren't on the receiving end. Admittedly, we felt a bit deflated. We doubted our decision. Then, May 17th rolled around. What a joyous occasion to see overwintered spinach and parsnips, freshly dug sunchokes, thick pink stalks of rhubarb, and the bright spring green of sorrel. Heavenly.

We think we made the right decision as this past Saturday, the 31st, we picked up our second box and were able to fit all of our new veggies in the fridge because ... get this: all of our other veggies had been consumed in the past 2 weeks. Regardless of how this first month went, we're going to keep track of how often we run out of veggies too early, how often the chickens are benefiting from our lack of consumption, and how much our gardens are contributing to our overall eating plans. We want to be decision-ready come 2015's order.

Something I made last week that was springy, healthy, and entirely local was Sunchoke-Parsnip soup, adapted from our very own Harmony Valley Farm newsletter. Here's how I made mine:

3 sunchokes
4-5 parsnips
2 Tbs. olive oil
1.5 tsp of salt
1 Tbsp butter
2 Tbs. chopped ramps (onions would work too)
1 quart water
2 cups fresh spinach
1 Tbsp lemon juice
ground black pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cut parsnips and sunchokes and put them into a baking dish with oil and salt. Roast for 30-45 minutes, or until vegetables are tender 

2. Melt butter in a small saucepan. When the butter has melted, add the ramps and saute. Add the roasted parsnips and sunchokes and water and bring all to a simmer. Simmer for 10 minutes.
3. Remove from the heat and stir in the spinach. Once the spinach is wilted, transfer all to a food processor and blend until smooth. Adjust the seasoning and serve.

Makes 4-6 servings.
Nutritional information per cup:
Calories: 113
Carbs: 10
Fat: 8
Protein: 2
Sodium: 28
Sugar: 5