The Desert Homestead Blog
Urban and rural sustainable homesteading in the desert southwest

Food Friday: Joining a CSA

I recently joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). The way it works is that you prepay for a session — $247 for 13 weeks in this case — and then pick up your “share” of produce each week. This allows the farmer to have capital to grow his crop and a guaranteed market for it.

The produce available varies each week; if the crop is good, the share is larger and if the crop is poor, the share is smaller.  It’s all organic and locally grown, and the cost is generally less than what you’d pay for organic produce at Whole Foods or similar markets, although it’s more expensive than non-organic produce at a grocery store.

My share this week included:

  • 4 red potatoes
  • 2 small winter squash
  • 5 carrots
  • 1 bell pepper
  • 1 bunch arugula
  • 1 bunch basil
  • 2 yellow onions
  • 5 fresh green chiles

A week's share of produce

One of the fun things about a CSA is that you have to learn to cook with unusual vegetables. A couple weeks ago my share included amaranth greens (aka lambs quarters or quelites), which was a new one for me. I searched the ‘net and discovered that you could substitute baby spinach for amaranth greens in recipes. I decided to try the reverse and used them to make Quiche Florentine (see post below).  The Boy pronounced it “fucking awesome”.

You have to accept that not every new food will be this successful. For example, arugula is a spicy, peppery green I had heard of but never tried. A ‘net search turned up a recipe in which it was used in place of basil for pesto and spread on tilapia fillets and baked. The results were mediocre at best … I’d much rather use basil in the future.

It can be a challenge to come up with creative, tasty ways to use the vegetables, but I’m having fun trying!


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