Off to the Races, Week 3

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13 May 2016

  • radishes x2
  • rhubarb
  • anise hyssop plants x2
  • sorrel
  • Ethiopian mustard greens (love the sharp bite)
  • nettle
  • plus ramps! (from a neighbor)

I missed the first two weeks, only to catch the end of the sorrel. It’s been a too-warm winter, too-cool spring.

Menu Week 3

  • radishes: raw for munching
  • mustard greens: sauteed, stirred into Japanese buckwheat noodles
  • sorrel: soup, thickened with potato, cream, 2 eggs; sauteed ramps torn and stirred into soup
  • rhubarb: compote with cherries, braised duck legs in compote, sauteed ramps on side
  • nettles: dunked in pasta water until cooked through, stirred into pasta carbonara
  • bonus: sea scallops with ramps; ramps ‘n scrambled eggs

Sorrel is so terribly delicate. Next year, blanch and puree.

Turn! Turn! Turn!

The results of veggie FOMO

The results of veggie FOMO

It’s been busy since the last post, but that doesn’t mean I’ve stopped supporting J&A Farm with a CSA share. In fact, as crazy change happens, Jeff, Adina, their family, and the food they grow are one of the grounding forces throughout the year.

The blog goals for CSA Year 2016 are to document what I buy every week and what I cook with it. This will mainly take the form of lists with the occasional random longer post. Better to be brief and consistent than sporadically long-winded.

And for the first time ever, I made a New Year’s resolution: to overcome my veggie FOMO. In 2015 I bought five pounds of sunchokes and twenty pounds of tomatoes because… they were there! and they might never come back!! Ever!!! Actually, I cooked and froze the tomatoes for winter et voila, no scurvy. But five pounds of sunchokes just causes flatulence, and many bags of fine produce were wasted.

The point of my resolution is to appreciate the gifts of each week in the season and then to let them go. I can’t preserve everything all the time. The climate hasn’t changed so much – yet – that there won’t be ground cherries or arugula or sunchokes next year. And if the climate does change, then I guess Jeff can work some okra into the rotation. Until then, I’ll appreciate the fruits of his labor and what the season brings.

Why I Joined a CSA

I’m a devoted Fairway shopper, but it kills me not to buy produce directly from a farmer, especially in the summer. Not because I have newly swallowed the Pollan-Waters-Bittman Kool-Aid (respect, yo). I’m from the South, a scant generation removed from grandparents who raised all of their food. Even after they moved off the farm, my grandparents still had a garden. We didn’t call it farm-to-table. Grandpa just went down to the garden before supper.

There must be a word for when you know you have it good, and you don’t think it could ever be otherwise. And then I moved to the New York.

The first year brought a new heartache each month. Strawberries in May? No. Corn in June? Ha. Tomatoes with the Fourth of July? Never. In desperation, I bought hot-house tomatoes from Canada. Cruel joke! Maybe I should plant a garden in my sink… for the roaches and mice. Or join a community garden… and grow a ton of shade-loving hostas between the tall buildings. And then I remembered there were CSA’s in the South. Why not here?

In the South, CSA is a loaded acronym. But for a tomato-deprived girl stranded in strange latitudes, CSA also stands for Community Supported Agriculture. It works like this: customers buy a share with a farmer, who pools the money (with his or her own) to buy seed for the coming season. The farmer nurtures and harvests the crops and delivers them to shareholders during the growing season. Much better than babying rosemary in my sink.

So, three years ago I crossed my fingers and mailed a check for a small share to J&A Farm in Goshen, New York. Because this is New York, I chose J&A mostly for their convenient drop-off site in Manhattan. But I was an investor, too. I did my homework on their farming practices and the variety of crops produced in a season. And then I got invested.

csa harvest, August 2013

csa harvest, August 2013

8 June 2013

Once-a-year cherry blooms blot the paths in Spring shadows. No weighty midsummer dapples here, just treesful of vernal eclipses. Looking up, one pink blossom would fit just the “O” of my mouth. I could swallow them all and bring back the sun.