As the years have worn on, Nate and I have discovered two things: one, that we are that most pernicious of neo-hippie yuppy, the ones whose thirst for organic and locally-grown produce cannot be slaked, and two, that in our little plot of land in Washington Heights, we will never be the kind of earth-tillers and gardeners we might aspire to be. (Not even windowbox gardeners, sadly -- our apartment is lovely in many ways but "sunny" is never a word the realators would use for the space.) This being the case, we enrolled this spring to be members of our local community-supported agriculture program, or CSA if you're hip. Which we are.
In essense, we forked over a fairly large sum of money (but a reasonable one in the extreme when you prorate it) this March to a farmer in Connecticut. In return, every Tuesday from now until mid-November, for a total of 22 weeks, said farmer (working in cooperation with some farmer neighbours, I believe) agrees to supply us with a share of that week's bounty. We don't get any say in what we get -- although we have been promised that during some weeks, we can select between various like things, such as greens or root vegetables -- or how much, but they've promised us a wide variety from their 15 organic acres and quantities sufficient for "a family of two adults and two children or two enthusiastic vegetable eaters." (Only time will tell if we are sufficiently enthusiastic: I have nightmares of overflowing bags of corn and peppers come late July, but there are worse things, truly.)
I, of course, have been itching for the share to start. This weekend, I pulled a half-dozen of my archived Bon Appetits, Gourmets and Cooking Lights for recipe inspirations, and made a rudimentary spreadsheet of the selected recipes so we wouldn't be caught at a loss no matter what the share threw at us. Today, Nate picked up our inaugural delivery -- and I must say, I think my recipe surfing will not profit us this time. But, here's the spread:
1) One head of bok choy
2) One quart of strawberries
3) One head of escarole
4) Four garlic scrapes
5) One bunch of 10 radishes
6) 3/4 lb of kale
7) 3/4 lb mixed greens
8) One basil plant
Not a bad haul, although the woman running the distribution site today assured Nate that this would be the smallest of the lots by far.
Dinner tonight made use of a few of today's ingredients:
Salad of mixed greens, sliced radishes, avocado, cherry tomatoes and chopped scrapes with olive oil and lemon juice; spinach and four-cheese ravioli sauteed in olive oil, butter and garlic scrapes.
And for dessert, Nate chopped some strawberries and served them over mini spongecakes with vanilla yogurt and ground up flax seed. (The flax seed does not add a tremendous amount of deliciousness, but it does add fiber, which both Nate and I have been instructed to get my our respective doctors. So on it goes.)
So far, so good: I'm a big fan! And Nate -- who, let's be serious, is going to bear the brunt of the labour of this project -- is enthusiastic so far. In fact, he is documenting this experiment himself via pictures (I have stolen the ones in this post from him) at his flickr stream: www.flickr.com/photos/chefelf.