Friday, May 29, 2009

Why I love being a part of a CSA

So, I know. It's only the fourth week of being in our CSA through Harmony Valley Farms, but I am already in love with it. Given the opportunity, I would not willingly purchase sorrel, burdock, ramps, sunchokes, or black radish. It's not that I don't love veggies having briefly flirted with vegetarianism before falling in love with a hard core meat-eater. I just probably wouldn't spend the money on so many untried items on a whim. Enter the CSA. Each week I get the produce that they've grown. I've already bought the share so I feel very obligated to try and find ways to use things I've never cooked with before. I learned a few weeks ago that sunchokes are excellent when tossed with parsnips, potatoes, olive oil, and seasonings and roasted. They're even better eaten raw with ranch dressing. My kids ate them tonight and loved them. I also learned that I don't like sorrel. At all. Like, I won't even swallow it. Fortunately, however, a neighbor loved it in the chicken and Minnesota wild rice soup I made. Burdock is excellent when shaved with a vegetable peeler and deep fried like chips, but not as good thicker like fries. Ramps are so freaking good I can hardly stand it. They taste like a cross between onions and garlic. You can chop up the leaves and throw them into your salad, you can saute the white part too. Mac made a dish with spaghetti and ramps from a Mario Batali recipe that made the house smell incredible long after the dishes had been licked clean. And, truly, happiness is hearing your 3-year old say as he bites into the first asparagus of the season, "Mommy, I like this tree!" In times when french fries are the most recognized vegetable to preschoolers, we owe it to our families and to our farms to teach children (and adults) to eat their veggies. The added benefit of belonging to a CSA is that you get the chance to visit the farm and see how they grow your food. How refreshing for food to go from the ground, into a box, then onto the grill. That's fine dining, in my opinion.

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