I sleep late on Sundays. I realize that to people like Graham, late is something like 3pm, and to people like Me From A Few Months Ago, late is 7:30am. These days, sleeping late for me means I roll out of bed around 10am, still weirded out by the time but also proud of myself for getting the fuck up even though I could squeeze at least another hour out of the morning.
I wake up at 10am because I have to get to the market to pick up our CSA box; rather, I get up at 10am because I need at least one cup of coffee and about 30 minutes of Internet time (PostSecret, the news, probably Tumblr because who are we kidding, I’m no scholar) before I go to the market, and if I wait longer to go to the market, there will be more people on the bus and crowding around the mini-donut stall and I’ll get super frustrated and never want to go there anymore.
It occurred to me recently that our CSA program will end in about a month, and this really bummed me out. I’ve enjoyed participating in it, of not only getting to pick up a box of fucking great produce every week, but also knowing that the money I paid helped to grow this stuff, and that by doing that and eating it and purchasing any other produce I need while I’m at the market, I’m an active part of this community. I am literally eating and shitting 100 miles around Seattle every single week, a fact which is both gross and amazing.
I had this whole thing written about how much it will suck to have to start buying conventional produce at the grocery store again, or even just organic produce at the grocery store again because I can’t guarantee where that’s from or validate its highway robbery cost. I mean, I’ll still buy produce at the market because I choose to, but the bounty of summer is over and already the leafy greens and juicy fruits are gone in favor of roots and tubers. Lots of roots and tubers. And a diet of roots and tubers does not a satisfied Me make, so it’s back to the grocery store for some of the stuff I need. You know, to prevent rickets, at least.
After reading everything I wrote, I realized that I’d veered way far away from how much and why I love our CSA and into angry food warrior territory, a territory where I am absolutely correct but also so sanctimonious that no one will want to read it.
So…you’re welcome, everyone.
Instead, I’ve chosen to stick to the original plan and provide an example of how much I’ve enjoyed this CSA. Well, 13 examples, actually, since I had no idea what I was doing that first week and lost about half of my produce due to my failure to plan or store it properly. Once I figured that part out, I looked forward to each weekly e-mail from the farm alerting us with that week’s box contents, and on the day before pickup, I sat down with my yellow notepad (visible on the Instagram feed because like hell I am saving and re-posting all of those, ya lazy bastards) and wrote out the week’s menu.
Most of the people who have asked me about having a CSA have been concerned about if it’s worth it (oh hell yes) and what happens when I get something I don’t like, or don’t know how to use (I either swap it with the farm, trade it to Courtney, or just figure it the fuck out because who knew I’d like cabbage, kale, and bok choy so much once I learned how to prepare them?). It was a terrific program, and while I realize that it isn’t quite over, this is as good a time as any to assure myself that I will most certainly be doing this again next year (thanks in large part to Courtney, who is also TOTALLY IN), and that all told, I spent several months feeding myself with the best stuff money could buy season-to-season.
Complete with original and added (capitalized, italic) notes, followed for the most part with some leeway in respect to days of the week, some ingredients (usually proteins), and at least once when I went out to eat by myself and spent a shitload on fancy vegetables and good liquor:
Sun: lamb (butter w/ rosemary, mint, thyme) / potatoes / salad (spinach, greens, radish, nectarcot, prosciutto crisp)
Mon: pork loin / chard (bacon, onion) / bread (make gooseberry spread!)
Tues: ramen (broccoli, bok choy, cabbage)
Wed: soup (wax beans, garbanzos, sausage)
Sun: fried chx paillard / salad (corn, potato, feta, snap pea, arugula, basil, Sun Golds?) / nectarcot w/ prosciutto
Mon: salmon or steelhead / roasted carrots + golden beets / beet greens w/ vinaigrette / bread
Tues: frittata (broccoli, red kale, parsley)
– Make basil/mint ice for cocktails
– Juice cucumber (freeze?)
– Zucchini bread?
Sun: quesadillas (grill corn, pork … wilt/sauté arugula, spinach, mustard greens …walla walla, garlic, hatch chiles) / sour cream, cheese – NOTE: this was one of the best meals of the entire summer.
Mon: red wheat bread / apricot spread w/ ginger, vanilla / radishes + butter
Tues: Hash (fingerlings, carrots, beets, walla walla, linguica)
Wed: pizza (fennel sausage, spinach, basil, walla walla)
– Red baby bok choy? (take to Vito’s)
Sun: biscuits w/ apricot spread, go out to eat for once
Mon: pizza (pickled nectarines + walla walla, arugula, comte)
Tues: roasted chickpeas, broccoli, spinach, chx thighs
Wed: borscht w/ beets, purple potatoes
– Gooseberries again? Shrub?
Weeks 6 & 7:
Double CSA pickup! No menu this time, but we made stuffed shells using chard, spinach, basil, onion, garlic, radicchio, and ricotta. The sauce was made with some slow-roasted CSA tomatoes and wine stewed with roasted lamb neck bones.
Sun: NY strip / roasted russets / cauliflower w/ lemon + paprika
Mon: salmon burgers (soy glaze, rainbow carrot + red cabbage slaw, scallions) / steamed bok choy + kale
Tues: salad (arugula, baby gold peaches, breakfast radishes) / biscuits w/ triticale flour / fried eggs
Wed: chili (beans, sweet potatoes, hatch chiles, tomatoes, duck legs)
– Figure out scarlet runner beans!
Sun: Kale salad w/ pecorino + walnuts / omelet w/ linguica + potatoes
Mon: chili mac w/ leftover duck chili
Tues: cauliflower steaks, puree w/ garlic + caramelized fennel / bread w/ butter, salt
Wed: spanakopita (spinach, parsley, dill, lemon, feta)
– Carrot cake oatmeal cookies w/ triticale flour
– Order pork share after Mon.
Sun: braised coconut spinach + chickpeas
Mon: Okonomiyaki (carrots, cabbage, scallions, kale, basil, hoisin, sriracha mayo) – NOTE: This was the best thing I made throughout the entire thing.
Tues: black bean soup w/ CSA corn + lilac peppers
Wed: collards / roast pork loin w/ mustard sauce
– Make apfelkuchen
Sun: baked rigatoni w/ Vito’s Red (spinach, ground lamb, roasted broccoli)
Mon: roast chicken w/ compound herb butter / mashed potatoes / roasted cauliflower w/ vinaigrette
Tues: corn + leek chowder (dill garnish) / bread
Wed: ramen stir fry (friend golden beets, kale, scallions, Siberian garlic)
Sun: casserole w/ chx, cheese, rice (rainbow chard, kale, garlic, parsley)
Mon: pizza w/ onions, peppers, Italian sausage (garlic, spinach, arugula)
Tues: leftover pizza assuming Graham has not already finished it
Wed: roast pork loin w/ mustard / onion, cabbage, purple potato + bleu cheese galette
Chile-braised pork tacos / chopped cabbage slaw / crispy potatoes w/ lime, queso fresco
Sun: stuffed peppers (sausage, beets, celery, onion, carrot) / rice, lentils
Mon: sirloin / collards w/ bacon + onion gravy
Tues: leftover makhani? (carrot, sweet potato, red lentils)
Wed: stir fry (broccoli, scallions, bok choy, basil)
Thurs: white bean soup w/ meatballs (leeks, spinach, arugula, sausage)
– Roast CSA pears w/ almond butter, maple, walnuts, coconut
Sun: yellow fin mashed potatoes / roast savoy cabbage w/ apples, walnuts, kale / pork chops w/ Mia’s mom’s fig spread
Mon: roasted carrots w/ harissa, feta, + mint oil / fennel-lemon braised chix thighs / bread
Tues: cauliflower fritters w/ lemon, feta, leftover mashed potatoes (yogurt, scallions, dill)
Wed: sausage + squash-stuffed pork roast / braised chard / sweet potato biscuits
Fri: baked sweet potatoes w/ black bean-corn chili (cheese, sour cream)
If you’re thinking about a CSA or want to learn more about it, I encourage you to do it. DO IT. It’s so worth it and actually a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to start ours up again next summer.