Sunday, March 13, 2011

Week of the CSA

This past week was Spring break at UF.  A good friend of mine, Alexis, is a member of a local organic CSA (A CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farming operation where the growers and consumers share the risks and benefits of food production. CSAs usually consist of a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables and fruit).

Since Alexis was planning to be out of town for spring break she generously offered to give me all of this weeks fresh fruit and veggies.  I was so excited because I hope to someday become a part of one myself and I thought this would be the perfect way to sort of test it out and see how I liked it and what I thought.

I would have LOVED to have had the chance to pick everything up myself but I had to work during pickup times.  I sent my dad who works just down the street to pick everything up for me.  First big mistake: I'm sure the farmers told my dad exactly what they were giving him but since my dad knows nothing about vegetables most of it went over his head.

By the time the produce got to me all my dad could tell me was "spinach and strawberries... and a whole lot of other green stuff."

My dad usually rides the bus home but since I made him pick up all my veggies I thought it would be mean to make him carry it all home on the bus so I picked him up from work.

While I was waiting for him to come out I watched this gorgeous sunset... which looked way better in person

Then I got bored.
My dad takes 13408234 years to actually leave work.  It doesn't matter how many times you call/text him telling him you're on your way, you're turning thus and such corner, you're almost there, you're in the parking lot... he will still take at least 15 minutes to come out.  This is why I usually refuse to pick him up from work and I have no sympathy for him when he misses the last bus.

Well I had to entertain myself somehow

The crazy person stuck in the car look is a good look for me, no?

This is my "if my arm was this skinny I would look super muscular" pose.  Hahaha, obviously I am seriously deluded.

He finally came out and my crazy photo shoot was cut short.  Thankfully... ;)

When I got all the veggies into the light I started to play a guessing game trying to figure out what everything was.  After some google sleuthing I decided I had: Romaine lettuce, swiss chard, collard greens, spinach, strawberries, cilantro and... maybe more cilantro?  Something parsley looking.

So now the challenge:  Use everything up before it goes bad without spending any more money.

The strawberries were easy.  Gone by Tuesday morning.
The spinach was also relatively easy.  I used most of it up in olive oil pasta which I made twice.  Then I used the rest in my green monsters.

Yesterday I used up either the cilantro or parsley or whatever it was along with the collard greens.  The cilantro/parsley/mystery green smelled gross and made my stomach turn and I didn't really think it did a thing for what I put it in but it wasn't bad and I'm sure it was great for me so no complaints there.

I give you permission to make fun of my food photography.  I was obviously not cut out to be a food photographer.  This is the stuffing before it was wrapped in the collard green leaves.  Onions, mystery parsley thing, grated carrots, garlic, barley, wheat germ, salt and pepper.

I made stuffed collard rolls with a few changes and next time I would change even more.  Number one on that list is the tomato sauce that the rolls were in.  It just didn't do anything for me - kind of bland and a little too sweet.  The rolls are actually pretty good but for some reason the collard green wrapping turns me off.  I think I would enjoy the collard green better if it was just cooked and cut up as part of the stuffing.  I sort of felt the way I used to as a kid eating vegetables.  The only way I used to be able to get them down was to turn off my mind completely and try not to think about what I was eating.  I'm ashamed to admit that I sort of have to do this when eating these rolls. 

If I look at the roll it doesn't look very appealing - apparently I need to go to food assembly school because it doesn't matter how delicious a food is, when I make it the food usually looks pretty unappealing.  This is no way to sway non-vegetarian's opinions on non-meat foods.  If I don't think about the way it looks and just eat it the roll is pretty good.  It's not phenomenal though, it's not a food that I think I would ever crave. 

Hopefully I'll like what I'm planning to make with the swiss chard a little better.  Tonight I am planning to make a Swiss Chard Torta.  This particular recipe calls for eggs, parmesan cheese and Gruyere cheese.  I don't plan on using any of these and will have to fudge these ingredients a bit.  I'm thinking flax eggs, nutritional yeast and maybe some daiya or almond cheese (which sadly isn't actually vegan, it has milk casein).  Wish me luck!

After that I'll just have a bunch of leftovers to finish off.  Normally this wouldn't bother me but I have a whole list of recipes I've been dying to try and I can't try any of them until I clean out the fridge a bit.  Time to get eating!

After my week experience with being a part of a CSA I am not as excited as I had been about the prospect of actually being a part of one.  It would probably be a weekly struggle to finish off all of the veggies that I got and it would also be hard feeling like I had to use up vegetables that I didn't even particularly enjoy (ie: a bunch of greens).  If we were talking potatoes, carrots, onions, turnips, etc (read: any vegetable that is not a leafy green) then I think it would be a lot easier to eat everything.  I have thought that I could just start making a whole bunch of green monsters but if I'm going to pay $300-500 for several months of produce I want something other than leafy greens.

I'll have to do some more research and talk to Alexis about what she typically gets and how the heck she uses it all up by herself.


  1. You are too funny. Love the pics

    I need to join a CSA, seriously. We have aCSA market like 15 minutes from here but the delivery sounds awesome

  2. Haha, thanks ;)

    I completely believe in supporting local organic agriculture and farmers but I don't think I can handle the amount of produce they give each week since it's just me and my mom eating everything. I think for now I'll stick to the CSA markets. It was a fun experience though!