I know it’s August, but our CSA box is still looking a lot like July: potatoes, tomatoes, basil, garlic, Japanese eggplant, peppers.
Our CSA newsletter this week provided some sad news, after today (Wednesday) only 7 more weeks of vegetables (just 3 of flowers!); the last boxes will be delivered the last week in September. We have loved the routine of getting our box of goodies on the way home from school each Wednesday, and the challenge of coming up with an acceptable (as decided by my family) and creative (as decided by me) menu each week has been one to which I have (generally) gladly risen. Although weekly menu planning will certainly still be somewhat of a challenge, I will miss having Ken’s produce be the motivating factor. Guess I’ll have to settle for inspiration from the Farmers’ Market on the whole.
I also thought I would share this interesting note from Ken about how CSAs tend to work, and how ours differs:
The original model for a CSA was one in which the members bought a “share” of the farm’s harvest, assuming some of the risk along with the farmer. It was understood that when times were good, the members would receive more, when the season was poor, they would receive less. We have never represented our CSA as following that model. When we started our CSA 7 years ago, it represented 15% of our produce sales, so the model simply didn’t work. I looked around at what other folks around the country were doing and decided that what made the most sense with the context of our business was a strait dollar value for the boxes, based on farmers market prices. The price you paid for a small share works out to an average of $18 per week,$26 for a regular share. We assign a value to every item that goes in the box and keep a record of it. The amount will vary a bit from week to week, but we always make sure by the season’s end you will have received at least that amount. During parts of the season when we have an abundance, we put more than that value in the boxes, in case of lean times later. For several weeks now the boxes have contained considerably more than that average weekly amount, as July has been an abundant time. There may be a little less during later weeks (with blueberries and melons over) or we may just give you more than you paid for. Depends on how the rest of the season goes.
So, here’s a taste of what we’re planning to have this week.
- Quinoa patties with tomatoes, avocados and whole grain mustard
- Whole Wheat Pasta with homemade tomato sauce (using the tomatoes and last-week’s peppers)
- Pan Fried Mung Beans with Tempeh (from Super Natural Everyday)
- Baked Polenta with sliced Early Girl tomatoes, fresh basil (or basil pesto) and goat cheese crumbles (recipe below)
- Two Bruschettas: classic tomato and sauteed pepper, served with grilled meat or fish
- 2 3/4 cups canned low-salt chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 1/2 cups milk
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
- 8 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (about 1 1/2 ounces; optional)
- Sliced tomatoes (whatever is in season)
- Fresh basil (to taste- maybe ¼ cup loosely packed), roughly chopped
- Goat cheese (or feta) crumbles (to taste)
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Butter 2-quart soufflé dish.
- Bring first 5 ingredients to a low boil in a large, heavy saucepan. Gradually add the cornmeal, whisking until smooth. Reduce heat to low; cook until cornmeal is very soft and mixture is thick and creamy, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in 6 tablespoons Parmesan cheese (if using). Season with pepper.
- Transfer roughly half to prepared dish. Placed sliced tomatoes over polenta, top with fresh basil and goat cheese. Spread the remaining polenta over top, carefully spreading to edges of the pan.
- Sprinkle 2 tablespoons Parmesan over polenta.
- Bake polenta until heated through and golden on top, about 30 minutes.