Saturday, July 11, 2009

First CSA Experience

My friend Kayla clued me in to this Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement that's sweeping the country. Maybe it's not a movement, maybe it has been going on forever, and I'm just now learning about it. But there is a CSA farm in Upland, where we're moving.
Basically, you buy a share of this farm for a year, and then you get a portion of their harvest during that season. Our season lasts from the beginning of June through October. So we are going to have fresh, organic, locally-grown produce for that amount of time. Our CSA does mostly vegatables and herbs. Then they have pasteur-fed chickens and eggs as well. After you've paid for your share, it equals out to about $1 per pound of vegetables.
So at Victory Acres this is how it works --> You go and check off your name and pick up your veggies and herbs. They have this list of how much of each thing you get, and you get to gather it from these crates and pick which ones you want. This week we had summer squash, red & yellow onions, cucumbers, swiss chard, and basil. If you get a vegetable that you and your family don't particularly like, or you have too much of it, you can take it and leave it in the "swap box." Then if there is anything that you particularly would like more of you can check the "swap box" and just take it. Also, if there is anything they have in over-abudance you can pick as much of it as you want by yourself. This week they had quite a bit of basil, so they supplied pesto recipes and let us go pick a ton of it. We were able to pick basil, oregano, thyme, and chives. Let's just say, my car smelled was a very fragrant vehicle!
I would encourage you to check out a CSA in your area, most people don't even know they exist, but several farms have drop-offs in larger cities too.

Here's the pesto recipe that we'll be trying this week!


3 cups (packed) fresh basil leaves
3-4 large cloves of garlic
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup parmesan
Optional: 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts, lightly toasted
Optional: salt & peper to taste

1) Place basil and galric in a blender or food processor and mince well
2) Add nuts, if desired and continue to blend.
3) Drizzle in olive oil as you continue to blend. When you have a smooth paste, transfer to a bowl and stir in parmesan.
4) Season to taste with salt and pepper, refrigerate in an air-tight container.

Pesto is often used with pasta, fish, etc. One of my favorite uses for it is to mix it with cream cheese as a sandwich spread. Enjoy!

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