Photo by Donna (click the photo to go to her posts)

So this is it, a gloomy fall day, and smallish haul (summer’s bounty fading, sigh), with a lot of green plum tomatoes, not even very good green plum tomatoes.  Anyone have a good pickling recipe for them!? Think I may try a curry flavored pickle.  Would fry them but have been having too much fun frying the sweet potatoes—so much better than russets!

Parsley, kale, lettuces, beets, some nice crisp apples, onions, scallions, delicious watermelon.

So what’s the final verdict on this summer’s CSA experience?  Ours?  The product over all was good.  I think the value was acceptable, and worth it for the quality and for our desire to encourage and support the farmers who help us get good food for our families.

There is only one negative, but it’s a big one.  Choice.  I really, really like choosing what I eat.  Also, I get ideas and hungers for specific dishes and so want to cook that way.  Also, sometimes the Amish folks at the North Union Farmer’s Market, where I would otherwise go, have gorgeous lima beans, or fresh soy beans, that are too good to pass up.  Because we had this CSA, I’d often skip the market unless I needed chicken or pork.  Part of summer’s fun is finding something gift-of-god gorgeous that you simply must buy and cook.  I miss that surprise and cooking that way.

So for me, I don’t think CSA is the way to go.  Or maybe I’ll side with Donna who suggested getting a small share next year, and supplementing it with goods from the farmer’s market.

You?  What’s your verdict. (And if you have a link for a cool green tomatoes recipe, please leave it in comments!)

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69 Wonderful responses to “CSA Week 20 — The Final Delivery”

  • Jenna

    I kind of like the surprise (and challenge) of not knowing what will come in the CSA, but then again, I don’t have a good farmer’s market to enjoy either. And, sort of speaking of challenges, is there a good recipe for baby turnip greens? They seemed sort of spikey, and I am at a loss.

  • michelle muldrow

    too many green peppers.I realize I want my own choices,I wouldn’t mind the challenge of making something new every week from what has arrived,except,I think I am too fussy about the vegetables I like and don’t like and that is where the scales have tipped out of favor for weekly delivery..

  • Vivian

    I love the thought of a CSA, as a matter of fact we deliberated purchasing a 1/2 share for a while. But I love being able to shop the farmer’s markets, and since it is just two of us in our household it really just made sense for us to continue to do that.

  • Richard

    I’ve balked at joining a CSA for many of the same reasons Michael. In aiddition, there are only two of us, and though I like vegetables a lot, I’m afraid many would go bad before I could use them. Many of the farmers that offer a CSA show up at my local market, so I’m able to go pick out what I want instead of taking what they give me. I also get inspired by what I find at the market, such as a flounder that came out of the water Friday afternoon becomes a stuffed flounder for Saturday’s dinner. I may pay a bit more, but I get what a want and don’t waste anything.

  • Michele

    I agree with Donna. You get the surprise and challenge of making your CSA work and the fun of shopping the farmers markets. Plus you support the farmers in 2 ways! My sister in VA has a CSA that offers meat as one of the plans. Would be nice to find that in OH.

  • tea_austen

    I’ve done CSA programs in the past, but always still went to the market for favorite items, bread, and cheese. The nice thing for me was that, in the summer when I am often out of town on weekends, I didn’t *need* to go to the market every Saturday. I had my produce needs covered.

    I currently do a different program, here in Seattle. One of the local farms allows you to buy “farm dollars” early in the season. This way they get their money in spring when they need it (like the CSA), and I have a voucher I can use slowly over the summer and into the fall/winter to buy the products of theirs I like and want. I think you even get $350 worth of produce for $300–something like that. You are confined to the goods from one farm, but you get to pick and choose and buy five bunches of fennel in one week if you want. I wonder if any farms in your area do something similar. Though it must be a fairly large farm to support this sort of system. The smaller ones–and those just starting out–need the CSA box model for planning purposes.

    I found the CSA a great introduction to cooking seasonally, and it made me work with vegetables I never would have bought on my own. Some of them are now favorites, so the challenge was good and made me get creative in ways I wouldn’t have otherwise. Also, helping support a small farm and learning more about what they are up against was invaluable. They had a great newsletter and I felt like I knew, week by week, what was going on in the fields. Gave me a lot of respect for those who grow our food. I missed them when I moved away.

  • craigkite

    Is that a purple pepper? And you resisted using your poetic license on a tongue twister? Having belonged to a “Food Co-Op” in the early 70s, I learned a lot about being compelled to deal with the excess from bumper crops. A lot does not get used in time with a family of only 2 or 3. I still prefer the choice and quantities that the Farmers’ Market affords us.

  • Jennifer S

    I love the CSA, and I’m on a first name basis with my farmer. I still go to the Farmer’s Market to supplement, when I need items not in my box. Logistics aren’t a problem for me, and my commute times to the Farmer’s Market is short, so I am often there each week, anyway. It was a challenge at first to change my thinking about “What can I cook with X” vs. finding a recipe, then buying ingredients for a single recipe, but it’s made me more creative, and I’ve tried things I wouldn’t have. We have changed our share size some from year to year, based on the options that fit us (more salad, getting the box every other week, etc).

  • Badger

    We had a CSA a while back. We were only doing a half share, which meant getting a box every other week instead of every week. The quality and variety was fantastic (year-round growing season here in central TX) but we ended up wasting too much of it. My husband and kids aren’t veggiephiles like I am, so I ended up eating at least 80% of it myself, and not even I can eat that much kohlrabi. I did try pickling and freezing and whatnot but still, way too much food for the way my family eats. We stopped our deliveries after a year. Happily, the farm that did our CSA also sells at a local farmer’s market so we still get to support the farm and have access to all that great food, but we can stick to buying only as much as we can handle. Win-win!

  • JB in San Diego

    +1 vote for Donna’s idea. CSAs aren’t the only way to support your local farmer, but it’s one way. They need all the help they can get these days.

  • doxie mama

    Our CSA in Fort Worth is a hybrid – the farmer packs half the box for the week and you get to pick the remainder. She grows a lot of antique and rare varieties which makes it even more fun – and challenging.

  • Fred

    I did a CSA for the first time, and don’t know if I’ll be returning. I loved a lot of it, but there were challenges. But I think my challenges are more unique than most others.

    I do love the farm I chose. Near where I grew up (and where my parents were to make some pickups when I couldn’t). The people that ran it were a great family, and I’ve recommended the CSA to a few people.

    While it seems many of you decry the lack of choice, it was something I enjoyed. Getting vegetables I would not otherwise have brought in the store got me to think outside my normal culinary box. It introduced some vegetable variety I had been lacking. As a young guy, I discovered some vegetables that I never knew I liked because my parents would never make them

    What I loved the most was meat. I loved that every few weeks, we would get some chicken or veal. I also loved the occasional prepared goods. Jelly, muffins, even camel apples. And while the main pickup season is over, I’m looking forward to the turkey we will be getting in a few weeks.

    I had two primary issues that will probably stop me from subscribing again. The biggest was an issue of quantity. I’m a single guy. Most weeks, it was just too much, leading to waste. Unfortunately, there was no half share option (logical, as many weeks you would get an impossible to split whole chicken, or melon, or something like that) so I need to take a share designed for a family.

    My second issue is just one of timing. For 22 weeks, I have a bit of a crimp on my Saturday plans as I have to be out there to pick up my stuff. I’m also paying for that week even if I’m on vacation and giving it all away. To me, that is where the lack of flexibility lies. Even if I went with a more local one that has a local drop, I still have to stick with a specific day and time. That probably isn’t a big deal for most, but it was a challenge for me.

    So I think next year, I’ll stick to farmers markets. What I really would like to see, though, is a meat CSA.

  • Abigail @ Sugar Apple

    They tried CSA-style box deliveries at my daughter’s school for a while but it wasn’t really a success and I stopped using it. Found by dealing directly with the farmers I can get more variety, better prices, and the produce I want in the quantity I need it.

    The plum tomatoes might be better in a chutney than pickled since they’re smallish and not too pretty. Chopped green tomatoes, sliced onions, malt or cider vinegar, brown sugar, raisins, chopped chili peppers, salt. Flavor as desired…maybe a little ginger, cardamom, mustard seed, white pepper. Cook until it thickens, about an hour. Then process or refrigerate for more immediate use. Fantastic with a mature cheddar and good on a burger too.

  • SBS

    I love being inspired by what looks amazing at the farmers market. I Don’t like the idea of someone else choosing for me.

  • Jess

    I make mincemeat with green tomatoes, if you’re a fan of that, it cans very well and it doesn’t seem to matter what kind of tomatoes were used.

    For the first time in about 4 years, we’ll be able to NOT cover the garden for first freeze – tons of tomatoes, hot peppers, beets, carrots, tomatillos this year. In CO, if you survived the hail in May, the season was fantastic!

  • guy

    I’d like to first say that this year our CSA added a sort of “flexi-share” program, where there were certain choices (much like a “trade”) allowed. It was a slightly higher cost too. Since we split a “super share” (double-sized) with a neighbor, we were also able to further modify what we ended up with on a weekly basis (we’re not eating so much corn, they don’t enjoy eggplant, for example).

    But I also have to say that I think the “farm to table” experience is fully dependent on what a farm is harvesting that week. Their planting schedule dictates what is available. Some of the CSA programs I’ve seen are actually farm co-ops, so different farms are planting different things. I like the fact that I don’t know, until that week, what is fresh, what is being harvested, etc. I like that corn, for example, is a little scrawny the first week they are harvesting, and then are much better as the season hits its peak. I like that we tend to get fast-growing greens and lettuce early in the season, and then get hardier greens towards fall. I think that has taught us (and I’m speaking in the sense of my family) to be more aware of what the season means. We can, and do, supplement from the local market.

  • Kara

    In the Boston area this is a farm at the farmers market that offers a market share program, you prepay, get a discount on all purchases at the stand. Great way to support the farmers while still being able to pick your own things. That said, I still have gone with the traditional CSA. My CSA offers bike delivery of the goods for an extra fee, which is great because I come home from work and there are my goodies. I love the challenge of planning a menu around what I got but I can see that its not for everyone.

  • omglawdork

    We’re lucky enough to have year-round CSAs here in Austin, and after a whole year, we don’t think we’ll be re-upping next quarter. The food is fantastic, and the price is good, but – like you – I just miss the choice too much. Since I’m not inspired to cook a lot of the veggies that are coming along (I love ratatouille, but I think my husband was going to stage a revolt if I made it one more time with the mountains of zucchini and eggplant we got all summer), I end up not cooking them at all. Food waste = not good. Plus, we went every two weeks, and there was no way that the two of us plus baby could get through the highly perishable foods in those first few days before they turned. We’ll probably go back to it as we have more mouths to feed, but for now, it’s back to the farmer’s market for me. We’ll spend more, but hopefully we’ll eat more of we buy!

  • Victoria

    Michael,

    I know you’re not really into cookbooks, but if you don’t have The Victory Garden Cookbook, I think you should check it out.

    It was out of print for literally years, and, thank goodness, went back into print recently.

    The number recipes for all different kinds of produce – what you’re likely to find in your CSA basket – is astounding – and I’ve never made a bad one yet.

  • guy

    I’d like to first say that this year our CSA added a sort of “flexi-share” program, where there were certain choices (much like a “trade”) allowed. It was a slightly higher cost too. Since we split a “super share” (double-sized) with a neighbor, we were also able to further modify what we ended up with on a weekly basis (we’re not eating so much corn, they don’t enjoy eggplant, for example).

    But I also have to say that I think the “farm to table” experience is fully dependent on what a farm is harvesting that week. Their planting schedule dictates what is available. Some of the CSA programs I’ve seen are actually farm co-ops, so different farms are planting different things. I like the fact that I don’t know, until that week, what is fresh, what is being harvested, etc. I like that corn, for example, is a little scrawny the first week they are harvesting, and then are much better as the season hits its peak. I like that we tend to get fast-growing greens and lettuce early in the season, and then get hardier greens towards fall. I think that has taught us (and I’m speaking in the sense of my family) to be more aware of what the season means. We can, and do, supplement from the local market.

  • Ashlie in OH

    As a chronically ill person, I find the markets to be overwhelming and a bit difficult to navigate. Also I am never guaranteed that I will feel well enough on the day of the market to participate. The CSA option allows my family to participate in the local food scene while also making my life a bit easier. As only a family of two, I’ve learned a lot about food preservation and will be better prepared for next year. That being said, our CSA share was dismal this year due to a bad farm year. We really had to think about joining again next year. Our income is limited, but we will stick it out one more year in the spirit of CSA.

  • Susan

    Like I said over the course of your CSA posts, I’ve not participated for the reasons you give here, but for other reasons as well. The only thing that has made me want to try it, is getting vegetables that I normally wouldn’t buy myself. It would force me to try things I usually turn my nose up at even though I’ve never tryed them! I’m still that damn kid my Mother was so exasperated by when it came to food! But, that’s a whole other issue!

  • barb

    We had the same experience of not being able to choose & on some deliveries we weren’t getting enough of anything. I would be inclined to take a small share so you are still supporting the effort, and then supplement w/ farmer’s market.

  • Robyn

    I have a recipe for lima bean stew that uses green tomatoes. It’s pretty good. Will post it if anyone’s interested. Robyn

  • Andrew

    I wouldn’t give up our CSA membership for anything. Like some of the others, ours (Pennypack Farm, Horsham PA http://www.pennypackfarm.org) has some flexibility in that there may be 10 – 20 offerings in a given week and a full share of 6 units can be used to select the produce of our choosing. So if you don’t want green peppers, you have other options, even if it’s just doubling up with 2 or more units (when available) of something you like. It’s local, organic, and delicious. We bought an additional CSA fruit share from a nearby orchard that delivers to the farm for convenience, where you just get a bag without choices, so I know what that’s like in comparsion. Some weeks the bag of fruit is better than others, but everything gets eaten and it gives my family, even our four year old, a great appreciation for seasonality.

    We also go to our farmers markets to supplement our CSA share (the only produce I’ll buy at the grocery store are tropical items like lemon, lime, bananas, avocado, etc. that can’t be grown in this climate anyway). We love the farmers markets, but our CSA membership really does give us the greater sense of community (the “C” in CSA). In addition to picking our own berries, beans, tomatillos, and cherry tomatoes, among other crops, we get to know the farmers, staff, and other members, many of who know us on a first name basis. We do work shares for each season, attend harvest festivals and educational sessions (canning, composting, gardening, etc.), and receive weekly newsletters via email that provide us a much better understanding of where our food comes from and the issues faced by our farmers. When blight hit last year, tomatoes weren’t as plentiful as before. This year with all the moisture over the winter, the garlic was in bad shape. I have a much better appreciation for farming and how we eat than I could ever get walking into a market or a grocery store where you can get (wooden, dull green) asparagus in December and (lifeless) strawberries in October. And I’ve been exposed to a lot of produce that I would not have tried to cook with otherwise, or have been motivated by the challenge of cooking all of our produce in a given week.

    CSAs may not be perfect, but ours has become an important part of my family’s life and diet. They are an easy and convenient way to support your local farmers. Their shortcomings are often easily overcome: need other items– visit the farmers market or other local farms; too much produce for an individual– try sharing your membership or see if you can purchase a half share; no choices– ask your farmers if they can consider some flexible options that might allow for limited choice.

  • My Kitchen in the Rockies

    I felt the same and stopped my CSA delivery. I was able to substitute items I preferred but still, it wasn’t the same as going to the farmers market and picking what I liked right there. I felt like food was forced on me that I may would not have decided to purchase this week.

  • Andrew A

    HomesickTexan.com has a great recipe for a facsimile of Ninfa’s green salsa which is based on green tomatoes. It’s great, but a little guacamole-ey and made without the avocados/sour cream it’d probably be awesome as a tart salsa fresca.

    Also, I just found out I got accepted to the Spannocchia winter internship, which I read about first here, so I gotta say thanks Ruhlman. I owe you for showing me what promises to be an amazing culinary opportunity.

  • kcg

    We agree that a CSA is not for us. I’m diabetic and so there are many things I just don’t eat that would be part of a CSA share. But more than that, there are times when a specific veg is just at its happiest. I want it then – right then. In addition I like getting to know the farmers and what they’re interested in; what they’re good at. Some grow great lettuce, others great fennel or celery or whatever. And I’ve started buying extra to freeze, can, pickle when the veg is at its happiest. So I must go to the market or to the field to find that. For example there was one farmer who had great broccoli and cauliflower. I told her that when it comes in full force that I wanted a half bushel to freeze. She waited until the peak and picked it on spec for me. A CSA is too much like taking what the give you at the supermarket. A CSA is good for the farmer because it gives them upfront cash. I’d be willing to give them each $50 at the beginning of the season for credit against the market, it that would help. Just an alternative model.

  • Jeanne

    I have to say, I agree with you on the CSA and wanting more choice. At first I loved the surprise element of not knowing what we would get each week. But, after awhile, that became less attractive and we began to want to choose our own produce. Also, we were members of an organic produce delivery service that delivered produce boxes year round. They did fun things like have cranberries, sweet potatoes, and potatoes for Thanksgiving week. We enjoyed that, also, but found that we really preferred (again) to choose our own.

    Also, like one of your previous commenters, we have have some food issues that preclude us from eating everything. Our concerns center around some life-threatening food allerigies. As the years went by, I became more and more allergic to more and more fruits and vegetables (gah). It became ridiculous to get a produce delivery that contained many things I couldn’t eat each week. I will say that I miss the concept of the CSA, but it didn’t really work for us.

  • Marie

    After my first season buying a full share (and having the happiest compost you’ve ever seen), I learned to split a share with another family, and that worked well. You can either divide the share in half for each pick-up, or alternate weeks. The alternating weeks method is nice because it gives you a chance to supplement your food with those spontaneous delights that you find elsewhere.

  • Cindy

    When I had an abundance of green tomatoes last year, I made green tomato salsa and canned it. We are still eating the salsa and it is wonderful.

  • Lynda

    I have tried CSA’s in the past but balk at the lack of choice. Admittedly, I have the luxury of shopping daily for our evening meal in our neck of the woods, but I am not a fan of feeling obliged to use what I have in our refrigerator and strive to avoid leftovers.
    In the green tomato department, however, try this: http://www.healthygreenkitchen.com/green-tomato-chutney.html
    I haven’t tried it myself, but I bet it’s good.

  • luis

    I will do whatever to support local farmers….including frequenting farmers markets. OMG the beautiful produce I see in the local farmer’s markets….OMG…out of this world.
    But I must tell you I sadly throw away a lot of great veggies cause I simply can’t get to them in time.
    Be that as it may you should consider fried green toamtoes…. I have got a magazine somewhere with a killer recipe and even if I don’t anymore this is one dish you just can’t screw up….and it is so delicious.

  • Matt Fisher

    Two reasons that my wife and I prefer to shop at several local farmers’ markets rather than purchase a CSA:
    1) We are away from home enough weekends during the time vegetables would be delivered that the waste issue (already mentioned by many) would be even worse for us.
    2) Going to 2-3 different farmers markets here in southwestern PA allows us to support several different farms on a regular basis.

  • Dan McGurn

    I have limited success taking the last green tomatoes of the season, placing them in a brown paper bag with apples, and ripening them inside an plastic cooler with the lid off.
    They are nothing like the peak of season, just saying I have done it, with mixed results.

  • Theresa

    Check out the recipe on homesick texan’s blog. She posted a recipe for pickled green tomatoes this week. It sounds wonderful. I love pickled tomatoes, especially using cherry or gape tomatoes.

  • Barbara

    This was our first year of CSA and we (two adults) got a half share. Saturday is our 20th and last pick-up. And I am already missing it! I really, really loved the whole experience. Besides the obvious benefits of organic fresh food, and supporting the local agriculture, I had much fun creatively using good produce that I would never have purchased. Fortunately “Farmer Jonathan” sent us an email every Friday night telling us what to expect, and often suggesting ways to use unusual things, or telling what his wife did with the produce that week. It was kind of like being part of the family. A farmer’s family. There is a local farm market to go to, but because it’s the same climate as the CSA, the produce is the same anyway. If I didn’t get the CSA, my good intentions about going to the farmers market would most likely end up meaning rarely getting there, and instead getting produce from the Stop and Shop supermarket. We used every thing except for some radishes and argula, which just were more than we could eat. Through the summer it was lots of stir fries, and lately it’s been lots of roasted veggies. And each night, crudites with our wine. Ah, I will miss it, and look forward to next May… and no doubt my grocery bills will be higher for the next six months.

  • bunkycooks

    I like to be able to choose what looks the beat at the farmers’ markets and base my cooking and preserving on that. I think that a CSA might be great for people that don’t have the time to go to markets or are in an area where they can’t get to a farmers’ market easily.

    There is a Green Tomato Chutney recipe in the Ball Preserving Book. It requires a lot of tomatoes, but I am sure you could prepare a version from that recipe.

  • allen

    This might be a little off the beaten path but I have to give a shout out for Mexican chorizo. It is still easy to find good garlic and I recently made my first batch of Mexican chorizo with it. I was buying it from a local source and found it so versatile and delicious that I decided to try and make my own, we have a large hispanic population so I found some reicpes using good fresh ground pork, good quality smoked paprika, apple cider vinegar, bay leaf, salt, mexican oregano. instead of using casing I put it in a deli container and cover it tightly with plastic wrap for a day or two, just because it’s so easy. I cook it with some coarsely chopped onion. This is better than bacon and turns anything it comes in contact with into something great – like bacon only better, and the beautiful crimson red liquid is great for seasoning skillets, grills, or pimping up a grilled ear of corn or saute anything in just a small dab. I was doing the dried spanish version but this is so easy with so much more flavor.Those disgusting tubes of goo that you see in the grocery store don’t have anything in common with the real thing. Mexican chorizo – “whoop whoop!”

  • Kathy Lambert

    Here on Cape Cod, this is our second year and second CSA. They’ve both been huge disappointments. We dubbed last year’s The Soviet CSA because the amounts were so meager.

    This years try was more what we expected in amount, but had really poor product–slimy green beans, corn with dried out husks with kernals that were shrunken and crushed. I think most of it was old leftovers from the farmers market that were too old or damaged to sell. And some of the tomatoes had a distinct squared off shape from being in commercial packaging and I suspect were direct from the supermarket.

    We actually like the lack of choice because having a CSA definitely gets us to try new and interesting things and alter our diet to match what’s available. We just can’t seem to find a good one locally and we’ll just stick with farmer’s markets.

  • Kevin

    I have to side with Donna on this one too. Smaller CSA and supplement with trips to the farmer’s market. Our CSA puts a lot of stuff not produced locally (I don’t think you can grow grapefruits and oranges very well in Western Washington) to supplement their offerings and this seems to defeat the idea of the CSA. Like Michael, I really like to pick my own things too.

  • lisaiscooking

    I agree about wanting to choose what I cook. It is exciting to see what shows up each time, but I usually have specific things I want. Getting a share every other week and also shopping at our farmers’ markets works great.

  • rally

    I’m an impulse cooker, so I tend to prefer the farmers market approach. Strolling past all the delicious items in season and gleaning inspiration from them is a perfect feeling of food freedom. It supports farmers, local producers of goods and gives me variety. I prefer being the deciding factor in the quality of food I purchase, not a CSA basket filler in a hurry…

  • gram

    As a single person I found my local CSA was far too much food for me. Otherwise I liked it.

  • Kevin

    I’m all about seasonality, and dealing with what you get – IF I’m growing it. Cause next year I can plant less or more to taste, or can make peace with some years being better than others for individual produce items because of the weather. I can also choose to leave things in the ground if I’m not interested in eating them at that moment, and when ‘shopping’, go to my garden to pick things at ultra-freshness – inspired by what looks lovely.

    Gardening rocks.

  • bob del Grosso

    “too much fun frying the sweet potatoes—so much better than russets!”

    There you go again, trying to stir up trouble. No, fried sweet potatoes will never be as good as fried Russets. Now stop it!

  • Karen Downie Makley

    While I’ve chimed in before with my two cents, that a weekly CSA would not be the best choice for m, I DO feel for the small, independent farmer. I wonder if some of these farms would consider a monthly or biweekly program for all of the busy people or those who cannot handle breaking down pounds and pounds (and pounds) of tomatoes or zucchini or green peppers during the height of the season? It could be sort of like a “Veggies of the Month Club.” I’d participate in something like that in a heartbeat and be excited about it instead of overwhelmed.

  • Ellen Miller

    This is my first year with a CSA…I found it to be lots of fun bringing home so much beautiful fresh produce, and challenging to find new recipes and ideas for things I would never have purchased on my own. I have to admit, I don’t care if I see any more “greens” for a while, but for me, the main reason I did it and will do it again, is to support community farmers. It was as much a vote against the big corporate farms as it was a vote for local community farming.
    This past week is the first time I purchased any produce in a grocery store since last June and it was asparagus. Can’t believe how much I missed asparagus!!

  • Karen Downie Makley

    While I’ve chimed in before with my two cents, that a weekly CSA would not be the best choice for me, I DO feel for the small, independent farmer…they’ve got a tough row to hoe (oh, come on…HAD to!). I wonder if some of these farms would consider a monthly or biweekly program for all of the busy people or those who cannot handle breaking down pounds and pounds (and pounds) of tomatoes or zucchini or green peppers during the height of the season? It could be sort of like a “Veggies of the Month Club.” I’d participate in something like that in a heartbeat and be excited about it instead of overwhelmed.

  • Jeannie

    Yes and no for me on CSA’s. I like looking at all the vegetables and picking and choosing and going from farmer to farmer. However, for people who have no time, I think a CSA is great and I think buying a CSA share rather than going to WF or another store is the way to go. The thing is getting the” too busy people” tp perk up and buy a CSA share and support a local farmer.

  • Corrin

    Talk about lack of variety, try living in Africa for a year; I’m suffering! I can’t weigh in on the CSA; I grow everything I want and the varieties I love and always a good mix of the unknown. Being a cook in a tiny town forces creative gardening/seed sourcing, but having 20 different herbs a snip away is SO nice. Hello lovage!

    My favorite green tomato recipe is from Martha Rose Shulman: http://topics.nytimes.com/topics/news/health/series/recipes_for_health/green_tomatoes/index.html

    it is wonderful. Enjoy!
    Corrin

  • Lara

    I like the choice as well. Plus, I never know how well my garden is going to do. This year was the worst ever for tomatoes, squash, and peppers. I barely had enough for myself and my father who somehow shows up at my door when I’m harvesting.
    My stepmom gave me The Tomato Book by Yvonne Young Tarr (copyright 1976) There are some really interesting sounding relish recipies & piccalilli. But what caught my attention was the green tomato leather and candied green tomatoes.
    You could probably find it int he library, or else ping me and I’ll post.
    Thanks!
    Lara

  • Becky

    The solution I found was to go to the farmers’ markets in summer, and sign up for a Winter CSA for local produce all winter long. Of course, you have to have a local farmer doing a Winter CSA. Winter CSA’s are amazing because here it comes … box after box of beets, carrots, kale, spinach, salad greens, Brussels sprouts, potatoes and more … all winter long.

  • David in San Antonio

    I have the good fortune to be able to subscribe to a site called Greenling Organic Delivery. I can either sign up for the local box each week (much like a CSA, except they deliver it right to my door) or, as I do most often, pick and choose what I want from an extensive list of produce, meats, dairy (including some darn good cheeses), plus other stuff. My zip code has its delivery on Tuesday, with a deadline of Sunday noon, which means I can visit our big farmers’ market at the former Pearl Brewery on Saturday and have plenty of time to change my order if I want to. It’s nice to know that at the farmers’ market, all the items are grown/raised/baked by the people who are selling them, and that they come from within 150 miles of San Antonio.

  • David in San Antonio

    P.S. The new campus of the CIA opened just recently, also at the Pearl site.

  • Frances in Chattanooga

    Here is my Mother’s recipe for a green tomato pickle relish, which goes beautifully with southern style vegetables or sandwiches.
    Christine’s Green Tomato Relish
    1 gal. Green tomatoes
    2 qts. Chopped onions
    1 qt. chopped bell pepper
    1 cup hot peppers (optional; or amount can be varied depending on taste)
    Sprinkle ½ cup salt over the above. Let stand 3-5 hours.

    Pour off liquid and rinse well.

    In large pot, mix
    3 cups sugar
    1 qt. White vinegar (or other vinegar with at least 5% acidity)
    1 Tbs. black pepper

    Bring to boil and add vegetables. When color of veggies changes, turn off heat, pack in sterilized jars, and process in hot water bath for ten minutes.

    Also, Martha Stewart has a really good recipe for bread and butter green tomato pickles (sliced and suspended in a syrup); it can be found by searching her site. These are amazing fried!

  • Kat

    My husband and I split a share with another couple. I find it to be just the right amount of food — we have a good variety of local produce, but not so much that I don’t also get to stop by the farmer’s market to supplement with whatever catches my fancy. I definitely recommend finding someone with which to split a share.

    My only problem is that sometimes the share contains odd items that are hard to split (shall we cut an eggplant in half? a cob of corn?) but that’s easily dealt with; we just alternate who gets the “extra” item. Having two families in the share means that someone’s always there to pick up and use the veggies when you’re out of town, too.