Thursday, July 15, 2010

Things I Love--My CSA

Last year Matt and I got together with some friends and joined a Colorado-based community supported agriculture (CSA) group.  A CSA is a way to buy local produce directly from the farm that grows it.  Basically, a farmer sells "shares" to his farm and you reap the benefits in the form of ultra-healthy, vitamin rich, produce!  CSAs may or may not be certified organic. Ours is.

Hear me now.  I LOVE OUR CSA!

When we broke down the amount of food received and compared it to what we would have paid if we would have purchased organic produce from the supermarket, we realized we were saving a bundle for quality food we loved.  You can't beat that!

Something the CSA has really challenged me on was eating what is locally produced.  Wyoming doesn't exactly produce a ton of citrus fruits and "out there" veggies.  But I'm learning to love what I can get from the people I trust to grow it!

Anyhow, common staples in our CSA share include lettuce, spinach, swiss chard, kohlrabi, kale, and scapes.  Let me share some of my favorite recipes!


Spinach Pesto
You will need:
  • spinach
  • parmesan
  • garlic--minced
  • kosher salt 
  • black pepper
  • lemon zest
  • olive oil
Okay, my pesto is nut free because I can't have nuts!  
Here's what you do:
  1. Wash your spinach leaves and tear into smaller pieces.
  2. Put 2-3 T. of oil in a food processor.
  3. Add the lemon zest, a dash of kosher salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Add minced garlic.  Start with one clove and add to taste.
  5. Put spinach in (1-2 cups of torn leaves).  PULSE that processor!
  6. Add Parmesan and more oil/seasoning as needed.
  7. Put this over pasta for a quick, cool dinner.  Dine al fresco!

First of all, Kale grows everywhere here.  Our university decorates with it.  Now that's practical--pretty landscaping you can eat :)  Kale is a leafy green with a slight cabbagey taste.  You can rip leaves and put them in stir-fry.  Our friend Bryant has a Kale Smoothie he swear by.  At our house, however, we love kale chips.  M.E. prefers them to potato chips (did I mention that kale is a super food?)

Kale Chips
You'll need:
  • a bunch of kale washed, ribs removed, and torn in to potato chip sized pieces
  • cookie sheet
  • apple cider vinegar
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt
  • seasonings to taste
To make kale chips:
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350.
  2. In a bowl, combine 1 T of apple cider vinegar and 3 T. of olive oil.
  3. Add in 1/2 T. of kosher salt (and other seasonings as desired--garlic powder, onion powder, chili powder, and red pepper flakes are all great!).
  4. Put the kale leaves in the bowl and mix with your hands until every leaf is coated.
  5. Put leaves on cookie sheet making sure that no leaves are doubled up or on top of one another (bake in 2 batches if needed).
  6. Bake 10-15 minutes but watch them closely.  When kale starts to look crispy and brown the chips are done.  Don't over-do it because Kale burns fast (and smells awful).
  7. Let kale chips cool and then eat.  
Garlic Scapes

Garlic scapes are the long, green tendril tops to a garlic bulb that must be removed in order for the bulb to grow correctly.  They have a mild garlic taste and are a garlic lover's nirvana!  You can put scapes in any recipe that calls for garlic or you can slice it thin and add scapes to eggs, marinades, etc.  Scapes can be grilled and eaten like asparagus or sliced and put into stir-fries.  I prefer the following recipe! (BTW, if you see scapes at your farmer's market, grab a bunch ... or ten.  You won't be sorry!).

You'll need:
  • 2 15.5-oz cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 6 garlic scapes, thinly sliced
  • Juice and zest of 1- 1 and a 1/2 lemons 
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 6 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 Tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 kosher teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
To make:
  1. Put oils and lemon juice in the bottom of your food processor.
  2. Add all other ingredients.
  3. Pulse until smooth.
  4. Eat with these pita chips.  Mmmmmmmmmm!
See, it is possible to eat good food that tastes good and is good for you!  Any of you a part of a CSA?  Do you love it or hate it?

A special shout out to the hard working' men and women at Grant Farms who grow the produce my family loves!


  1. I need to do this. What size share do y'all get?

  2. @Sarah--we split a family size with M and B. I will warn you that there is a LOT of green stuff so you'll be eating lots of salad!


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