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New Food, Straight From the Farm

So, we just started getting weekly vegetables (and some fruits) from Two Small Farms. Two Small Farms is a collaboration between High Ground Organics and Mariquita Farm located in Watsonville and Hollister respectively. They are one of the several Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs in the area. They had a pickup point near us, so we thought we’d give them a try.

CSA VegetablesToday we picked up our first batch of veggies (we also opted to get weekly flowers too, for a few extra dollars. Why not?). In the bag we brought home were bundles of Erbette Chard, Spigariello Greens, Chantenay Carrots, Agretti, French Breakfast Radishes, Fennel, a few Leeks and some Sweet Dumpling Squash. All organically grown at a nearby farm. There’s just something nice about knowing where your food comes from — and supporting the “little guys”.

The batch of vegetables came with a few recipes than can be made with this week’s selection. The roasted fennel recipe sounds good. You just slice the fennel bulbs lengthwise, toss with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake at 425°F for 25-30 minutes. Though, I think I’ll spice this up a bit, tossing with some crushed garlic and parsley as well. Wondering what I could do with the fennel leaves, I consulted an Italian cookbook I have and found a recipe for a fennel cream sauce. Cook up some pasta and we’ll be set. Although I’d like to round out that meal by maybe roasting some carrots with the fennel bulbs.

Another item is the box was Spigarielo, also known as “leaf broccoli”. I think I’ve only had this once or twice, but it does have that broccoli flavor, so I’m thinking maybe a Thai Red Curry might make good use of this.

Getting a new bunch of “surprise” vegetables and fruits in each week should be an excellent challenge. I’m always trying out new recipes, but I always start with the recipe first and only then look for the food I need. Flowers CSANow I’m getting the food first… Which perhaps, is how it should be. Everything I’ll be making is fresh, local, and in season. And I’ll be getting some new and exotic vegetables, creating a culinary challenge. I can’t complain.

There are similar CSA programs all over the United States, and elsewhere. The USDA has a few links to help you find a CSA program in your area. But I imagine a quick internet search of “CSA ‘Your City Name'” would come up with some options as well. And if you need additional convincing in order to give your local CSA a try, Two Small Farms has posted a list of 10 reasons to buy local food.

The start of our Community Supported Agriculture pickups is quite fitting, as I am (coincidentally) currently reading a book that’s all about where your food comes from, Michael Pollan’s “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals”. It’s quite a good book, so I highly recommend it!