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CSA Share, Week 1

June 13, 2009
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We received our first CSA share of the season this week: ceeeee-le-brate good times, come on!

CSA Share, Week 1

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In this week’s share: kale, collards, lettuce, baby salad greens, garlic scapes, arugula, fingerling potatoes, radishes, and salad turnips.

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I’ve been waiting for this week with quite a bit of anticipation. It’s our 4th year belonging to a CSA, and for the past 2 years, we’ve had shares in the Full Plate Farm Collective. This CSA is unique in that it’s a collective of 3 farms:

  • Remembrance Farm, which is certified organic and biodynamic, and specializes in salad greens, onions, and root crops
  • Stick and Stone Farm, which is certified organic, and grows a wide range of vegetables, including lettuce, cooking greens, summer and winter squash, heirloom tomatoes, beets and spinach.They also have a lovely U-pick section of the farm for shareholders.
  • Three Swallows Farm, which is certified organic and biodynamic, and specialized in hot weather crops like eggplant, hot peppers, tomatoes, and melons.

We love the fact that this CSA allows us to support three local farms at once. They do a great job of providing a variety of produce throughout the growing season, and offer a few different pick-up and delivery options to give people all around the Ithaca area a way to conveniently get their shares.

We’ve found in our CSA experience that June in the cooler climate of the Northeast usually brings greens, greens, and more greens! The first year we belonged to a CSA, I was exposed to a few kinds of greens I’d never cooked before — kale, mustard greens, collards — but one of the best things about being a CSA shareholder (in my opinion) is the learning process of figuring out how and what to cook with the vegetables you get each week (and kale, incidentally, is absolutely one of my favorite vegetables now.)

One of the other things I had to learn fairly quickly was how to best store the vegetables we received and how I could space the vegetables out over the week. Greens are pretty perishable, but there are certain ones that keep longer than others. Here are a few tips that have worked for me:

  • Salad greens, particularly baby greens and arugula, are quite perishable and should be used in the first few days after you bring them home. They’re best stored in the front part of the fridge, where it’s not as cold as the rear.
  • We receive our baby salad greens in plastic bags, misted with water. I tried keeping them in this bag during the week, but ended up sacrificing a few that rotted from the moisture. Now, when I bring them home, I spin them dry in a salad spinner and transfer them to a dry ziptop bag; they seem to keep well in the fridge for a few days, sealed, this way.
  • Kale and collards are sturdier and can be stored in the fridge for most of the week. Kale, especially, doesn’t mind colder temperatures and can take being pushed towards the back of the fridge if you’re cramped for space.
  • Radish greens and turnip greens are delicious and shouldn’t be discarded. Both are, however, fragile and I usually try to use them the same day that I receive the radishes and turnips. They both have a peppery flavor, with turnip greens having a taste reminiscent of mustard greens (but not quite as spicy.) Radish greens are terrific mixed into a salad or sauteed, and turnip greens are delicious given a light braise or saute with garlic and olive oil.

The reason I was so thrilled to see all of these crunchy greens in our share is that we have been gorging on salads with dinner lately, now that local lettuce is in season, and I am positively obsessed with this buttermilk dill dressing that I mixed up one day, after picking up a gorgeous bunch of feathery dill at the farmer’s market.

come to mama

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We’ve been eating this kind of salad non-stop lately with whatever I bring back on the weekend from the farmer’s market; recently, it’s been tender baby greens with salad turnips (more delicate and mild than the fall storage turnips, I love them!), radishes, and a few chive blossoms thrown in from the chives I have growing in a pot outside.

salad turnips

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Easter Egg radishes

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beautiful (edible!) chive blossoms

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The tang of the buttermilk and fresh dill is a perfect match for the crunchy, delicate greens and thinly sliced radishes and salad turnips. On the day we brought home the share, I blanched the fingerlings in salted water, let them cool slightly, sliced them and tossed them in with the salad — the dressing is a wonderful topping for potatoes, too (you could try it on a potato salad – yum!) We’ve also had it as a sauce for poached salmon (delicious), served with some sliced greenhouse cucumbers that I picked up at the farmer’s market a few weeks ago. I’ve even used it as a dip for raw vegetables (just use less, or leave out, the buttermilk so it’s a thicker consistency.)

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I’m a bit embarrassed to tell you how much of this I’ve made already this spring…I can’t get enough of it!

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Buttermilk Dill Dressing

an Eggs on Sunday original
view printable recipe

You can make this into a dip, instead; just reduce the amount of buttermilk used (or leave it out entirely, relying just on the sour cream and mayonnaise for thickness.)

Makes 2 cups of dressing (enough for quite a few salads!)

Ingredients

1 cup sour cream
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 small shallot, minced
1 tsp dijon mustard
juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp coarse salt (plus any additional to taste)
freshly ground black pepper – at least 1/2 tsp
3 Tbsp chopped fresh dill
1 cup buttermilk

Preparation

In a medium bowl, whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, minced shallot, mustard, lemon juice, salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Whisk in the chopped fresh dill. Slowly add the buttermilk in a stream, whisking constantly until it’s the consistency you like (I find the 1 cup makes a good consistency for a salad dressing.)

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18 Comments leave one →
  1. June 13, 2009 8:23 am

    Yours looks just like ours, but swap the kale and collards for loads of spinach.

    Would you be interested in sharing your local food love in my weekly blog carnival Food Roots? I’m trying to spread the word on local & seasonal foods, supporting local farmers, and growing your own.

    You would be a perfect fit! It is held every Thursday on my site Nourishing Days.

  2. June 13, 2009 8:47 am

    What a nice post! I’m about to pick up our first CSA share of the season in a few minutes. After seeing your haul, I am even more excited!

  3. June 13, 2009 8:56 am

    That salad dressing recipe looks yummy, I’ll have to try that for my CSA greens!

    I’m excited to have found your blog, as I’ve been trying to find others online who are blogging about what they do with their CSA share. My CSA farm is in the Upper Midwest. I’ve added your site to my CSA blogger blogroll.

  4. June 13, 2009 9:35 am

    Yay, the CSA posts have begun! The dressing sounds lovely.

  5. June 13, 2009 9:56 am

    I’m super excited to see what your CSA brings you! I went crazy this morning with lots of salad makings at the market. I saw “salad turnips” and had no idea what they were, but I will have to pick some up on Wednesday.

    This dressing sounds awesome. I get so boring with always just using Italian that I keep in my fridge. I will have to change it up.

    Happy Growing Season!

  6. June 13, 2009 1:08 pm

    That dressing looks spectacular! I have made some ranch type dressing that I haven’t loved but will try this one for sure. I am paralyzed by indecision on the CSA front. There are so many to choose from in Seattle and I just can’t settle on one farm.

  7. June 13, 2009 1:50 pm

    Great tips, I joined a CSA a couple of months ago and I learned the hard way that the greens will perish quickly. I like how your CSA combines the efforts of three farms. I look forward to reading more about your CSA adventures.

  8. kathie permalink
    June 13, 2009 6:44 pm

    so glad i found your blog (through tastespotting because we belong to a CSA as well and i’m always looking for new ways of using the bounty. your dressing sounds amazing. we get sunflower greens all season and i love those with ranch dressing on a salad!

  9. oneordinaryday permalink
    June 14, 2009 7:42 am

    This salad looks just lovely. I especially like the addition of the chive blossoms. Perfect finishing touch.

  10. June 14, 2009 9:39 am

    I just woke up this morning and really wanted to get in the car and drive to the Ithaca Farmers’ Market. Thanks for this post! The dressing sounds great. And I, too, need to start that learning process with different greens. I really overuse baby spinach.

  11. Local Joe permalink
    June 14, 2009 12:06 pm

    Amy, I just had the most delectable lunch because I sauteed the turnip and radish greens from yesterday’s pickup. Now the roots have a lot to live up to! Thanks for the tips!

  12. June 14, 2009 2:34 pm

    Thanks so much for the storage tips, Amy! My share starts on Saturday and I must say that while I’m sooo excited, I’m also a bit nervous about trying to find ways to use everything before it spoils. Your tips will be invaluable in the coming weeks, I’m sure!

  13. June 16, 2009 6:11 pm

    so jealous! I LOVE salads, and you have enough greens there to make quite a few! Great dressing recipe as well~

  14. June 16, 2009 8:43 pm

    That salad dressing looks so good…do you think I could substitute Greek yogurt for the sour cream?

    • June 17, 2009 8:20 am

      Absolutely – someone I know tried that substitution and they told me it worked wonderfully!

  15. June 17, 2009 12:50 pm

    That idea to get an electric heating pad for bread rising is brilliant! Thanks for the tip.
    Ummmm….and in other news, this bread looks freakin’ AWESOME. All I can say is deliciousness!

  16. Christine permalink
    June 19, 2009 3:22 pm

    Thanks for the heating pad tip – of course! Why didn’t I think of that? Also grateful for any dressings you can send our way – always want salads but not usually in the mood for bottled dressings. Always on the lookout for new dressing recipes – this one looks great.

  17. June 25, 2009 2:32 pm

    I love all those greens and seem to find endless uses for them. Your site is so beautiful and inspiring.

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