hooray for csa day

Saturday, March 12, 2011

We recently joined the community supported agriculture (CSA) program at Tierra Vegetables. For those of you who aren't familiar with a CSA, it's like having a subscription to a farm. Every other Friday, I head over to Tierra and pick up a bag of pre-selected produce. The selection changes every time, which is part of the fun -- we don't know what we're going to get until the morning of pick-up day, when the farm owners send out an e-mail listing all of the items, ways to cook them and a recipe or two.

Yesterday was pick-up day, so I headed over to Tierra, which is just up the road from my office and has a cute litte farm stand out front.

Unlike some CSA's, which package everything for you in a crate, Tierra makes you do a little work. You go into an area at the back of the farm stand, read the chalkboards that list how much of each item you are supposed to get this week and then measure everything out using scales.

I love it. Really, really love it. I swear, it makes me feel like it's Food Christmas or something.

This week's bag included leeks, potatoes, winter squash, escarole, sun-dried tomatoes, caramelized onions, celeraic (also known as celery root) and cardoon.

You are probably wondering what the hell cardoon is. It's a member of the artichoke family, and the plants actually look very similar to artichoke plants. However, with cardoon, you eat the stem. We haven't tried it yet -- planning to cook it for dinner tonight -- but we hear it's supposed to taste like a cross of artichokes and celery.

While I'm at Tierra, I also like to see what else they have available that wasn't included in my subscription -- I like to supplement things, if you will. Last time, I bought some purple heirloom popcorn. I'm also very tempted by the bean selection, which is extensive.

I always end up buying eggs. I feel pretty strongly about where my eggs come from and can't stand the thought of antibiotic-infused chickens crammed into crates stacked floor-to-ceiling indoors in artificial lighting. So I splurge on the organic eggs from chickens I know are treated well and have access -- real access, not fake marketing-speak access -- to the outside world. Also, the organic eggs from happy chickens taste so much better.

And then I put the eggs on everything. Like this pizza (which was made with Udi's gluten-free crust and topped with CSA leeks) that I just devoured.

Seriously, Food Christmas!

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