I’ve been awfully enthusiastic about food for the last few months. More enthusiastic than normal, and not just because of COVID-19 and the necessity of cooking at home all the time. AliSun and I are just a couple days away from Day 1 of our CSA, Green Valley Community Farm.
A CSA, which stands for Community Supported Agriculture, is a direct connection between farmers and consumers. I say “our” CSA because we’re one of 120 families that has a farm share. We’ll be going to the farm weekly from mid-June through early December.
Our friends gifted us a week at this farm last year while they traveled. It was a revelatory experience, inspirational. We got on the wait list and paid in full this last February, maybe a week before COVID-19 took hold.
We’ve tried CSAs in the past, where you pick up a pre-packed box of produce, and inevitably an abundance of the things you don’t love.
But Green Farm? We’ll fill our bag at the barn and put that in the car. We then head up to the U-pick garden, where there are herbs and flowers to harvest. Beyond that is the farm, where we might see a marking to pick snap peas or tomatoes or blackberries.
So what I’m going to attempt to do is blog the season. The intention is to be mindful. We know ahead of time what will be available that week. So I will have a few days to think about it. Googling varietals, recipe planning, pantry items, prepping, cooking, freezing, the whole thing.
With no further ado…
WEEK 1 – WELCOME TO YOUR 2020 HARVEST SEASON!
This Week’s Harvest
Freshly Harvested Lorz Softneck Garlic, Hopi Blue Corn Meal, Arugula, Mustard Mix, Spinach, Flowering Purple Bok Choi, Fennel, Pink Lady Slipper Radishes, Hakurei Turnips, Summer Squash, Green Little Gems, Panisse Oak Leaf Lettuce, Storage Carrots, Desiree Red Potatoes
Herbs: Rosemary, Thyme, Oregano, Marjoram, Parsley, Tarragon, Onion Chives, Garlic Chives, Vietnamese Coriander, Culinary Lavender, Culinary Sage, French Sorrel, Lemon Verbena, Lemon Balm, Shiso (limited), Chamomile, Cilantro, Tulsi, Ginger Mint, Strawberry Mint, Mojito Mint, Julep Mint, Chocolate Mint.
I’m most intrigued by the Hopi Blue Corn Meal, which was harvested last fall, ground a few days ago and frozen to preserve fats and oils. GV has provided a blue corn pancake recipe that looks great. I’d love to do some salmon fish tacos with the wild salmon we get delivered.
Some recipes: Blue Corn Atole, Blue Cornmeal Pancakes, Hopi Blue Corn Tortillas, Traditional Native American Recipes
I’m already salivating for the Lorz Softneck Garlic. I’ll keep the skins on the cloves, chop off the little hard bit at the end, and roast them until you can suck the clove right out of the skin.
Considering how infrequently I go to the store in these Coronavirus times (once every three weeks), we haven’t had greens in quality or quantity like we normally do. I’m looking forward to the Mustard Mix, the Panisse Oak Leaf Lettuce and Bok Choi for a stir fry, which I haven’t done in a while.
I’ve cooked with Shiso (aka Chinese basil or wild basil) before, but I’m going to be more intentional about it, as each part of the plant is traditionally used in different ways. Certainly topping the fish tacos and perhaps in some salmon hand rolls the next day?
Hakurei Turnips are new to me. They’re the only turnip that can be eaten raw, but sauteing them up along with the turnip greens is more my speed. Bookmarking this recipe (using Miyoko’s Butter): Miso Glazed Hakurei Turnips
Some Desiree Red Potatoes are destined to be pan-fried up with mustard seed and cumin seed and top a socca with a tahini sauce on top.
Last season, the very first thing I cooked was braised Fennel that was so naturally sweet and perfect. That was October, so I’m interested in the spring version.
So many herbs! Some Onion & Garlic Chives will be fun to work in, and Vietnamese Coriander (aka rau ram) is wonderfully fragrant. Perhaps I can make nasi kerabu (blue rice), if we get lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf later in the season.
June 16th, 2020
That was so fun. David led the 1/2 hour orientation. We filled up our bag with amazing produce. Put that away in the car in cooler bags with ice packs. Headed up to the U-Pick and gathered herbs, flowers and strawberries.
Everything is so fresh and crisp and plump. The pound of Hopi Blue Corn Meal came in a nicely done package, and will make a great Atole. The one-per-share Lorz Softneck Garlic is giant. The Hakurei Turnips and Desiree Red Potatoes are bursting with prana. The greens of all sorts are just perfection.
We bought a loaf of bread and a gluten-free brownie from Revolution Bread (said brownie lasted under two minutes). Picked up an apple juice and elderberry elixir from Green Valley Marketplace, and checked out Bramble Tail Homestead dairy and creamery.
Picked 1/2 a dozen herbs. All those plastic bags we’ve reused from grocery trips came in super handy. AliSun picked a few vases of flowers, full of purples, whites and oranges.
We’re just overflowing with fresh greens and herbs. I made Butter Miso Harvest Vegetables with most of the Hakurei Turnips, some Carrots and Turnip Greens.
Made an herb omelette stuffed with Spinach, accompanied by roasted Desiree Red Potatoes with mustard seed and cumin seed. Topped those eggs with Pink Lady Slipper Radish Greens Pesto with carmelized Lorz Softneck Garlic.
I had big plans to make some Ethiopian food, including the teff-based Injera (a gluten-free savory pancake that underpins all the dishes on top). However, I soaked actual teff instead of teff flour, and that was a non-starter. So I pivoted to making a socca, along with Atakilt Wat and some Green Lentils. I’m really loving the Desiree Red Potatoes from the farm.
I found the Lorz Garlic was under-dried (perhaps in a rush to prepare for Week 1?), and the skins separating the cloves were turning. So I separated the cloves, roasted them all up, and now I’ll use that roasted garlic over the next couple days. The garlic itself has a nice, mild taste and good texture.
Yum! Yum and more yum! I miss those meals you used to cook, Tyler, that were so intentional and healing for the body. Sounds like you have taken the refinement of flavors and recipes you use up many notches. And thank you for reminding us to get our CSA on, so many here in Eugene, and we have been completely forgetful about getting one of our own
Thanks for the nice comments, Eden. Yes, cooking is a lifetime of learning and sometimes I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface. Missing our potlucks! And very Happy Birthday wishes to you!