When you become a member of a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), you purchase a “share” of vegetables from a regional farmer. Weekly during the growing season in your area, your farmer will deliver that share of produce to a convenient drop-off location in your neighborhood. CSA members pay for an entire season of produce upfront and shares usually include 7-10 types of vegetables; enough for a family of 2-3 people.
This arrangement creates several rewards for both the farmer and the consumer. The farmers receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow and the farmers have an opportunity to get to know the people who eat the food they grow. The consumer gets to eat fresh picked food with all the flavor and vitamin benefits, learn more about how the food is grown and develop a relationship with the farmer who grows the food.
My CSA is Jeta Farms, a family owned and operated farm located in Elberta, Al. They offer a variety of vegetables and some specialty and heirloom varieties. They do not plant GMO vegetable crops. I pick up my share on Saturday mornings and the produce is truly fresh and delicious. As soon as I get my share home, I start planning the week’s menu.
See the photo at the top of the post for last Saturday’s share, which included: a dozen ears of corn-on-the-cob, 2 eggplant, 4 plum tomatoes, 2 cucumbers, a package of blackberries, 2 large bell peppers, 4 patty pan squash, a pound of Italian green beans, a sack (about 5 lbs) of potatoes, lots of zucchini and yellow squash.
I was able to create a whole week’s worth of meals using these vegetables. All the herbs used in the recipes come from my garden.
- Sunday: Grilled Italian sausage, 2 grilled corn on the cob (from the corn share) and potato salad (from the potato share)
- Monday: Eggplant-Tomato Bake (recipe below) and sautéed zucchini (from the zucchini share) over Orecchiette pasta
- Tuesday: Stuffed peppers (recipe below) and cucumber (from the cucumber share) salad
- Wednesday: Grilled fish, grilled summer squash (recipe below) and potato salad
- Thursday: Chicken Oreganata, Italian green beans (recipe below) and eggplant bake
- Friday: Corn Chowder (recipe below) and hash-browned potatoes (from the potato share) with eggs
- Saturday: Grilled shrimp, grilled patty pan squash (recipe below) and tomato salad
- The blackberries became dessert; see the Blackberry Crumble recipe in my post on Using Summer Fruit
Here are some of the recipes I used for this menu.
Eggplant Tomato Bake
- 2 medium eggplants, peeled and cut into 1/4” round slices (from the eggplant share)
- 3/4 lb package fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
- 4 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4”slices (from the tomato share)
- 1 to 1 1/2 cups Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup Egg Beaters (refrigerated egg substitute)
- Olive oil
- Fresh or dried oregano
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Oil two baking sheets.
Dip eggplant slices in the egg substitute and then coat in the bread crumbs. Place the slices on the prepared pans and bake until brown, about 20 minutes, turning the slices over halfway through baking.
Oil a 13 x 9 inch glass baking pan. Cover the bottom of the pan with eggplant slices and add half the tomatoes and half of the cheese. Add another layer of eggplant slices, tomatoes and cheese. Sprinkle the top layer with oregano.
Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1/2 lb ground turkey
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/2 medium onion, diced
- Fresh corn kernels, cut off 2 cobs from the corn share
- 1/2 cup yellow squash, diced (from the squash share)
- Sea salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley
- 2 large bell peppers: halved and seeded (from the bell pepper share)
- 4 heaping tablespoons of your favorite prepared BBQ sauce
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Put a kettle of water on to boil.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat and cook the ground turkey until browned..
Add the chopped garlic, onion, corn and squash; stir and heat through. Season mixture with sea salt and pepper. Stir well to combine the flavors. Remove from heat. Add in the chopped parsley and cheese.
Coat a shallow baking dish that will fit the halved peppers with cooking spray. Stuff the halved peppers with the turkey mixture, pressing it in firmly. Place the stuffed peppers in the baking dish. Top each pepper with a spoonful of BBQ sauce.
Pour about an inch of hot boiled water into the bottom of the baking pan, around the peppers, and loosely cover the pan with a foil tent. This helps to cook the peppers. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until the peppers are fork tender.
Grilled Summer Squash
- 1-1/2 lbs green and yellow squash, trimmed and sliced diagonally into 1/2-inch-thick ovals (from the squash share)
- Kosher salt
- 1 cup packed fresh basil leaves
- 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
Prepare a gas or charcoal grill fire.
In a colander, toss the squash with 2 teaspoons kosher salt and drain for 30 minutes; transfer to a large bowl.
Meanwhile, put the basil, Parmigiano-Reggiano, 1/4 cup of the olive oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor and purée until smooth.
In a small saucepan over medium-low heat, boil the balsamic vinegar until syrupy and reduced to about 2 tablespoons., 8 to 10 minutes.
Mix the squash with the remaining 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and a few grinds of freshly ground black pepper. Grill, turning once, until golden and tender, 8 to 12 minutes.
Arrange the squash on a platter, dot with the pesto and balsamic syrup. Sprinkle with pine nuts and serve.
Italian Flat Green Beans With Tomatoes and Garlic
- 1 lb Italian flat green beans, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 3-inch pieces (from the green bean share)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 medium garlic cloves, cut into very thin slices ( a 1/4 cup)
- 1 tomato, cut into 1/2-inch dice ( 8 ounces)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper, freshly ground
- 6 -8 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade ( stacked, then rolled tightly and cut into very thin strips)
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook for 5 minutes. Drain immediately.
While the beans are cooking, heat the oil in a medium sauté pan or skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers. Add the garlic slices, distributing them evenly. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the slices become almost translucent and start to brown on the edges; be careful not to let the garlic burn.
Add the diced tomato and salt and pepper to taste, then reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, so that the tomato is heated through. Add the cooked green beans and heat through for 1 to 2 minutes; mix well. Taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
Transfer to a serving dish and top with the basil, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- 8 corn on the cob from the corn share
- Corn Stock, see below
- 1 large onion, diced (about 2 cups)
- 2 large carrots, diced (about 1 cup)
- 2 ribs celery, diced (about 1-1/2 cups)
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 yellow squash, diced (from the squash share)
- 2 lbs potatoes, diced (from the potato share)
- 1 teaspoon seafood seasoning (such as Old Bay)
- 2 fresh whole sprigs of thyme
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups (1 can) evaporated whole milk
Cut the corn kernels from the 8 cobs and reserve the corn and cobs separately. Place the corn cobs and 4 quarts water in a large soup pot. Bring to a boil over high heat and immediately reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes. Remove the cobs and discard.
Add half the reserved corn and all the vegetables to the soup pot and return the broth to a boil; reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the vegetables are tender.
With an immersion blender, puree the soup right in the soup pot. Add the seasonings, remaining corn and milk. Heat on low for about 15 minutes or until the corn is tender.
Grilled Patty Pan Squash with Italian Salsa Verde
For the salsa verde:
- 1 large garlic clove, halved,
- Salt to taste
- 1 anchovy fillet, rinsed
- 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed and chopped
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 3/4 cup (tightly packed) parsley leaves
- Freshly ground pepper
For the squash:
- 4 small to medium patty pan squash from the squash share
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
Combine the garlic, salt, anchovy fillet and capers in a food processor. With the motor running add the olive oil with the parsley and blend to a purée. Season to taste with salt and pepper. If serving within a few hours, allow to sit at room temperature. Otherwise, refrigerate and allow to come to room temperature before serving.
Prepare an outdoor grill.
Slice the patty pan squash in half horizontally and coat with the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Grill the squash for about 5 minutes on each side or until they are tender all the way through.
Transfer the squash to a serving platter. Top each one with a teaspoon or two of the salsa verde and serve.
Yield: 4 servings
- Five Reasons to Join a CSA (viewsfromhere.com)
- Summer CSA: Week 1 (fitnessandfeta.com)
- Week 8: June 25, 2014 (sneadsfarm.wordpress.com)