Farm Fresh Produce: Community Supproted Agriculture

Last week, I impulsively decided that a CSA Farm Share program was a great idea for our family.  I say “impulsively” because I stumbled upon the concept through one of the local farms while looking up U-pick berry info.  I then posted a question in regards to CSA programs on Facebook, and one of my friends replied that her parent’s farm (also local) was just starting up a program.  It’s a $400 investment with a weekly full-share – enough veggies for a family of four – over a harvest season of 20 weeks.  At $20/week for fresh colourful veggies and fruit, I thought it would be worth it and just sub for what we need at the local farmer’s market and grocery store… and in minutes decided we should give it a go. Thus our jump in feet first adventure in CSA Farm Shares.  We’re buying our produce from F&M Farm in Columbus (N. Oshawa) and Kevin picked up our first “basket” today.

Is it not a beautiful bounty of goodness?!?  We’ve got beets, zucchini, radish, spinach, swiss chard, arugula, lettuce, peas, strawberries, and herbs.  Unfortunately, we’re a carrot/onion/celery/cucumber family (and I exaggerate when I insinuate that they’re the only greens we eat…)  Regardless, I’m now having to come up with some fresh ideas on how to serve this “exotic” goodness.

My experience with beets is a long ago memory of childhood in the negative.  And our experience with swiss chard & arugula has been contained to baby mixed greens served with vinaigrette.  How about radishes?  I’ve only had them as a salad topping before.  Garlic scapes?  Never heard of them… (apparently they’re the curly little herbs that I can use just like garlic.  Who knew?)

So for new ideas, I turn to Google.  Google, my friend, you are a wonderful provider of inspiration.   Here are some links to recipes & ideas on how I might use my farm fresh produce in not-just-a-salad ways:

From  10 Fresh Ways to Use Arugula
From  8 Swiss Chard Recipes and
12 Ravishing Radish Recipes

And yes, this one from is a salad…
but it’s a colourful mango, avocado & arugula salad with spicy orange vinaigrette!

From President’s Choice:  Two Cheese Spring Pizza,
Open-Faced Chicken, Arugula & Walnut Sandwiches,
or Cheese Tortellini with Pancetta & Arugula
From  Citrus Beet Salad with Creamy Avocado Lime Dressing

All great ideas (and still some salads, but I could top them with some chicken, fresh bread on the side… yum!)  And there’s always the stand by – just wash, dry, tear, and bag it for a variety of mixed greens to top as desired this week.

How do you use beets, arugula, radishes, or swiss chard?  Any tips on sneaking them by my picky eaters?

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