Back in June we signed up to receive weekly market baskets from the Pike Place CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), a program that connects the farmers with the end consumers.
|Danger! Man with Rhubarb.|
For 20 weeks in the summer, we’ll receive a weekly basket of various fruits and vegetables, mostly organic or no-spray. You pay in advance — $505 for the food, and an optional additional $140 for an outstanding flower “basket.” Each week, Pike Place CSA will deliver both to either your work (if you’re a big employer) or a community pickup location.
Each week features whatever’s fresh, and from farms throughout the western part of the state. For example, week 1 featured:
|Shelling peas, yellow salad onions||Alvarez Family Farm||
|artichokes, radishes||Frog’s Song Farm||
Rainbow chard, salad mix
|Full Circle Farm||
|Fava beans, Rhubarb, Oregano, Strawberries||Stoney Plains Organic Farm||Tenino|
|Garlic||Sua Yang Floral & Produce||
It varies each week, and as the summer peaks, they tend to have more fruit than greens. There are two interesting side effects. First, you’re inclined to make your meal plan around whatever it is you’ll be receiving the next week. Second, you get stuff you wouldn’t ordinarily buy. For example, the Baby Beets we received from Full Circle Farm on week 3 were great. On the other hand, the baby turnips didn’t turn out so well. And after the first week, I was rhubarbed out. It does force you to experiment a bit. You’ll really want to have a comprehensive cookbook like the Fannie Farmer Cookbook ready. (Hint: Beets can be steamed or baked in foil.)
Each basket has a two page newsletter with suggested recipes for some of the items. The newsletters are also available online and the recipes are cross-referenced. The old newsletters are also a fun source of speculation for upcoming baskets.
CSA has also offered specials on additional quantities of fresh items. For example, two weeks ago they had three varieties of apricots available in 12 and 24-pound boxes. This week it was some gorgeous Basil (3 pound or 6 pound) and more bing cherries (5 or 20 pound containers). Unless you’re going to make a lot of pies or pesto or dessert or something, you should be careful because this is a lot of produce.
Next week: Sweet Corn, Kohlrabi, Cantaloupe Melon, Beets with greens,
Carrots, German Red Garlic, Red Chard, Basil, Parsley, Shiro Plums,
Green Beans, Red Leaf Lettuce, Blueberries, and, if we’re lucky, pickling cucumbers.
For more information: