When we lived in Morgan Hill, California, we participated in community-supported agriculture (CSA) with Mariquita Farm in Watsonville. We always eagerly awaited the start of the season and our weekly share of vegetables and fruits. Of course, the growing season there is much longer than in southern Indiana, so by May we were getting not only greens and potatoes but artichokes and strawberries. Now that we’ve settled in Bloomington, we’ve decided to get back into the CSA routine with Teresa Birtles’ Heartland Farms in Spencer, Indiana. Several friends of ours are members of her CSA and we’ve enjoyed some of the bounty from their shares. We opted to start with a half share, which is supposed to be good for two people; however, I wouldn’t be surprised if we go for a whole share next year because we love our veggies.
Among the challenges of CSA, which you will find either rewarding or frustrating depending on your inclinations, are trying new produce that you otherwise might never buy and coming up with interesting ways to use everything in your weekly share. The Iron Chef in me likes getting a bag of surprise ingredients and devising dishes. Teresa sends an email newsletter every week before the shares are delivered to let people know what’s coming so that they can plan meals and decide what else they might want to buy that week. We picked up our share on Saturday morning at the Bloomington Farmers Market. Teresa told us that the shares are always smaller at the beginning of the season, so this week she added a dozen eggs as well.
So the challenge we’re setting for ourselves is to post a picture of our weekly half share and use as much of it as possible throughout the week, documenting some of the dishes that we think readers might find interesting. We probably won’t use all 12 eggs this week, and the two small bags of popcorn aren’t going to spoil any time soon. We’re thinking about a frittata to use some of the eggs, asparagus, spinach, and chives. A small rhubarb tart sounds pretty tasty. The watercress will probably end up as part of a salad or maybe as pesto. There, that wasn’t so difficult. Let the Hungry Games begin!