Real Life CSA: winter share 2

Second winter CSA from Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance this week, with some gems – and even one I had to research! (Also, those eggs in the background came from our backyard. Too lazy to remove them for photos, as well as the recipe holder.)

Mark and I are both excited to try the dilly beans – definitely a popular preservation for green beans in this region, but one that we’ve never tried. Maybe this will inspire us to can some next year!

I love the other supplemental item we got this time too – the goat cheese. Cheese never goes to waste in this house, and goat cheese is definitely a favorite. It’s nice to get some extra pieces like that, which are still locally made, during the winter.

Potatoes from Weeping Willow Farm and these rutabegas from Clarion River Organics will make great sides this week. The purple color is so pretty – there’s truly something edible in every color in nature!

This week I also had to research what salanova was – a lettuce varietal. The Post-Gazette even wrote about it last summer! We eat salads year-round, and we’re excited to get fresh, local lettuce when it’s snowing and 20 degrees outside. (Though it seems we’re about to have a heat wave – high 60s in December? What is going on?) (The salanova is from Crighton’s Farm and the bibb lettuce from Harmony Grove.)
The fresh ginger from Crighton’s Farm is a cool find too. We use it in Asian dishes a lot (though we usually go easy on it, since for some reason it upsets my stomach, which is the opposite of what it does for most people!). Might be time for cashew chicken this week!

The onions from Blue Goose Farm (what a cool name) are also beautiful – really firm and a perfect size. Already used one for dinner the day we got them! Same with the Jona Gold apples from Kistaco Farm – crisp and delicious, especially with peanut butter. 

Real Life CSA: week 19, produce

A little late today. The photo is off-center not because I was trying to be artsy, but because I think I was a little tired after my self defense class. Week 19 features the last of the tomatoes for the year. Going to cherish these!

We’re building up a surplus of red peppers, so I might find a good dish to feature those this week. Broccoli and green beans will make great sides, as will the potatoes if we don’t just store them for awhile. 

I love carnival squash – I wish we had even more of these! They look decorative, but they are so delicious they don’t deserve to sit on a table somewhere.

Really loving their apples this season. I also love that one of the apples still had a leaf attached. When was the last time you saw that in a store?

This cauliflower was a good size, but it’s the greens that are enormous. That thing easily took up half of a crisper drawer in the fridge! Perhaps combined with last week’s, pureed cauliflower is in order! (Tastes like mashed potatoes but is lower calorie and slightly sweet.)

Have you made any good dishes lately with produce from your CSA?

The Next Gen House

My house is not your average house. Sure, the three bedrooms and front porch are average enough, and we live in an average city neighborhood and have an average house cat. My husband and I have average desk jobs from Monday through Friday.

But we have four chickens. And a few raised garden beds. And a big compost area. And a basement full of home canned goods, filling jars that were first filled 50 years ago. And a fridge with raw milk in it. And a freezer full of farm-raised meat.

We didn’t always live like this. In fact, this all traces back to one evening spent on my apartment couch watching Food, Inc. I’d imagine many people who have found themselves caring about the industrial food system’s impact on our world and our lives could trace that interest back to that seminal documentary. But it stirred something in me and in my husband that has refused to go away or diffuse or let go. 

Our house is the Next Gen House. Not only because it’s filled with Star Trek kitsch (which it most certainly is). But because we try to remember that we’re living our lives with an eye on the next generation – following principles of sustainability, health, good stewardship and conservation. 

It’s with this idea that I wanted to create this space. Lately I find myself bursting with the desire to do more. To have a place to share about our lives and why we do what we do – because a lot of people do ask why. At Next Gen House, I’ll write about us, but also share other things I find along the way – great works of food journalism, organizations that need support.

First up – the meat we eat.