Real Life CSA: winter share 4

More variety in our fourth share this week, as well as some regular favorites.

Lettuce and microgreens will supplement our salads this week, like usual. I know I’m a vegetable geek, but lettuce looks so cool in its spiral.

This Ivory lace cheese from Hidden Hills Dairy is supposed to be a havarti-style cheese good for sandwiches. We’ll never say no to cheese.

The banana fingerling potatoes are adorably petite and will make a great side of some sort. 

I will likely do some baking this weekend with the fuji apples, since we still have some braeburn apples from the last share for snacking. I’ve been enjoying making muffins or scones from the King Arthur Whole Grains baking book, so I will probably dig up a recipe there.

Each year we can tomatoes, and we use them sparingly since they are the equivalent of gold when it comes to pantry items. So getting an extra jar of home canned tomatoes is pretty awesome.

Also exciting is tomatillo salsa – we ate it on tacos last night and it was delicious. We both love tomatillos but rarely buy them because they are expensive in the grocery store and hard to find at a lot of the farmers markets we go to. So this is a treat!

Getting canned goods like these makes me even more anxious for garden season to come around. This winter weather doesn’t help, either!

Real Life CSA: winter share 3

After a brief holiday break, we got our third winter share. I might have actually squeed out loud a bit when I got the email saying what we were getting this week. Cheese, pasta and honey puffed corn in the same week? Heaven!

Here’s what we got!

The eggs (Heritage Farm) are a great supplement for us, since our chickens aren’t producing at the rates they do in the seasons with lots of daylight.

Garlic (Blue Goose Farm, certified naturally grown) and squash (Kistaco Farm) will go down in the basement to stay cold for awhile. I’m thinking of making some muffins with the apples (Dawson’s Orchards).

This cheese (Riverview Dairy) will be great to try. It looks similar to a hard cheese like parmesan, but who knows if that’s how it will taste.

I never liked real maple syrup as a child, even though my dad kept telling me how good it was. Now I wouldn’t touch Aunt Jemima with a 10 foot pole. Give me the real stuff! (This syrup is from Weeping Willow Farm.)

In addition to the cheese, I’m most excited about the honey puffed corn (Clarion River Organics, organic) and pasta (Fontana Pasta). The pasta is fresh, so I froze it right away since we already have our meals planned out for the week. You can boil pasta straight from frozen.

The honey puffed corn is just like corn pops, but without all the crap and chemicals. I could eat this stuff like candy.

The lettuce is hydroponic (Harmony Grove) and has been great in the other shares. The other green wasn’t specifically identified, but I think they look just like baby bok choy, so that’s what I’m going with (Goose Creek Farms, certified naturally grown). I have a great recipe for sauteed bok choy with great Asian flavors, so this might end up in a side.

My favorite part about this share with Penn’s Corner so far is the great variety. It’s so much more than just root vegetables and squash – the things you can easily store over winter. For a season that is usually pretty dreary in the fresh food department, this share has been wonderful. Can’t wait til share #4!

Side note: For more info about certified naturally grown and what that means, check out this post.

Real Life CSA: winter share 1

This week we received our first winter CSA share! This is our first year with Penn’s Corner Farm Alliance. (Just for the record, we switched for winter due to pickup locations – not because we have complaints about our spring/summer/fall CSA.) Penn’s Corner is a 30-member farm cooperative in southwestern PA – their members use sustainable farming practices and have a huge variety of food items available. (They even run an online farm stand with various pickup locations around the city!)

So here’s what we got for the first share!

We get an email with details before each share, but Penn’s Corner also posts even more information on their blog. It includes recipes and a list of where each item came from, since they aren’t all from the same farm. 

I am psyched to see honey from Bedillion Honey Farm, which is an essential ingredient in the homemade granola I make for breakfasts. 

It’s amazing that even after being a produce CSA subscriber for years, we still get things that we’ve never had before. (Oh the wonder of not limiting your vegetables to the ones in the grocery store!) The giant rock of a vegetable above is a black radish from Nu Way Farm, which happens to be very close to where I grew up, in Mercer County. (For those of you locals, Fredonia!) 

I absolutely adore brussels sprouts, so these ones from Clarion River Organics will be roasted with the shallots we got in this share from Crighton’s Farm.

It comes in really handy for us that we also got a dozen eggs, since our chickens have been going through a decently long period of not laying, with the time change and lack of light, plus molting at the same time. Only within the last week did one of them (Ensign Ricky the champ, we think) start laying again, so our egg supply has dwindled significantly. These eggs are from Heritage Farm

All of the great greens will be eaten up in salad, including the hydroponic bib lettuce. The pears will make great snacks too! Definitely thrilled with the selection and quality of this first share – and can’t wait until we get to discover the next one in two weeks!