Cooking Eating Dining Sharing

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Community Supported Agriculture or CSA

The biggest cabbage I have ever held in my hand.  Look at the veins! 
January and February are a slow time in the field, but not as slow as you think.  The root vegetables, alliums (onions, shallots, leeks, and garlic), and chicories thrive in this cool, wet weather.  Some farmer's markets may be closed until April, but some farms are still producing and some may even make CSA boxes for customers.   What's a CSA, you ask?  It stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  Ask at your local farmer's market and see what is available and if  they can put together a CSA for you.   My neighborhood farm in Glen Ellen is Oak Hill Farm or the Red Barn as we affectionately call it.  They started CSA boxes earlier this year as an experiment to supplement their already thriving spring and summer business.  The boxes will continue every other week, for the next 3 months, until it warms up and the barn re-opens for its regular season in April.

There was much anticipation amongst my friends who eagerly signed up ahead of time for the boxes. What will they put into it?  Their beautiful lettuce greens that they are known for?  Their beets and small broccoli?  Any leftover squashes from the fall?  Flowers??  The excitement was compounded by there only being 35 available boxes, all selling out!  What a good sign!

So here is a peak at the first box!  In it was a beautiful fall kabocha pumpkin, a huge cabbage, carrots, a basket of Brussels sprouts, a large serving of dark green chicory( far right), radicchio (behind the treviso) and treviso (right in front).  There was also three onions and watermelon radishes that are hiding under the enormous cabbage.  I also got to pick out my own bouquet of flowers that were waiting in buckets on a metal cart. 

I am looking forward to making a nice big hearty soup with some of the cabbage and my mother has dibs on the other half....she too loves adding it to everything.   Years ago, when I lived in the Haight area of San Francisco and was living in an attic apt with a very compromised kitchen, I made the most delicious stuffed cabbage. It was a Polish recipe and I was probably trying to impress my Polish boyfriend at the time.   It had barley in it and I don't know what else.  I think its time to make that again, but this time for my Irish husband.  Does anyone have a favorite stuffed cabbage recipe?

Happy Winter Cooking!


Michelle said...

What a delightful blog. My thanks to Peggy Fallon for introducing me to it. I look forward to reading past posts.

Anonymous said...

Hello Tricia,

I have arrived for a visit--how in heaven's name do I subscribe? Love the white bean soup recipe--must try soon. The photos are delicious!


Tricia O'Brien said...

Thanks Jennifer!
Please scroll down on the right sight and click "follow," then choose the way you would like to follow, whether google or facebook.
Thanks so much!
Happy Cooking!!