This week was the first pick up for my CSA (Lancaster Fresh Farms, Prospect Heights pick up at Ortine Cafe). I've had a not-so-great CSA experience in the past. While living in Boston, my CSA made me feel like I was getting farmers' market rejects. Rarely did we get tomatoes. We were blasted with beets and kale during summer's peak (too soon). I spent just as much money at the grocery store as I did previously. However, I decided to give it another go. One of the things that attracted me to buy into this farm was that I couldn't find any evidence of them selling to farmers' markets. In my superficial research, it seems that this farm ONLY does wholesale and CSA. I'm hoping I've found my local and seasonal veggie match. It's a little soon to tell, but in this first week, I am pretty satisfied with my options.

The players are mint, green leaf lettuce, scallions, baby bella mushrooms, radishes, asparagus, baby bok choy, and grown up bok choy. I actually traded rhubarb for the asparagus. I'm allergic to rhubarb, but I hope those red stalks make someone very happy. CSA is a very different cooking beast than most of us are used to. It's cooking based on restriction, or cooking based on what you have. We're not used to cooking what we have instead of cooking what we want. Instead of planning my meals and then getting groceries, I now have to get my groceries and then plan my meals. I find this to be an exciting game. It's almost a puzzle. How can I cook and eat all these wonderful things while minimizing what I buy at the grocery store? Asparagus and lettuce are easy, since they pretty much stand alone with the right meal. Baby bok choy I stir fried with shrimp, scallions, oyster sauce, and sugar. I got a little more creative with the other stuff.


  1. I can personally attest that this CSA haul was magically transformed by Bethany's small yet skillful hands into a delicious meal. I was super impressed.


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