Week #1: What We Did With Our CSA Share

I do grow some of the vegetables my family eats, but the garden has been hard for me to maintain for the past several years, so this year we downsized the the vegetable garden and signed up for a CSA half-share with Tantre Farm in Chelsea, Michigan.  (Read more about community supported agriculture here.)

Tantre is well-regarded locally, but I didn’t fall under their spell until my daughter’s preschool took a field trip to the farm.  It is a magical place — welcoming, hardworking, and kid-friendly.

This is not my first CSA, but it is my first since having kids.  We decided to hedge our bets and split a share with some good friends of ours.  Since there’s only two of them — and they’re not vegetarian — they were only too happy to go halfsies.

Here’s my record of what we received and what we did with our Wednesday box of mystery!  All amounts were halved unless otherwise noted.

Week One

Arugula, Asparagus, Sorrel, Green Onions, Parsnips, Potatoes, Radish, Rapini, Sauerkraut, Spicy Salad Mix, Spinach

Arugula: We received both Astro and Sylvetta (aka wild rocket).  We used some of it in a dinner salad on Saturday and the rest went into pasta sauce on Monday night.  I’m not completely sure which type went into which dish.  I had figured out which was which (Sylvetta is more deeply lobed and pungent than Astro), but I wasn’t involved with Saturday’s meal prep and Monday’s meal happened really fast.

Asparagus: We didn’t get a lot of this — after splitting, I think it was 4 big stalks — but we added to them a few spears from our own asparagus bed and they were roasted with oil and salt for Saturday night’s meal.

Sorrel: I haven’t used it yet!  I have some in my own garden (a VERY winter hardy vegetable and yet it took a beating this past winter) and want to make Sorrel soup with it.

Green Onions: First of all, they’re huge.  Easily twice as thick and twice as long as the ones you buy at the grocery store.  I forgot to use them in my pasta sauce so they’re still in the fridge.  My mother gave me the idea last night to plant them so I might do that!  Green onions are perennial and I have some growing in my garden already.

Parsnips: There were about 4 or so small ones and I gave them all to my friend because Matt does not like the flavor of parsnips.

Potatoes: We each got a quart of German Butterball and I still have mine (potatoes keep well!).  Maybe we’ll make oven fries or hashbrowns with them tonight because we’re having eggs and oatmeal (aka BFD, breakfast for dinner).

Radishes: We got about 8-10 French Breakfast radishes after splitting. My five-year-old and I ate these with lunch on Saturday.  Yes, I am not kidding even a little bit about that.  Yes, I was also surprised.  We had them with dipping dishes of oil and salt, which I learned from my soon-to-be sister in law, who swears to me that radishes are just vehicles for salt.

Rapini: Also known as broccoli raab, this one was tricky.  I was all for cooking it, but my weekend chefs decided to put it raw into a salad.  The salad disappeared so no harm done, but I kind of hope we get more so I can try it my way.

Sauerkraut: We got a half jar of pickled watermelon radish made by the Brinery a very new local business that is in partnership with Tantre Farm.  It is zippy and yummy.  Matt kept putting it on hot dogs this past week (we had a lot leftover from a cub scout picnic) and I ate it as a side dish with my lunches.  We’re about halfway through our half jar.  It will get more tangy as time goes on.

Spicy Salad Mix: This went so fast.  It was used for some sandwiches, etc, but ultimately ended up in Saturday night’s big salad.

Spinach: It was used on sandwiches, but I think I still have most of the spinach!  Of course, last week I only just finished off the bag of spinach I received three weeks before at our membership meeting.  I couldn’t believe how long it kept — talk about fresh!  If we get more spinach this week, I might cook it with some bacon to make greens in the style that my mother-in-law’s family makes.  That or it goes into a salad.

That’s week 1.  In less than an hour, I am going to pick up our Week 2 box.

In other local food news, a friend gave me a dozen eggs from her suburban chickens yesterday (hence the dinner we’re planning) and my son is taking great pleasure in picking greens from the deck planter to put on his daily lunch sandwich.  I planted mesclun seeds a month ago on a whim because it was too cold to put in the flowers yet.  Then the squirrels or chipmunks dug around so it’s rather uneven, but as I like to tell people when they express nervousness about gardening: the plants WANT to grow!  And grow they did.

It sounds like we eat a lot of sandwiches, doesn’t it?  Not really, except maybe the boy, who is picky.

12 Replies to “Week #1: What We Did With Our CSA Share”

  1. Oh man, I was wrong — the spinach is all gone, but I have a big bag of Astro arugula. It’s gonna be good with my eggs…

  2. That’s awesome, Carol! I love the idea of a CSA, though I’ve not been part of one yet. We’ll see how my garden goes this year, and maybe I’ll do something like this next year. I love fresh produce.

    1. Yeah, I sat on the fence for many years because of my own garden, but now I’m ready because Matt and I are committed to putting up the excess.

  3. This is awesome, Carol! I will stand by my claim, radishes are the perfect vehicle for salt 😀

  4. Sounds like the first week of the CSA was a hit! The sautéed veg on Saturday was very yummy, as was the salad. 🙂

    I’ve only every heard good things about Tantre. It’s tempting, but most of what they grow, I already grow. Do they sell excess at the Farmer’s Market? Maybe I should start going to the downtown one.

    1. Yes, Tantre is at both the Wednesday and Saturday markets in Ann Arbor. That’s a good way to start! You can drag Ann with you; she was sad she missed signing up this year.

  5. This sounds yummy — I wish there was something around Portland like that. I would join. It would be fun to get the box and explore different ways of using the items.

    I know of something like this in Grand Rapids where a business growing mushrooms — all kinds of regular and exotic —- sell shares and each week you get a variety.

    1. Because you love to cook and experiment, I think you would have a lot of fun with a CSA, Carol. Check out LocalHarvest.org to find CSAs and farmer’s markets near you. Looks like there are farms offering CSAs in Ada, Belding, and Nashville, for a start.

  6. I am so glad you guys are doing Tantre this Summer. Let us know if you end up going to a work party–we will meet you there. This is our 10th year with a share and it is our highlight of the year. Carol, I know what you mean about falling in love with the farm. I tease Deb that I have to go out and visit a number of times a Summer just to soak up the natural beauty. Do you pick up at Community? I often volunteer to help out at the A2 distribution site from 10-1 on Saturdays–feel free to sit with me and chat on days I am there (and you could bring Charlotte!!). I can let you know when. Zingermans is close for coffee and a treat.

    1. Sounds so lovely, Fran! My share partner and I decided to go all so we drive out to the farm to pick up every week on Wednesdays. I have time to fill in the summer with the kiddos so, if it would stop raining on Wednesdays, we will picnic and swing and feed chickens and weed and plant in the children’s garden.

  7. I will be watching your posts with great interest! I really want to try a CSA share sometime.

    1. Do it do it do it do it do it. If you already cook a lot at home, you won’t regret it. I decided I was just pre-buying my produce for six months.

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