Sunday, May 2, 2010

CSA 2009-10 wrap-up

It's a little tardy, but nobody else has written up the season and somebody ought to.

This was my third year in the Bee Heaven ~Pikarco CSA--the only CSA I've ever subscribed to--so I have only the tiniest modicum of perspective. With that caveat, from that perspective, I'm a bit less happy with this year than the others, both with my cooking and with the CSA overall.

For the latter, the blame can fall squarely on the freezes. That put a big dent in both the variety and, some weeks, the quality of the produce we got. Not a big reduction in the total amount though, I think. I had big plans for beans and for daikon but we never saw either. No white sapotes either. On the other hand, it was nice to try betel leaf and hoja santa; Those were both new this year.

I missed the a la carte offerings we saw in previous years, too. I would have liked to try the various goat cheeses and Mediterranean offerings, but they were only offered in full subscriptions that would have been too much for just me. I also would have bought the occasional bottle of honey had it been offered. I know the freeze limited the supply of milk for the cheese. I recall some mention of it hurting the bees too. I wonder if it affected the ingredients for the Mediterranean stuff.

As for my cooking, looking back over the year I see that I punted with dull and catch-all recipes more often than I would have liked to. I think I got burnt out on all the greens and didn't have much use for all the lettuce and celery. In the first post of the season, I mentioned a plan to revisit recipes from earlier years but I think I only did it a couple times. Still, some interesting recipes in there and some easy and versatile enough to become weekday regulars I can add to my repertoire. I probably won't, but I could.

So what's coming up? I picked up some black sapotes, goat cheese, hoja santa and betel at the Fairchild Food and Garden Festival last week so I need to get on using all of that. Not all in one dish, mind.

I've also got a couple of tomato plants threatening to dump way too many tomatoes on me all at once at some point, assuming the tomatoes ever ripen. How long are tomatoes supposed to hang around growing anyway? The big storm earlier this week knocked a couple green tomatoes off so I've got those to use too. I have an idea that they might go well with the hoja santa but I'm not sure exactly how that might work. Both might be good with chipotle. I could see the goat cheese going in there too. Hmm...

I've definitely got to clear out my overstuffed freezer before so expect some slow down of posting while I deal with that. Also, I have to get a new microwave. The old one still works fine except the little spring that tensions the door latch popped off its mount so now it won't turn on. I wonder if there are any new innovations in microwave design I should consider or if I should go get another tiny defrosting machine.

I think that's about it. Do you folks have any CSA thoughts or summer plans you want to share?


Margie said...

Thanks for the faithful reporting the past 3 seasons on our CSA bounty, and all your food tinkerings! I know many of our CSA members regularly look to your blog for ideas.

A couple of comments: we've never had white sapote in the shares - so not sure what you're remembering... We also never do a la carte offerings DURING the season. We DO have them every summer, and this coming summer is no exception. Just as soon as we wrap up some paperwork, everyone rests a bit, and the fruit starts coming in, we'll start it up, with selected herbs, cheese, Mediterranean goodies, eggs, honey, the occasional tilapia, some new goodies, and whatever fruit is available. As in past years, and as explained in the newsletter, it may not be every week, since the schedule is driven by what's ripening at the time.

We did have beans early in the season and again toward the end (were you out of town on those weeks?) The last two platings were lost to mildews, so there were no beans the last week, as we had originally hoped. No daikon this year, though there were other radishes which could be used equally. No doubt they'll be back next season! Chow!

billjac said...

I guess my memory is a bit muddled; sorry about the inaccuracies.

As for the beans, I'm not counting the green beans (of which we had more than enough). Did we get the other sorts and I missed them?

Marian said...

The goat cheese shortage was due to Hani's goats being pregnant. Now that the kids are of weaning age, there should be more cheese available.

As for the CSA shares, I got overwhelmed by radishes and turnips. Loooved getting all the greens and celery!

Have you thought of getting a dehydrator and drying your bumper crop of tomatoes? Makes for a nice snack, or an ingredient in sauce.

billjac said...

Radishes and turnips are at least distinct. My issue was multiple heads of hard-to-distinguish greens piling up. That I had the ingredients to make gumbo z'herbes was a pretty bad sign.

I don't think dehydration is a good option for my tomatoes. I've had a box of dried tomatoes slowly getting moldy in my pantry for months now. I just don't use the things.

I might make tomato jam, though.

Marian said...

Um, have you thought of keeping dried tomatoes in the frig...?

billjac said...

Given Miami weather I really ought to keep everything in the fridge, but there's only so much room. I prioritize ingredients that I actually like and am likely to eventually use. I've never been a big fan of dried tomatoes; I think I ought to be so I keep buying and intending to use them but I rarely follow through.