Friday, June 13, 2008

Summer of Green(s)

I've jumped on the non-fossil fuel emitting bandwagon. I have always ridden a bicycle, but for the first time, I'm making a conscious effort to reduce my driving.

This, in part, came about because of my participation in a CSA. During the winter share, I realized I was buying less but driving more to the grocery store. Instead of my weekly run, where I'd buy food for the next several days, I would pick an ingredient or two from the box, find a recipe, and drive to the store to buy what was missing from my shelves -- a few times a week.

I felt like these extra trips defeated the purpose of community supported agriculture, which should cut down on greenhouse gas emissions through deliveries of locally grown food (I say "should" because of current research challenging the notion that eating local always leaves a smaller carbon footprint than eating food that comes from farther afield, depending on how food is packaged and transported, what type of food it is, and how it is grown).

I have since started going to the small Mexican grocery store around the corner more but still shop often at the nearest Jewel and Whole Foods, which are close but not walking distance.

With warmer weather (finally!) hitting Chicago, I decided to cut those short car trips out as much as possible. I took my rusty but trusty 12-year-old mountain bike to a bike shop and got a rack and two collapsable baskets installed on the back.

And just in time for the summer CSA, which started Wednesday!

Speaking of green, there is a lot of that in this share.

Fortunately, many of the Wisconsin farms that contribute to my CSA were not hit too hard by all the rain and flooding that is devastating parts of the Midwest. At least that's the preliminary report. In the first box, we got lettuce, spinach, asparagus, green garlic, mint, and chives (topped by purple flowers, who knew?).


While there are many greens, the share includes some brilliant colors - those purple flowers, bright red radishes (which tasted crispy and spicy in my salad last night), chewy white mushrooms, dark red stalks of rhubarb, and a jar of brown pear butter.


There is more urgency to eat this food. The shares are going to come hard and fast every other week, instead of once a month, and many of the greens spoil if not eaten in a few days to a week.

We've already made a small dent with a big salad last night and sliced mushrooms, radishes, hearts of palm, and goat cheese. The night before, Ryan tested one of the recipes included in the CSA newsletter.

Spring Linguine

1/2# asparagus – prepared and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 # mushrooms, sliced
2-3 stalks of green garlic, sliced
Handful of spinach
1 pd. Linguine pasta
Salt and pepper, chives, parmesan cheese (we subbed asiago cheese)

Boil water and cook pasta according to directions on package
Meanwhile, sauté garlic, asparagus, and mushrooms in olive oil, until slightly tender.
Turn off heat and add spinach – season with salt and pepper
Add drained linguine (hot)
Toss well
Top with chopped chives and shredded parmesan cheese

4 comments:

GourmetGoddess said...

Your box is already way better than what last year's was like! May it continue to be so!

A good way to deal with radishes, especially if the weather is a little cooler, is to roast them in the oven with olive oil, rosemary, and salt. Cooked radishes get nicely soft and have a good flavor without the heat of a raw radish.

My garden is coming along well. I had to do some replanting as some of my seeds drowned. But, I think I will have the first lettuce within a couple of weeks and my snow pea vines are already trellising up the fence. I planted some flowers, too, to help attract bugs for pollination and was pleased to discover that they are hatching actually ladybugs. Ladybugs! So exciting!

Lindsay said...

That sounds like a great way to try radishes. We also sauteed them with greens, green garlic, chives, and olive oil.

I hope your lettuce survives the the replantings. That's one thing I'm worried about this summer - how the produce from Wisconsin with fare after the flooding.

Rachel said...

there are chives growing in my backyard - left over from the previous owner. they have purple flowers on them too!

Jane said...

alas, the purple flowers are pretty but must be plucked off of the chives. otherwise i think you will have lots of purple flowers and no chives!

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