22 May 2013

The CSA season begins

Our community-supported agriculture (CSA) subscription started delivering last week, so my projects over the next several months will be to post (1) cheap, simple recipes to use up the produce, and (2) notes about canning. The recipes will be mostly about vegetables, and the canning will be mostly about fruit.

My past experience with CSA's: every week, we'd get a handful of strawberries here, a small sack of green beans there, and six pounds of kale. But that was in the Pacific Northwest, where there's an endemic blight that makes it hard to grow tomatoes. (Man, did I miss Jersey tomatoes while I was living in Seattle. Now that I'm back in Philadelphia, though, I miss getting apples for under $1.00/lb. This mid-Atlantic cheapskate can't win.) Word on the street from a friend who did this particular CSA last year was that the quantity of tomatoes can approach overwhelming levels, and fall can become Carrot Time. So if the same bounty occurs this year, maybe I'll try pressure-canning carrot slices for use in quick winter soups.

We've paid $640.00 up-front for a half-share of vegetables plus a full share of fruit. This amount is comparable to what we would pay for produce at the local farmers market from May to October -- but we'll be getting a larger quantity of produce. We'll still hit the market, though, for local cheeses and wines, plus occasional gifts. I'll look at the math again at the end of the season and see how we did. But with careful, complete use of the produce through immediate consumption and home-canning, I'm almost certain we'll be ahead, and into the winter as well.

Here's a recipe to kick off the season: CSA frittata, using what else? Kale.


  • 1 bunch CSA kale
  • 1 bunch (or less) CSA spring onions, chopped
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 ounces shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 6 eggs, well beaten


    Wash kale and chop into bite-sized pieces. In a large skillet, sautée onions in butter over medium heat until tender. Add kale in batches and wilt. Season with salt and pepper and cook until tender. (Add a little water if necessary. If you do so, let the water cook off before proceeding.) Spread the kale evenly over the skillet, and place shredded cheese in an even layer over the kale. Pour beaten eggs over kale, reduce heat to low or medium-low, and cook until done, 10-15 minutes.

    Serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side dish.
  • No comments: