That very sad time has come. Our 2014 Summer CSA from Red Fire Farm is over. The 20 weeks flew by in a flash, as does the best season. Fall and winter produce don’t excite me nearly as much as what we get in spring and summer, so we opted not to do a share again until next year.
Our final share included lots of greens like lettuce, kale, and dandelion greens, along with carrots, onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, and pie pumpkins. One of the things I do like about fall produce is that it tends to be heartier and doesn’t need to be eaten right away. Mid-summer, with delicate tomatoes and squashes was a little more difficult and required planning on being home many nights when we might have spontaneously gone out.
We are trying really hard to eat better, move more, sleep more, and drink less, so we have been all about salads, and since I am always cold, I love to introduce some warm ingredients into salads.
This warm autumn salad is just some lettuce topped with roasted carrots, sweet potatoes, butternut squash and a quick vinaigrette made from balsamic, olive oil, mustard, shallot, and a dollop of honey. Some goat cheese made it a little more filling and fun. I love easy dinners like this, where I can get the veggies in the oven to roast and move on to doing other things around the house.
Another go-to fall dinner is stuffed acorn squash. There are a billion recipes for stuffed acorn squash, and I love it. It’s a way to have a fairly easy and healthy dinner that you can mix up every time. Our latest stuffed squash creation involved apples, spicy chicken sausage, cornbread, spicy peppers, and onions.
Typically when I am making a stuffed squash, especially a hard squash like acorn, I cut and clean it and get it started roasting, then prepare the stuffing separately. This time around I cooked down some hot peppers and red onion from our CSA in a little coconut oil. I then added in some apple pieces. Once everything was starting to soften, I started the chicken sausage in a separate pan so that it browned. Over the apple mixture, I crumbled some large chunks of cornbread, toasted that up a little, and added some flavor and moisture to it all with chicken stock.
Once that was all settled, I pulled out the acorn squash and stuffed the mixture in, cooking it all together for another eight minutes or so, just until the squash was nice and soft and the filling hot. This stuffed fall squash dish was a huge hit and made for some leftovers the next day.
Now that we’ve made it through a full 20 week CSA, here are a few observations:
- We got to support a Massachusetts farm for a season.
- We really got to know the growing season in Massachusetts. I loved our weekly email from Red Fire Farm letting us know what was happening in the fields.
- We ate a MUCH larger variety of vegetables than we usually do. Dandelion greens and kohlrabi are just two items we probably wouldn’t have purchased otherwise.
- We always had vegetables on hand. Grocery shopping was a quick pickup of some proteins, yogurts, and work snacks.
- We had SO MANY VEGETABLES. Many people commented on my Instagram that their CSAs did not send as much. Red Fire Farm is pretty awesome, and we are grateful for their hard work.
- The payments were in installments early in the season, and they were pretty large chunks of money at once, understandably as it is supporting the farm for the season.
- We had SO MANY VEGETABLES. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Some weeks we shared, others we learned to eat what we were given so we didn’t waste. Still, my compost heap saw a lot of lettuce!
- Pickup becomes a weekly constant. My poor husband was usually the one stuck with this chore since he has the car. It’s not a huge deal, but there were definitely nights it got in the way.
We will likely join a CSA next year, but I am also going full speed ahead with gardening. I am going to double the size of my garden and have already planted garlic and shallots. I have seeds for broccoli, kale, sunflowers, radishes, beets, and kohlrabi. I may have accidentally purchased 900 kohlrabi seeds, so I will be sharing if we end up with a huge crop! I will also plant potatoes, tomatoes, zucchini, summer squash, and basil.
I am grateful that we have access to fresh local food in so many ways and from so many places. Our CSA was a great adventure in learning more about those opportunities!