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CSA box, week 1

Last Tuesday I got my first CSA box from Los Jalapenos.  It included fava beans, snap peas, garlic scapes, squash blossoms, 2 heads of lettuce, cilantro, carrots, radishes, (big) green onions, and "Mexican squash" (summer squash). 

The scapes and squash blossoms are filler (stuff you get for free by growing something else).  Including such things helps a place to turn a profit, so I understand it.  And I don't mind trying new/unusual/fringe items...both were fine, but I wasn't overjoyed.  The favas were a nice touch.  I did suggest they add fava-prep instructions to their newsletter, as favas are not like other beans (there's an extra skin that needs to be removed).  Once prepared, though, they're tender and tasty.  Some lettuce-head variety would be nice; I'm no huge fan of iceberg-style lettuces.  Still, when I do the math, it's a pretty good deal.

Add to that a box of grape tomatoes from the Park St. farmstand, some lamb sausage from the LM farmer's market, a few new potatoes from my garden, and miscellaneous other items.

Results (over the course of a week):
-- salad and fixings (carrot, onion, radish, tomato, sunflower seeds, crumbly Mexican cheese)
-- squash blossom soup (not a big success...things were learned)
-- snap peas and new potatoes with dill
-- lamb and fava beans
-- scape&cilantro pesto (in freezer now)
-- sausage with summer squash, tomatoes, and Italian seasonings
-- (end of week) all remaining veg, fried with new potatoes and a harvest of peas from the garden.

So, why a CSA box on top of the garden?  Well, I wanted to see what they were like from the consumer side, as I sometimes toy with doing one from the producer side...some faraway fantastical day when I have all my **** together, garden-wise.  This summer I have a housemate, one who eats veg, so we can probably get around a full CSA share.  And, although I have a garden, it is often an intermittent producer of a subset of available veg; the CSA box will definitely add variety.

And so far, it looks like it will be a good thing.  A bit trying, making sure all the veg is used before it turns, but certainly doable, and it keeps me out of fast food, mostly.  I enjoy cooking, and I enjoy a challenge, so being handed a box of raw ingredients works for me.  And although I do have a housemate, I am definitely eating the lion's share of the veg., which means I'm eating far more veg than I usually do.  I was no slouch before, but now I must eat it; I can't go to the store after a bad day, bypass the broccoli, and get a package of Oreos instead.

Okay, so I still eat Oreos too. But they're offset by lots of greens. 

On the minus side, I do have less control over the quality of ingredients; I just get handed stuff.  Most of it, I would have picked a bit younger.  Maybe next year, I'll instead set myself a budget and hit the market every week, or two smaller visits to different markets.
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