farm share bliss

Today, I drove out to Waltham Fields Community Farm to pick up our first CSA farmshare of the season.  It included three different kinds of lettuce, a pound of spinach, a bunch of bok choy, radishes…and the opportunity to walk into the fields and pick sugar snap peas, strawberries, and herbs.  As I stood in the middle of rows of strawberry plants, I was nearly overwhelmed with gratitude…and yet even all the gratitude I was feeling seemed insufficient to the many wonders of this place.

I came home and covered the dining room table in cookbooks, looking for recipes that might do justice to all this goodness.  I like having to cook “ingredients first” rather than “recipe first.”  Tonight’s dinner was a success…and I’m already looking forward to cooking tomorrow. 

8 thoughts on “farm share bliss”

  1. I am 100% with you on the CSA, Sara. It’s hard to explain how great it is to make something out of scapes and squash, rather than come up with ideas first and then get ingredients. And one day last summer, the farmer unloading the truck said, “it was 40 degrees [celsius] when we picked this lettuce today.” I was so grateful for the salad we ate that night.

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  2. Sara, there’s a cookbook that has a bunch of recipes organized by ingredients. It talks about how that’s the way we usually cook, anyway. _Starting with Ingredients_ by Aliza Green. Could be cool.

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  3. Often, simply searching for whatever ingredients are of interest plus the word recipe or recipes will yield interesting results.

    Also, searches within sites don’t always yield the best results. Instead, I prefer to just use the site-search modifier in an open search (works on Google, Yahoo, Ask):
    site:allrecipes.com ingredient1 ingredient2 etc

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  4. For hard copy sources, I’ve found Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone by Deborah Madison useful for figuring out what to do with a bunch of farm share veggies. She has nice descriptions about how to shop for, store, handle, and prepare each vegetable, as well as recipes featuring said veg.

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  5. Being avid farmers’ market shoppers, my wife and I cook by ingredient all the time. To me, the important thing is to have a well-stocked spice rack (a small herb garden is a definite plus) and a host of base ingredients and condiments on hand (e.g., stocks, flours, beans, rices, vinegars, tamari, etc.). We’re a vegan household, so we make sure we have tofu, tempeh, or seitan on hand as well.

    Regarding mfischer (@5), Deborah Madison’s book is a good one for sure. I’d add Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. It has a good chapter on vegetables in which he lists just about every vegetable regularly available and what to do with it. That’s helpful if you, like us, got something you’d never even heard of in your box, like a batch of wild ramps.

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  6. Thanks so much for your suggestions, which I’m excited to explore!

    Two of the books you mention already have served me well. Last night I made “greens with crisped bread crumbs” from Madison’s “Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone” and “butter braised radishes” from Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything.” Though there are many excellent online sources for recipes, I still find it really satisfying to read through cookbooks… Two additional ones that I’d recommend for farmshare feasting are Brown’s “Tassajara Cooking” and Waters’ “The Art of Simple Food.”

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  7. I’m jealous – we tried to sign up for a CSA farmshare, but all of the shares for the CSAs in our area were already completely booked by the time we got around to signing up. We’ve made it a resolution to try to make it to our farmer’s market more often to make up for it.

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