Why did you join the Owl's Nest Farm CSA?
We joined because we love to eat homemade, healthy, delicious food. Ari is a vegetarian who loves to cook and Andrew maintains a special diet because of a health condition. We have fairly packed weekends, making it difficult for us to regularly visit the farmers markets in our neighborhoods. The CSA was a great solution because it guaranteed access to local produce every other week. As an added bonus, Spencer is a childhood friend of one of Andrew's roommates, so we were excited to support friends and their new business.
What was your favorite fruit, veggie, and/or herb from the CSA this year?
We loved everything, so it's hard to narrow down. The abundant tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, ground cherries, garlic scapes, and pea shoots were always the first to go. The list of our favorites is very long!
Tell us about any new veggies you tried in 2016.
Ground cherries and garlic scapes. Both were a huge hit. Neither of us had tried them before. Andrew ate the ground cherries by the basketful. Ari loved putting garlic scapes in everything - eggs, pasta, and on pizza. A funny memory for us is trying to figure out how to eat the ground cherries. It took a few tries before we discovered that you had to peel off the paper outer shell first.
Please share your favorite recipe(s).
This is almost too hard to answer, because Ari loves to cook. Some of our favorites are Luisa Weiss's tomato basil pasta, Smitten Kitchen's zucchini and ricotta galette, pea shoot riscotto, Ina Garten's watermelon and tomato salad. But, our all-time favorite recipe, which is spectacular with fresh tomatoes, is this buttery tomato sauce.
What tips do you have for folks who might be trying a CSA for the first time?
The CSA took us out of our cooking comfort zone, which was awesome and daunting at the same time. Be open and flexible to trying new recipes. It was a lot of fun to experiment with greens we hadn't tried before (tatsoi being one). We turned to cookbooks, food blogs, and friends for advice about how to prepare things. We also figured out what items would last for a while (the greens) and which items we had to use right away (tomatoes). Having a strategy so food wouldn't go to waste was a learning curve for us, but really encouraged experimenting with new preparations and being creative with new recipes. Or, winging it, Andrew style.
Tell us about your unexpected CSA bonus!
The seedlings! Ari took several herbs and a tomato plant home. On her tiny front porch in Mt. Pleasant, she successfully kept everything alive. It was an unexpected treat to watch the seedlings bloom and produce fruit, and a success story for a decidedly not-green-thumb (what's the opposite of a green thumb?)!