One of the things that I was looking forward to after moving to Pennsylvania was joining a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture. If you go to LocalHarvest's web page you can find CSAs in your area. Basically, you join up, pay some money and get something back from the farm. What you get back depends on the farm or group that you join. It is kind of a through good times and in bad relationship, drought or flood, you are supporting the farmers. There are a couple in the Pittsburgh area, we joined Penn's Corner Farm Alliance for 32 weeks. One of the things that appealed to us about Penn's Corner was that they are an alliance of more than 30 farms. I would love to have been able to join two different ones or see what some one else gets in their weekly box.
I had my concerns about my first box. It was snowing here last week, nothing was green. I assumed that the farmers would be relying on the greenhouses. The box contained a variety of lettuce, an onion, a dozen eggs, a handful of rosemary, a bag of puffed corn, a quart of apple cider and some black radishes.
The black radish was a new one for us. Used by the French and some Asian countries, it's flavor is a little more pronounced than your normal radish.
I cleaned them, sauteed them in olive oil for a little browning and then put them in a salad with grapefruit and celery and a citrus dressing. We really enjoyed them. I read a French recipe where they are grated and put in creme fraiche. We may try that as well, sounds a little rich.
We already used some of the eggs in spaghetti carbonara. We are struggling with the honey puffed corn. My husband tried it for breakfast, not his favorite. I ground some up and put it in cookies, the kids liked them but there is more.
The little bag of rosemary made me sad. I miss my Texas backyard. I miss my bay tree, my rosemary, sage, parsley, oregano, chives that grew year round. I don't miss the extreme drought. But rosemary was practically a weed in Texas. The little bag was a frank reminder of how different things are.
We are going to start some four squares in our small urban backyard. Once we start gardening, this new backyard will start to feel like we own it. I bet that it will be easier than gardening in Texas. It actually rains here. And one of my neighbors has had some luck keeping rosemary outside in a protected area.
Here is a picture of my husband and one of my son's looking at the backyard on our last day in Texas. The brown spot is where the summer drought death starts. The rosemary wrapped around the beds. It took us a couple years to get us to this point, let's see how our new backyard is next year.
I am going to put a link on In her Chucks What's in the Box? page. It is a gathering of posts about what people found in their CSA boxes. You can see that everyone has different growing seasons.
We got a reminder email from our CSA telling us that our growing season is behind. I think that I had figured that one out on my own. Every time I walk out the door, I am pleasantly surprised not to see snow.