This Wednesday, I picked up our box of produce, along with a flat of strawberries I’d ordered alongside. The strawberries were supposed to be for me *and* my parents, but due to unforseen schedule coordination issues, the berries are mine, all mine. I spent the better part of an episode of Arrow last night hulling and halving six baskets of the red, juicy beauties. Those are in my freezer now, most likely destined for smoothies (what else do people do with frozen strawberries, anyway?).
The remaining six baskets are for eating right now, and I have full confidence that my husband and I will be able to motor through them before the week is over. I just finished a breakfast bowl of yogurt, chopped strawberries, and a handful of Protein Granola & Flakes (thanks, Peace Cereal, for the sample!). The sugar count on the cereal is a little higher than I’d like, so I eat it sparingly, using half a serving. It’s plenty sweet to offset a bowl of tart, plain yogurt and berries.
It’s been a joy cooking and eating the rest of the produce from High Ground Organics, too. Their vegetables are impeccable. Heads of butter lettuce are firmer, denser, and crisper than any I’ve bought elsewhere, and the leaves stay crisp all week long. Scallions come with their entire tops attached, and they’re dark green all the way to their long, pointy tips. The fava beans are so fresh and sweet that I couldn’t help but eat all of ours before my husband got a single bite.
My parents are lucky enough to be able to visit their farmers’ market stand in Mountain View, but my church gig precludes me from going on Sunday morning shopping excursions, so their CSA is a more convenient option. I actually used to belong to their first CSA venture when I lived in Santa Cruz. Back then, they called it Two Small Farms, since they were partnered with Mariquita Farm in Watsonville.
Nowadays they run their CSA alone (they’re not so small anymore!), but they will sometimes augment the box with produce from nearby farms when necessary. Their pick-up sites range as far north as Redwood City, the perfect half-way point when I’m on my way to work a little further south. I just put a big ol’ cooler in the trunk, throw in a few ice packs, and my veggie share stays happy and chilled until I’m home in the evening.
It was definitely a challenge fitting my CSA share *and* a flat of strawberries in the cooler this week, though. I was glad to be in a secluded residential neighborhood with minimal onlookers as I played vegetable tetris for about ten minutes, arranging and rearranging until I was fairly certain the berries wouldn’t be mangled on their journey up and down the peninsula.
Having beautiful, locally grown produce on hand makes me more excited about eating vegetables at every meal. While the offerings at Trader Joe’s are just fine (we live within walking distance of one, so I end up there for most of our staples), these are on a whole other level of freshness, crispness, and flavor. It’s surprisingly easy to eat up the whole share each week, and I always look forward to the next delivery.
All of the photos in this post are dishes I’ve made with the produce in our CSA share. The turnips and lettuce were prepared with recipes from Hugh Acheson’s new cookbook, The Broad Fork — stay tuned for a full review at The Kitchn soon! The zucchini fries will be in next week’s Garlic Gold® e-newsletter, and the eggs were a total non-recipe (just add some cilantro and green onions to your usual mix). I served those to tide over friends while I prepared the rest of our dinner, and they were a nice change from basic deviled eggs.
Oh, and I should mention, I was not paid or compensated in any way by High Ground Organics for writing this post. I’m just enjoying the deliveries so much I couldn’t help but spread the word! This week’s share included mei quin choi and escarole, two specimens I’ve never had the pleasure of cooking with. I’m looking forward to coming up with some new preparations for these beautiful leafy greens.