Last week was the first CSA pickup. I’ve had “blog” on my to-do list for a week, now, and I haven’t done it! Not an auspicious start to the season. I have, however, been cooking, so eventually, you’ll get to see all of that.
The first week or two of CSA is always light. Early June in this zone isn’t exactly the height of abundance, and this year that holds particularly true. We had a very cold, wet, drawn-out thaw this spring.
So here’s the first haul:
We had the makings for a good salad, though the lettuce got used elsewhere…
I made these amazing Vietnamese-style chicken patties that were served on lettuce leaves. The makings for the chicken patties came largely from Greengrocer Foodhub, including these amazing mini purplette onions that I’d never had before. I didn’t have scallions, so I subbed them in, and they were delicious.
I did not have any fish sauce, so I made a substitute – one part soy sauce, one part rice vinegar, and half a part worcestershire sauce.
The first pickup went smoothly. Little Chef insisted on helping, complete with a mask that he said makes him “look like a ninja.” I wore my usual first-day attire: my veggie dress. I also wore my honeybee face mask, because why not.
Longtime readers will be familiar with the mention of Chelsa. Over the past couple of years, she’s been mentioned in my blogging in several capacities – first, as an urban farmer with a microgreen CSA and then a regular CSA, then, as a friend, and finally, as the owner of Greengrocer Foodhub, a small grocery in Bloomfield that specifically sources locally.
Well, throughout this whole Covid-19 situation, Chelsa has been in full-on Superwoman mode. Despite having a three-month-old son, she has managed to steer her store through a huge surge in sales. They’ve moved to an online-ordering format, and customers can pick up curbside. They’re keeping their neighbors fed and safe throughout this whole mess. Personally, I feel indebted to Chelsa and her (very small) team for helping to ease my anxiety… I have two small children that are BOTTOMLESS PITS, and thanks to this store, I don’t have to stress about how quickly we’re running through fruit and milk. The thought of going into a large supermarket right now frankly terrifies me.
Why do I take the time out to mention all of this? First of all, if you’re local, I highly recommend sending your business Chelsa’s way. Once this is all over, you should also visit the interior of her store in person – it’s adorable. Secondly, while the masses panic, there are local options all around to piece together your provisions. You don’t have to be part of the supermarket herd. Thirdly, it’s more important than ever right now to choose to support the little guy. This is going to be a very hard stretch for everyone, economically. One of the important questions to ask yourself is where you want your money to be going. To me, it’s a no-brainer. I’d rather support the local shop, run by a woman I know personally, whose son I’ve held, who takes care of her employees and customers, rather than a branch of a corporate tree, who’s more about volume than quantity.
Today was the Grand Opening of Greengrocer Foodhub’s storefront in Bloomfield! I missed the ribbon cutting this morning, since the baby was sleeping, but both kids and I made it over there mid-afternoon. We got “a beet the size of your head,” zucchini, cucumber, raspberries, apples, broccoli, snap peas, cider, and sausage…. most of which were things picked out by my 5 year-old. I hung back to the side of the store when we were done, and I let him bring the basket up to check out, as well as my credit card. It was so sweet to see him get to take care of the whole process, and he was really proud of himself.
Check it out if you’re local! 27 Cartaret St. Bloomfield. They’re open 9-7 Saturday and 10-5 Sunday.
What did I do with my delightful haul? I finally made beet & zucchini pakoras! I shredded (most of) the giant beet, 2 zucchini, and a large carrot. To that, I added a batter made of flour (the original recipe called for chickpea, but I used all-purpose), cumin, garam masala, and salt. Then, I fried them in oil. They’re basically middle-eastern beet latkes. I got the recipe out of a “Farmers Market” cooking magazine that I bought this summer.
They’re supposed to be served with mint yogurt, but we used sour cream. They were delicious.
The other elements of the meal: broccoli & snap peas with hummus, and chicken salad for the grownups (made with a Wrong Direction Farm chicken that I roasted this morning) and tuna fish for Little Chef, who was opposed to the red onion in the chicken salad.