Joining a CSA is a great way to get to know where your food comes from. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) links consumers directly with local food producers and operates on “shares.” Farms sell a number of shares at the beginning of the season to secure the capital they need in exchange for weekly produce boxes to each share-holding member throughout the season. You will be presented with a box of food that is currently ready to eat and the contents will change week by week as other vegetables become ripe.
B Street Market is offering food boxes with no subscription this year. This week’s box includes a pound of apples, a pound of pears, radishes, grape tomatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, cucumber, pak choy, garlic and everbearing spinach. All these items are grown locally in New Mexico by the farmers participating in the recognized New Mexico Farmers Market within the grocery store.
Here is how I would approach this box: Pak choy is a very mild green, tasting very much like most lettuces, so I would chop it along with the spinach to eat raw in a salad. Add a couple of radishes sliced and half the cucumber and a third of the zucchini also sliced to the greens for your salad.
Making Quick Pickles
Make a quick pickle using a couple more radishes, the rest of the cucumber, two cloves of garlic and an apple chopped in nickel-sized pieces. A refrigerator pickle is made using equal parts water and vinegar. For 16 oz. of brine, that would be 8 oz. water and 8 oz. of your favorite vinegar (I like apple cider vinegar), a teaspoon of sugar and a teaspoon of sea salt, and herbs to your taste. Put the brine ingredients in a small pot with the herbs chosen and bring to a boil until the sugar dissolves. Put your radishes, cucumber, garlic and apple in a jar, pour the brine into the jar, covering the vegetables and fruit, put the top on the jar and place in the refrigerator. This pickle will be ready to eat the next day and will keep up to two months if kept in the refrigerator.
Flavoring Quick Pickles
Fresh herbs: dill, thyme, oregano, and rosemary hold up well
Dried herbs: thyme, dill, rosemary, oregano, or majoram
Garlic cloves: smashed for mild garlic flavor, or sliced for stronger garlic flavor
Fresh ginger: peeled and thinly sliced
Whole spices: mustard seed, coriander, peppercorns, red pepper flakes
Ground spices: turmeric or smoked paprika are great for both color and flavor
This pickle could be used as a salad dressing as well which is how I like to eat it.
But Wait, There’s More
For the remaining ingredients of the box, sauté the yellow squash and rest of the zucchini along with another 2 cloves of chopped garlic adding a handful of grape tomatoes at the end until they start to wrinkle. This makes a nice side dish for your meal.
Finally, either make or buy a pie crust, flatten it out on a cookie sheet, sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Slice a few pears and arrange on the pie shell, dot with butter and sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon to your taste. Fold the edges of the pie crust in to overlap the pears about 2 inches all the way around. Bake in the over at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes and you will have an easy fruit tart for dessert!
Nancy Fay McCloud lives in Mountainair where she owns the B Street Market, maintains a flock of Navajo Churro sheep, 60 chickens, two horses, four dogs, one cat, one parrot, and a large market garden at Happy Bee Farm. Reach her at email@example.com.