2012 CSA: Week 1 – Lettuce Tsunami

The first CSA of the year arrived! Seeing the box made me happy I decided to do go for it again this year. I think this year’s CSA is going to suit us well. First, it’s getting delivered to our house. Going to a drop off point was fine last year, especially since the CSA I subscribed to last year started in the summer and school was out. Now it’s a tougher for me to drive about 20 minutes away to get our produce because my commute time already is a hefty 45-60 minutes. Second, we’re getting a smaller box (5/9 of a bushel) every week. Getting a bushel of fresh veggies every two weeks was more than I could reasonably cook through before at least some of it went bad.

Lastly, Tomato Mountain, the CSA provider, emails both before and after a drop-off is about to occur. Instead of guessing what’s in the box like I did last year — admittedly it was very fun — now I know exactly what I’m getting. Please know that we loved last year’s CSA provider, Angelic Organics. I cannot say enough about our CSA experience and we loved visiting the farm and making goat milk ice cream. It was one of the highlights of our summer and we plan on visiting again this year.

Let’s just get to the pictures already, why don’t we? Look at the pictures, try to guess what they are, and I’ll put the answers at the bottom of the post…

Spinach!!!

Lettuce

Another lettuce!!

A nice dark lettuce

You know, there has never been a time in my life where I went to the grocery store and bought four bags of lettuce. I have never done that. So four bags of greens to be eaten in one week? That’s a challenge for me. My husband said very seriously, “This is a sign that our family needs to be eating healthier.” I thought that was funny considering I bought and paid for this “sign.” The first recipe I made was Turkey Taco Salad, which is what I did last year, too. It’s just too, too easy. We used the second lettuce from the top as the basis for the salad. I cannot say it enough: I love a good taco salad.

Last weekend I made a side salad with the dark lettuce and you need to know that the leaves were so delicious that it didn’t need dressing. I love a good dressing, but this lettuce did not need it. In fact, my husband commented over that meal that we need to stop buying packaged dressings and just stick to oil and vinegar. I definitely want to go more unprocessed so I’m fine with that. (If you have a dressing recipe that you want to share with me, I’d love to hear it.)

What’s so funny about this experience is that I’m looking at these lettuces and a thought comes into my head, “Is this lettuce safe?” I buy the plastic boxes of organic spinach that are made in massive batches on large farms and I never question the safety of the industrial produced variety, yet the stuff that I’m getting straight from the farm… I wonder about *that*?? For me, that thought forced me to acknowledge my backwards thinking. I actually even had a box of plastic spinach in my fridge — it looks nothing like that farm fresh stuff — and now I’m going to wonder about that stuff.

The last thing in the box was a surprise:

Jam!

The output of the farms first few weeks was lower than they had expected. They grow their greens in hoop houses and when for about 10 days in March we experienced a freak 80 degree heat wave, the lettuces were negatively affected. In an email, Tomato Mountain said that the high heat was not ideal for cooler loving lettuce. The CSA managers decided to throw in a jam because they felt bad about the “smaller” box. I have to say that I felt a bit bad that they gave us this amazing jam because part of signing up for the CSA is knowing that you either share in the farmer’s bounty or in their lower yields. It’s part of the inherent risk. Anyway, the stuff was a terrific, unexpected treat.

Here’s what the CSA’s email told me the greens were:

Toyko Bekana, Vitamin Green, Red Rain

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13 Responses to 2012 CSA: Week 1 – Lettuce Tsunami

  1. Stacy April 26, 2012 at 8:53 pm #

    I admit, I do love a salad, but we throw it in tacos, on burgers and sandwiches, in spring rolls, and in smoothies and green juice. The smoothies and juices had us plowing through greens like whoa.

    We’re spoiled with our year-round CSA in SoCal, but I’m excited for the start of spring mix after all those hardy winter greens.

  2. Kathy April 26, 2012 at 9:25 pm #

    I eat salad almost every day for lunch and my absolute favorite dressing is: 1 part Dijon mustard, 1 part honey (I use a local-to-me honey), 1 part apple cider vinegar (I use Bragg’s raw, unfiltered), 2 parts extra virgin olive oil. Shake it up and it’s delicious! I actually crave this dressing, which is so weird. But it’s so good! Enjoy your CSA! We had one a couple of years ago but it was just too much food. I felt bad for throwing stuff on the compost heap when we couldn’t eat it in time. Now we shop at our local farmer’s market every week instead and buy just enough. And as a happy coincidence, the farm that did our CSA sells at our market! So I still buy from them. Win-win!

  3. Tacomamama April 26, 2012 at 9:34 pm #

    Well, you just did taco salad, but lettuce tacos are also delicious. Just use the lettuce in place of a shell. Works even better if you make the “innards” a little spicier than usual.

  4. MemeGRL April 26, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    Mmm, will have to try Kathy’s dressing. Currently I’m pretty hooked on this one:
    http://benandbirdy.blogspot.com/2012/04/perfect-vinaigrette-healthy-lunch-bowl.html

  5. Kandice April 27, 2012 at 12:17 am #

    We are on week 2 of our CSA and we’ve got tons of lettuce, chard and mustard greens along with onions, radishes, beets and turnips. For your greens, especially the spinach, you might want to try green juice if you have a juicer. Throw in cucumber, celery, spinach and an apple or pear. It’s delicious. Check out Crazy Sexy Life for more recipes. (crazysexylife.com)

    Have fun!

  6. Heather @ InHerChucks April 27, 2012 at 1:32 am #

    Lots of lettuce…but I have to say, there is nothing more tasty than fresh, local, organic lettuce. Would love for you to link up to my CSA link party and share your beautiful bounty! http://inherchucks.com/2012/04/26/whats-in-the-box-23/. Hope to see you there :)

  7. Ashley April 27, 2012 at 5:52 am #

    Tomato Mountain also makes the best salsa I’ve ever tasted…check it out!

  8. meredith April 27, 2012 at 9:12 am #

    For awhile now, I have been making my own salad dressing and since doing my own, I don’t like the taste of pre-bottled mixes. Here’s my basic recipe:

    In a tall mesuring cup or shaker…
    1 tbs dijon mustard
    1tbs balsamic vinegar
    1 small crushed garlic clove
    salt to taste
    pepper to taste
    …I mix the above ingredients with two forks held together in a “spooned” position. I don’t know why, but this way of mixing helps me create a thick emulsion.

    Once this is thick, I add 2 tbs olive oil and mix again with the two forks until thick.

    Repeat with the olive oil 3 more times, mixing after each addition of 2 tbs. The dressing is thick and you’ll probably have enough for two salads.

  9. Katie April 27, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    I usually just lurk, but I wanted to say I saw your post last time about possibly going with Tomato Mountain, and that led me to choose them for a CSA too! So definite thanks for that. The delivery is just too convenient and the ability to choose different sizes is really helpful. I agree on the greens – I would never choose to buy so much for a week but I think that just means we need to be eating more! And agree on the Red Rain dark greens – I keep munching on the raw undressed greens while putting together a salad. I used the other greens in a stir fry and a soba noodle dish. Oh, and with the spinach I made a pesto for pasta, but could have happily eaten it with a spoon. I’m now brainstorming how to use this week’s delivery!

  10. Karen April 27, 2012 at 7:01 pm #

    A friend of mine makes dressing she calls “2-2-1″ The name is the recipe. 2 parts olive oil, 2 parts balsamic vinegar (or another of your choice, balsamic is really good), 1 part dijon mustard.
    Lovely.

  11. Shannon April 30, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    I giggled over this post- the lettuce tsunami didn’t have any lettuce! The red rain is a mustard green, and Tokyo bekana and vitamin green are related to pak choi and tatsoi. All of these can be cooked as well as eaten raw. My CSA box has had lots of greens lately, too- turnip greens, arugula, pak choi, lettuce, radishes (in past seasons I’ve just composted the radish tops, but my cookbook says they can be treated like turnip greens, so I’ll be trying that for the first time this week).

    It’s pretty cool that you’re willing to try something new, even when it’s so unfamiliar!

  12. Alison May 1, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    One of my favorite dressings is easy and delicious. 3 TBS olive oil, 3 TBS apple cider vinegar, 1 TBS of honey, salt and pepper. Sometimes I throw in a smashed garlic clove as well.

    • Mrs Q May 2, 2012 at 9:16 pm #

      Sounds amazing!

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