Sunday, June 30, 2013

Roots and Shoots Farm - 2nd Week of CSA Food 2013

As Season 4 of Roots and Shoots Farms' CSA food basket program gets underway, I am feeling like an old hand.  We have been members since year one.

Roots and Shoots Farm is located south of Ottawa and has been certified organic for a few years.  In addition to the CSA shares, they also sell their produce at local markets around the Capital.  I will sometimes buy from them at the Ottawa Farmers' Market - either the location in Westboro or at Brewer Park.

My pickup location is at the Mountain Equipment Co-op in Westboro.  Roots and Shoots sets up a produce stand for walk by shoppers.  This week it included bunches of Jess Weatherhead's beautiful organic flowers. Normally Danny is cheerfully greeting us as we roots through the bins but this time we had Robin Turner himself, the owner of the farm.  The Beatnik van plastered in psychedelic murals has been replaced by a larger, slick looking refrigeration truck.

Typically a pickup takes just a few minutes, but as we get to know each other, we stop to enjoy a friendly chat.  This week I ran into an other veteran, Lesli.  By the time we swapped recipes, food inspirations, and updates on our own home gardens, I am sure the mister figured I had stopped in somewhere for dinner.  We covered it all. Strawberries, canning, tomatoes, garlic, kale, cookbooks and probably a bit more. It made my day.

One of the biggest challenges with having a CSA share is the uncertainty.  It isn't until the last minute that you find out what will be filling the fridge.  Most of us shop with a predetermined grocery list. What used to be so stressful, is now just something we are taking in stride.

Our first basket is not dissimilar to our first one last year, though a wee bit smaller because of a cold, wet past few months.

But what we did receive was high quality and well developed.

This week's basket included:
Cucumber (two)
Kale (I chose curly leaf)
Swiss chard
Spring onions
Herbs (I chose basil)
Hakurei turnips

Tonight we used our radish tops in an open galette, baked on the BBQ.  A few years ago, ignorant of their goodness, radish greens would have ended up in the compost.  Today, I use them like I would spinach.  In fact, the greens were substituted into a recipe that had originally called for spinach - Spinach and Feta Galette found in the latest issue of the LCBO Food & Drink magazine.

With the radishes all tidied up, the mister will be munching on the red buds. A favourite snack.

The bunch of basil was used in a Margherita pizza.  First, some went into the sauce.  Then a number of fresh leaves were laid on the pizza when it came off the grill, as a finishing garnish.

Tomorrow I am making a kale salad.  I have said many times how much I enjoy the kale salad created by Chef Steve Wall at Supply and Demand.  He was gracious enough to allow the recipe to be published.  I just hope I can do it justice.  Jen Wall says the trick is to put in lots of time massaging the leaves during preparation.

And on it will go. Before long, we will be shopping at the markets to fill in until the next basket arrives.

Are you a CSA member? What are you doing with your food basket?


  1. I belong to a CSA in Ithaca, NY - not too far away.. and we seem to be getting very similar produce. What are you doing with the hakueri turnips? I have used them raw in a salad, but my family is not completely taken with them. My CSA suggests pickling them, which I am going to try next.

    We got kohlrabi this week - that went over very well as a salad addition - I just peeled and cubed it. My daughter also stir fried it successfully...

    We haven't gotten any basil yet.. I am waiting. This week we got escarole (great for soup), snap peas, lettuce and parsley. All easy to use.. and kale, which is not too popular .. and napa cabbage, which is. Great to hear about what you are doing with your basket. Thanks for sharing

    1. Hi Marcia:
      Thanks for stopping in to visit the blog. I have made 'latkes' in the past with my turnips and they make for a fun party fun or happy hour snack.

      I have a kale recipe from a local restaurant that I love to visit and enjoy their rendition of kale salad. It kind of tastes like a Caesar salad. The key is to really massage the leaves to soften them. I think they use the curly leaf kale.

      Love to hear what you get in your basket. I get a basket every two weeks and have been pretty good about writing up each basket. It is fun to take the pictures.

      So maybe we will be meeting back here next Thursday!


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