I have tried to grow vegetables in the past without much success. I’m saving my next effort for when I have more space and more time to devote to it. For now, I love my local CSA (Community Supported Agriculture).
Community Supported Agriculture is when a farm sells shares of its annual harvest. I pay a fee for the year and get weekly produce from the local farm between May and October. My CSA happens to be university-owned, so it’s both a productive farm and an education center.
The August Harvest
Part of the fun of a CSA is eating seasonally. In May and June, we get a lot of lettuces and greens, radishes, kohlrabi, and green garlic. As the summer progresses, we start to get more of the hot weather produce like zucchini, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Fall is for greens again as well as winter squashes, carrots, and radishes.
The most abundant harvest comes in August. We get big shares of some of my favorite vegetables:
- Green beans. My August shares usually include bags and bags of green beans. Since the farm is a research and teaching farm, we often get unique varieties. My favorite is the dragon bean, or dragon tongue bush bean. This flat pod is white with purple streaks. It has a crunch, great for eating raw but also stands up to steaming, stir frying, and roasting.
- Tomatoes. My absolute favorite comes in waves beginning in August. The farm produces several heirloom varieties of tomato””Brandywine, black cherry, green zebra, and more””and some weeks I get as much as 7 pounds (3 kg.) of my choice. Some of my favorite ways to eat them are in a simple caprese salad, in gazpacho, and sliced and sprinkled with sugar.
- Cucumbers. As with tomatoes, I mostly enjoy my haul of cucumbers raw. There is nothing better than a simple salad of cucumber, garlic, and onions with a little vinegar and sugar. Unless it’s with tomatoes, feta, and balsamic vinegar. Last year the farm grew and harvested a white variety of cucumber.
- Beets. Beets are not for everyone, but I love their earthy flavor. My favorite way to eat the August harvest of beets is roasted, sometimes in big chunks but also thin, so they turn into crispy chips. The farm grows standard red beets, but also golden and pretty, striped candy cane beets.
- Eggplants. This hot weather vegetable is an acquired taste. I didn’t love eggplant right away, but I was determined to use my full weekly harvest. Some of the favorite recipes I’ve found to use them up are eggplant caponata with goat cheese and baba ghanoush, a roasted eggplant dip similar to hummus.
Until I have the time and resources to create my own August vegetable harvest, I am so thankful for this local farm that keeps my kitchen stocked with fresh produce.