10 Lessons From My First CSA Box

Penne noodles with ramps, bacon, olive oil, and red pepper flakes

I've been a CSA member for a whole entire week now. Here's what I've learned:

  1. Pussy willows can grow very tall (mine are nearly 6 feet!). They do not taste good. They are decorative.
  2. Ramps are the greatest fresh food I'd never tasted. This pasta and ramps recipe is phenomenal, but can be improved with the addition of bacon, and the subtraction of a few red pepper flakes.
  3. Black radishes are extremely bitter when eaten raw in thick slices. Next time, I will grate them and eat them with quinoa.
  4. Overwintered spinach is as tasty and delicious as the "normal" kind. And I very much  appreciate when it comes washed, packaged, and ready to eat.
  5. Sorrel is kind of exciting to bite into, especially raw.
  6. Chives are hard to displace as the kids' favorite fresh, local food.
  7. Sunchokes and parsnips taste great on the grill with nothing more than olive oil, sea salt, and pepper. In fact, there's nothing I got from Harmony Valley Farm last week that didn't taste good with olive oil, salt, and pepper.
  8. Burdock is a root that gets mushy when you leave it on the counter for one, two, even three days. It's still okay to eat. I sauteed it with um, olive oil, sea salt, and black pepper. I loved it. My wife said it tasted like salty twigs.
  9. It's super fun to compare notes with the neighbors when the box arrives - especially if one of the neighbors has a cousin who's also a chef in town.
  10. Having a "#csasmackdown" on Twitter with my new e-friends @irishgirl and @mattwilson is kind of childish, but good geeky fun.

Please share what you've learned too! Week 2 promises even more simple, good, and tasty excitement, I'm sure.