CSA Share for June 25th, Plus Farmer’s Market Challenge–Weeks #3 and #4, and a Recipe for Au Gratin Potatoes

Hello again, friends!

This week’s CSA share consisted of shiitake mushrooms (a pint), a pint of broccoli, a bag of salad greens, a quart of peas, a pound of farm fresh bacon, and a bag of peanut butter granola. Many of the items are similar to last week because I didn’t use those quickly enough and many spoiled. 😦 (However, I’ve made up for this and have consumed most of the items we brought home this week; hence, I am lacking photographs.) πŸ™‚

In addition, for Week #3 of our Farmer’s Market Challenge, I spent $2.50 on a quart of peas (out of a $15 budget), and I didn’t use those soon enough either, so they went to waste. I am wondering if there is something in our refrigerator’s produce drawers that is hastening the decline of our other veggies (supposedly, some vegetables don’t play well with others in storage), as things spoiled sooner than usual.

For Week #4, since much went to waste last week, I spent $3.00 (of $15) on new potatoes, and those I have used. We made au gratin potatoes with them, as well as adding ham to the recipe (ham from a previous week’s CSA share…was stored in our freezer).

Here is a link to the recipe…we added diced ham to ours:Β http://allrecipes.com/recipe/creamy-au-gratin-potatoes/

The taters….

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Slicing them for use….

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The ingredients…

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Mixed in the bowl….

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Finished product…verdict? Yummy.

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CSA Share for June 18th, 2014–Of Stir Fry and Salads

It’s Wednesday, and that means another visit to the farm! Normally, I don’t make the trip to the farm every week, but it must be the warmer weather, the sunshine, and the promise of more and more fruits and veggies that have encouraged me to visit more often.

This week, for 49 points, I received/chose:

-salad greens, as our family has been on a “kick” lately….

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-shiitake mushrooms and broccoli, to add to salads and stir fry (stir fry being another “kick” our family has been into these days)

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-and farm-fresh eggs, because hard-boiled eggs would go great in those salads, am I right?

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Anyone else reaping the joy that Summer brings to CSA shares? πŸ˜‰

 

CSA Pickup–Avoiding the Storm to Get Those English Muffins!

Our area is under a tornado watch until 9pm today (the radar was clear enough when we left), and that didn’t stop us from making the 45 minute drive to the farm for CSA pickup day! (It was safe outside; we would never have risked it if it wasn’t, to be fair.)

The farm’s owners posted pictures on their Facebook page of freshly made English muffins–how could we resist that??

Today’s haul, which was worth around 89 points, consisted of:

-a 2.3 lb. beef rump roast (I spared you the picture)

-homemade herbed croutons

-fruit and nut granola

-cast iron English muffins (2 bags’ worth…one for us, and one for the in-laws for watching our youngest while we made the trip)

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Our Latest CSA Pickup; Plus, Some Pros and Cons of a Co-Op/Buying Club

Last Wednesday, a friend and I went to the farm to choose more offerings from the CSA table (I’m really growing fond of a points-based system over a weekly share–I get exactly what I want, AND there’s little waste). I went in with the knowledge that I wanted to focus on meat choices rather than veggies, since our family is also supporting other local farms and markets through our $15/week direct purchase budget (which might be better options to serve our vegetable and fruit needs). (More on the $15/week challenge in a future post.) I left the farm with two whole chickens, two beef steaks, and two pounds of ground pork. Yum!

I’ve also been making purchases with our local organic co-op/buying club. I haven’t been doing the best job at documenting them due to the stress of the recent job loss in our family (my husband), and my starting a new job within the last couple months. Here’s one of the purchases…20 pounds of organic sweet potatoes for $15. That was a great buy! ($2.60 for organic cream cheese didn’t seem so great to me, though, as an example of a “meh” purchase.)

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I’m not sure, though, honestly, if I will continue in the co-op/buying club through the local volunteer group. See, we had placed an order for organic, grass-fed beef for $4.25 a pound, which I felt was a great price point. I waited, and waited, and went into town for two different pick-ups that never happened. My order was in for weeks, and finally, after a growing level of frustration with the procrastinating farmer, I opted out of the order. As of now, the order STILL hasn’t come to fruition for those who are opting to continue in wait for their meat order. That is one of the biggest drawbacks for me with the co-op/buying club. Deliveries and pick-ups are very difficult to arrange and coordinate between work schedules, truck drivers, etc. And in this case, this particular order might not happen–which was frustrating to me because we needed the ground beef. We ended up going with another local source for the beef instead because we simply needed it. What choice do you have, you know?

So, our CSA co-op is going wonderfully, but the one that works through wholesale dealers and volunteers…well…my mind isn’t made up yet. We shall see.

CSA 2014 Pickup #3: What 100 Points Bought Me

FINALLY, I was able to head back out to the farm to pick out more CSA goodies–and I had a friend in tow! Β Even though there was a threat of rain in the forecast (we missed a visit due to a torrential rain and severe thunderstorm a couple weeks back–we were even on the road already, too!), we made it there and stayed dry! And I think it was worth the trip! πŸ™‚

Today’s haul, for roughly 100 points, bought me:

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My total haul was a bag of mesclun salad mix, baby spinach, a pint of shiitake mushrooms, rosemary-wheat rolls, broccoli raab, and homemade dandelion salve (for aching muscles).

If you participate in a CSA, has it started yet?

CSA 2014: Pickup #2 and Piggies

With everything going on in our lives, it’s been easy to neglect going to the farm, even though we missed having the goodies. So, today, we went to pickup some CSA treats, after having to plan the trip a few days in advance, just so we could ensure we would actually do it.

Today’s haul included:

-four honey and corn muffins (not pictured, because they didn’t survive the 45 minute drive home)

-one loaf of focaccia bread

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-two dozen eggs

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-one pound of bacon

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-and two packages of fresh ham slices

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The full haul, minus the already-consumed muffins….

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I’m guessing this used around 120 points out of our share of 800. Including the bundle from our last pickup, we’ve used roughly a quarter the points available (we plan on working for more if we run out).

I’m including some pictures of the residents at the farm….

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CSA 2014: Blackberry Glazed Pork Chops

I received fresh pork chops from our first bundle of CSA goodies, and I was debating what I wanted to do with them. Then I realized that I had this….

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and this….

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…in my pantry. Then, I knew I had to make one of my favorite recipes, Blackberry Glazed Pork Chops.

I came across the recipe years ago, and I’ve tweaked it here and there to where I now make it from memory, really. However, I’m putting it to paper to share with you. πŸ˜‰

The ingredients:

-4 pork chops, roughly 4-6 ounces per chop

-2 tablespoons olive oil

-Montreal Steak seasoning (to taste)

-1 cup blackberry preserves (seeded or seedless, your choice)

-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

-2 tablespoons soy sauce

-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a skillet, heat the olive oil until the pan is hot. Sprinkle the steak seasoning over each side of the chops, and place the chops into the oil. Fry the chops on medium heat for 5-7 minutes per side, until the chops reach an internal temperature of 145 degrees or more. Set aside.

Meanwhile, combine the preserves, the lemon juice, the soy sauce, and the cinnamon into a small saucepan. Heat over low to medium heat until the preserves melt a bit. Drizzle the berry sauce over the completely cooked chops and serve.

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