So, not to sound like a broken record, but things are tight this summer. We don’t have a lot of discretionary income in the SK household. Luckily, in the midst of winter, we made the decision to find $300 to put away for summer vegetables. Normally, this would be a luxury expenditure. Don’t get me wrong but local agriculture can be (justifiably) more expensive – and though I manage to carve out some spending money each week at our fabulous local market, its not alot. (Sidenote/shameless plug: Vote for CRFM until midnight at http://www.greatbarngiveaway.com!) So I had to justify this one.
Membership is a CSA is sort of a symbiotic relationship. The member supports the farm, by providing literal seed money – you help the farmer with expenses before the season starts. This is why many CSAs require payment/commitment in winter. Luckily, some farmers are awesome enough to just let you put down a deposit to reserve your spot. In exchange for your pre-payment, you get a share of the produce every week for a certain amount of weeks. In tight financial times, I get a boatload of fresh local veggies every week throughout the summer. I get the best of whats in season because, indirectly, I helped (provide some of the funds) to grow it.
Our CSA hails from the lovely Windham Gardens. Our half share is the equivalent of one reusable bag worth of produce per week for 20 weeks. I can’t rave about Windham’s CSA enough. Unlike other CSAs, Windham Gardens lets you pick out what you want. Some people like the challenge of a set CSA box. If kolhrabi is in season, you get to figure out what to do with it. If its early in the season, you may find yourself overloaded with greens and make lettuce soup. These days, the variety is plentiful: tomatoes, peppers, tomatillos, onions, garlic, greens, corn, squash…
What I really, really (REALLY) like about Windham’s share is two-fold. First, I have the option to pick up at my farmer’s market, five minutes down the street. Second, I get to pick what I want. I go to Windham’s table, check in, and fill my bag with my choices. This week, I picked up three pints of cherry tomatoes (I snack on them like candy at work). I did not, however pick up the giant bag of various hot peppers. There is no impetus to use what you’re given – you pick it out. Thats not to say its challenging to use all that produce in one week.
Enter: CSA salsa. Who says salsa has to be red and spicy? This particular recipe used a little bit of everything in my CSA that week and provided something to swap at our pre-market homegrown swap. Plus, I got to empty the last jar of last year’s tomatoes.
[Early Summer] CSA Salsa
Adapted from Roasted Corn and Zucchini Salsa from Just the Right Size
Three medium zucchini, cubed
Three medium summer squash, cubed
One large/two medium red onions, diced in similar size to the squash
Four ears of sweet corn
One quart whole tomatoes
One jalapeño, seeded and diced
Three cloves garlic, minced
Fresh Ground Pepper
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon pimentón
Juice of one lime
A splash of Red Wine Vinegar
Take the kernels off the corn, toss with olive oil and roast about half an hour at 350°. Roast (in a cast iron pan if you have one) until they get a slight bit of color – its very easy to dry them out. In the meantime, cube your squashes and toss with 1 tablespoon of salt and let drain in a colander. Put everything together on the stove – you can squeeze the tomatoes into small pieces in the pot (also strangely satisfying). Of course use fresh tomatoes if you have them – this salsa was made just before the onslaught of local tomato season. Cook for a little bit, until things come together but everything is still fairly solid. Let cool and eat immediately or freeze for future use.
I like to use only a splash of vinegar to give it a little acid, I like my salsas fresh. This means this NOT a canning safe recipe. Not that you’ll need it to last that long…