We've joined our first Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in Harlem! We belong to the Project Harmony CSA, which operates out of a lovely community garden on 122nd Street in Manhattan. Tucked between two buildings, this hidden treasure is one of the few quiet spots on our fair island where you really feel like you're not in New York. My mom found it on a walk when she visited us last fall; Michael and I hadn't noticed it behind the wall of foliage that grows between it and the sidewalk. It's really neat!
A brief explanation of a CSA if you're not familiar: members pay into the program for the season, essentially buying 'shares' in a small farm. The dividend each week is a portion of the farm's harvest. Through the Project Harmony garden - not the growers of the veggies, but the local group that organizes the CSA - folks in our neighborhood are supporting a small farm upstate. We're paid out each week in glorious greens, which are not only local (yay, planet!) but seasonal (yay, nutrients! yay, alignment!).
If you're uber-controlling of your menu planning each week, a CSA can be a little tricky: you never know what you're going to get, and it can be a project to figure out what to do with 800 zucchinis (so I'm told). BUT! If you're into experimenting in the kitchen and/or keeping things simple, this is a great way to go.
I wanted to share a little sample of our recent CSA cooking adventure (which I'm sure will continue this summer). It's nothing fancy, but it IS a yummy way to make a plain ole' salad a little more fun. The keys? Something warm, something crunchy, and a generous portion of healthy fats.
I pulled a little from each of the veggies we received in the box: red leaf lettuce, green onions, leeks, spinach, and garlic scapes, mostly because I was so eager to try everything. ;)
I sautéed up the scapes, green onions and leeks in some olive oil until crispy, about 4 minutes.
We had a little quinoa leftover in the fridge (hurray, batch cooking!) from a dinner earlier in the week, so I tossed that into the skillet with the onions, etc in the last minute of sauteeing, just to warm it through.
I also combined mint and parsley from the farmers market with almonds and a little olive oil to make the pesto (the goopy green goodness on top). I've said it before, and I'll say it again: FAT MAKES SALAD MORE NUTRITIOUS. Do have healthy fat (olive oil, sesame oil, avocado oil, coconut oil, tahini, nuts, seeds, etc) with a salad to help your body absorb those plant-tastic nutrients. Plus, a little fat coming into the body assures the body it can release a little of the extra stuff it might be hanging onto. Multipurpose salad!
*(Do, though, avoid bottled salad dressings. They're mostly sugar and often not gluten-free. Fresh ingredients are best.)
Top with a couple of spare almonds + a sprinkle of sea salt and you're good to go! Meal-sized salad. Delish!
Do you eat locally? Have you ever been a member of a CSA?