Look! Can you believe it? I never thought I’d be able to get this kind of amazing produce (locally grown!) in January. Though, of course, January in Tucson is like spring everywhere else, so I guess it’s not so surprising. It will probably be even more shocking to see what they can grow in the summer. I can’t imagine much produce can make it through a desert summer, but it will be interesting to see what we get then…
In mid-December, on a tip from my new boss, I signed us up for the Tucson CSA. It turns out that we share a love for local food and cooking (!), and on the last day the CSA was open before the holidays he took me with him to pick-up his share and he showed me around (and gave me his giant bunch of braising greens). I was sold at first sight – everyone was so nice and welcoming! The pick-up location is in the courtyard of the Historic Y near downtown and the University of Arizona campus, which is really a beautiful setting. There was a musician playing acoustic guitar, and a chef sampling Indian-inspired dishes she had made using that week’s produce (and giving out her recipes). Yum!
That evening I went home and signed us up online. Unfortunately for us (though probably good for them, I guess…) the CSA and volunteers took a break for the holidays, so yesterday (January 4th) was the first pick-up day for us. It was so hard waiting two/three weeks, but ultimately not a bad way to start 2012!
As you can see from the photo at the top of this entry, we got a pretty good sized share. In fact, I brought the biggest reusable shopping bag I had, and it still didn’t all fit (I was left carrying bread and tomatoes in my arms, in addition to my overflowing bag). Here’s what we got:
- Kohlrabi (4 small heads + greens)
- Collard Greens (good-sized bunch)
- Tokyo Bekana Greens (The most massive head of lettuce/greens I think I’ve ever seen – not really a lettuce, though. Click on the link for a good description I found elsewhere in the blogosphere)
- Braising Greens (a nice big bunch)
- Spaghetti Squash
- Small basket of about 6-7 winter tomatoes
- 3 Navel Oranges
- Loaf of Sourdough
I have yet to figure out what to do with all of this. I’m thinking about trying a spaghetti squash bread (like zucchini bread… but not), maybe I’ll make a rustic tart using the greens, perhaps a “Kohl”-slaw is our future, and maybe some fried green winter tomatoes. I don’t know. There are endless possibilities!
All I know is it’s a good way to start to the year. I’m excited to see what the CSA continues to bring us throughout the year. It’s so interesting living in a place where fresh produce is abundant year round. I should mention that two of the oranges are already gone (dessert last night), and I suspect the third one will be gone today. Eating all this beautiful citrus fruit is actually making me think about planting a citrus tree… because I can! And why not?
Until next time, I’ll leave you with this photo of my giant head of Tokyo Bekana (yep, it’s taking up more than half a shelf in the fridge). What should I do with it?