The Oxbow Project
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs have always intrigued me, although I’ve yet to sign up for one. There are a couple of reasons for that: being single and eating out several times a week I’m concerned I’d waste a lot of the produce; I really enjoy browsing through my weekly farmers’ market, talking with the producers and “spreading the wealth” by purchasing from several booths, not just one. But I still think about CSA every year. So I jumped at the chance to experience what it was like to participate when a friend of a friend who’s working with Oxbow Farms asked if I’d be willing to accept one of their small boxes and then blog about what I did with it. (Please see my Review Policy page.)
On Thursday, August 16th I stopped by marigold and mint in Melrose Market to pick up my box. Oxbow sends out a newsletter each week to their subscribers so I knew what would be in the box but I was still anxious to actually see it. Oxbow recommends this small box for 2-3 people or as a subsidy for a larger family growing some of their own produce. I think that’s a good estimate. At $21/week it’s a great way to keep fresh vegetables in the house and to be introduced to some new items, too.
As soon as I arrived home I unpacked the treasure chest. Here’s what was in my box:
- 1 bunch Oxbow Carrots
- 1 lb Provider Green Beans
- 2 Diva Slicer Cucumbers
- 1 head cured Garlic
- 1 bunch Rainbow Chard
- 1 Red Summer Crisp Lettuce
- 1 bunch fresh Red Tropea Onions
- 1 green zucchini
- 1 bunch Dill
When I was first contacted about participating I’d decided that I’d try to use as much as possible in a meal just to see what I could do with it. So on the following Sunday a friend came over and I served the following meal.
- Smoked Salmon Crostini
- Fresh Zucchini Salad with Lemon Dressing
- Swiss Chard and Mushroom Tart
- Roasted Potato and Green Bean Salad
- Fresh Peach Ice Cream with Blueberries and Grilled Peaches – no recipe for this one since nothing came from the box but every farm dinner needs to end with a great farm dessert!
I’ve provided recipes of a sort – they are mostly lists of ingredients that can be tailored to your own tastes. You’ll find them linked in the menu above but each recipe has its own post to make it easier to read and to keep this post from being miles long.
If you read all the recipes you’ll see that not all ingredients were used or only a small part was used. The “leftover” carrots, cukes, lettuce, etc provided great snacks and ingredients for green salads throughout the week. And I added the green beans to those I’d picked from my own garden to make a nice big batch of Pickled Green Beans.
Also, keep in mind that trimmings from your vegetables or things like carrot tops can be used to make vegetable broth. When I’m cooking with a lot of vegetables I keep a pot close at hand and toss the all the bits and pieces that are leftover into it. I’ll then look through the refrigerator for any vegetable that might be getting a little old and add it to the pot. Cover the vegetables with water, bring the pot to a simmer and let the mix simmer for an hour or two. Strain the broth through a sieve to remove all the vegetable pieces. Portion the broth into 1 to 4 cup containers (leave a little head space to allow for expansion when frozen). Cool to room temperature and then place in the refrigerator to cool. Once cool, place in the freezer until you need it.
This was a really fun project and I was happy to have the chance to experience CSA. If you’ve considered joining a program I’d recommend it!