Winter Harvest

November 5, 2008  •  Local Sources

I just picked up my produce from my CSA farm (Monroe Organic Farms) today, and I can’t help but be amused by the term “winter harvest share”. Granted, it’s not really winter yet, but indeed today was the first harvest after all of the farmers’ markets and the regular season CSA distributions have ended. And amazingly, I picked up more stuff today than fathomable.The great thing about the winter harvest (which runs from now through February) is you get many things that can be stored for awhile. The carrots pictured above will last for weeks in the refrigerator so that even when the carrots are no longer available (January time frame), I’ll still have farm fresh organic carrots grown in Colorado. Other produce like the butternut squash pictured above doesn’t even need to be refrigerated to store, and I can tell by the quantity of sweet potatoes and Yukon Gold potatoes that I’ll be set for months (including Thanksgiving dinner for fifteen). You don’t usually expect to get local fresh tomatoes or baby leaf lettuce at this time of year, but thanks to cold frames (greenhouses), many CSA farms are able to offer these vegetables right up until it’s really cold and snowy. In fact, the lettuce is better and more available now than it was 2 months ago.

So, what to do with all of this? Receiving so much bounty all at once can be intimidating, so I try to work my way through the food in the order it will spoil. Clearly I can start eating more salad for lunch with all that lettuce, and the leeks could make a great soup for our dinner guests this weekend. Perhaps I’ll even start snacking on carrots instead of those potato chips I’m so addicted to.
If you want to join a CSA for next year, now’s the time to think about it and research the one you like. They fill up early, so contact the CSA directly and ask when sign up for new members will open up. And once you’re in, feel free to call me at any time if you need inspiration or help for what to do with any of the bounty you receive. Here’s to more vegetables in all of our diets!

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