Welcome to austinagrodolce … My family and I garden with more intention and enthusiasm than allocated budget or overall design plan. It shows. Wildlife populations don't seem to notice our lack of cohesive design, they just like the native plants here. It seems by growing local we've thrown out a welcome mat. Occasionally, we're surprised at who (and what) shows up.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Roll Call:Tecolote Farm CSA Basket Week 15

Week to week so far I've had great fun unloading my CSA baskets for you here and showing photographs of the fruits and vegetables. I've set up shots of the produce in ways that appealed to me in terms of color families, similar shapes, sizes, or occasionally, shots of the entirety of the basket arranged as a still life.

This week as we head towards the end of the CSA season, I wanted to try a different approach. I wanted to show you each item on it's own, so you would get more a feel for the full range of what a typical CSA basket offers. Here we go...

This week in our CSA baskets we received:

Chinese "yard long" beans. These are relatives of black eyed peas and do best stir fried or saute├ęd.

Okra. A full pound today. So far we've enjoyed okra fried and grilled. This bunch looks right for the Black Skillet Okra recipe I downloaded from the Times last year and never got around to trying.

Parsley. We got a chimichurri sauce recipe with our newsletter, but I am probably going to use most of the parsley in an Italian chicken salad recipe (with leftover fajita meat) and in a version of rellenos I have planned to use up serrano peppers from a previous basket.

Galia melon. These are deliciously sweet. We've had them solo and in fruit salad so far. Maybe this week it is time for prosciutto wrapped melon?

Spanish Canary melon. Reportedly forgiving, very good a day or two both before and after optimal ripeness. New to us, can't wait to give them a try.

Butternut squash. I have a fabulous butternut squash and Italian sausage soup recipe that I typically associate with winter time, but delicious is delicious, no matter the time of year.

Italian cucumber melons. I tried the first batch of these in my favorite cucumber/onion salad recipe with wonderful results. We have enjoyed that salad so thoroughly so far I may simply replay these for more of the same. Otherwise, I still have major cucumber sandwich cravings to address. Lucky for me, with this quantity, I'll have plenty for both recipes. And, there's always gazpacho if our tomatoes get ripe soon enough.

Eggplant. I made caponata yesterday to use up at least half my eggplant stash. Not sure if I will try making eggplant butter with these or share them with a friend. I am the only eggplant fan in this house and there is only so much eggplant I can eat at one time. Which, sure, is a LOT, but still....

Corno di Toro frying peppers. Not sure about how I will incorporate the peppers - maybe fried and diced up into the butternut squash soup? I'll keep you posted.

And, last but not least....
Gypsy peppers. Sweet, small, red, I am thinking these will go into gazpacho this weekend. I may have to buy some tomatoes but it will be worth it to have a pitcher of delicious on hand for days to come.

So there you have it. The abundance that is a CSA basket. I don't have the knowledge, the space or the patience to try and raise this many different fruits and vegetables to put on our table week to week. No matter how groovy a gardener I get to be, I am doubtful I'd be trying out a lot of plants that I didn't already know I liked, so this basket a week process has been a fabulous way to acquaint our palates with what will thrive in a typical Texas spring/summer. Plus, I have been pricing organic produce at my grocery store and at the Farmer's market some, and don't see any way I could duplicate this quantity and variety for the mere $30 a week we pay for our baskets.

No way around it. CSA basket subscriptions are quite the deal. If you'd like to get your name onto the waiting list for Tecolote Farm, be sure to email and let them know of your interest. It might feel like a really long wait until next Spring, but if this year's crops are any indicator, it will sure be worth the wait. And just in case you are wondering, I do not get a discount or receive any compensation from the folks at the Farm for sharing my excitement with you about their great baskets. I truly believe CSA baskets are THAT good an idea that I want to do my part to encourage more people to try it for themselves.

Tecolote Farms
Decker Lake Rd.
Manor, TX 78653
"Certified organic farm near Webberville, 15 miles east of the capital. They grow over 150 varieties of vegetables, including heirlooms and heritage breeds. Produce is available from March through August to CSA subscribers, and often until October at the two large Austin Saturday farmers' markets. Does not sell at the markets or to CSA customers from Nov. thru Feb. Members pick up their shares at their doorsteps or neighborhood dropoff points. They are currently drawing new customers from their waiting list -- there is about a one-year wait. But if you would like them to add your name to their waiting list, please email (or call) with your name, address, and phone numbers. They deliver to the Central Austin area (roughly: north of 71, east of 360, south of 183, and most points east)."

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