How often do you discover a new vegetable? I’m generally not too adventurous but this year I’ve made a few delicious discoveries thanks to Lost Pond Farm CSA. CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture” and the idea behind it is that a group of consumers give money (and sometimes labor) to a farmer at the beginning of the growing season in exchange for a cut of the farm’s production. In our case, we signed up to get a weekly delivery of about a quarter bushel of produce, enough for a family of two for a week.
We never know what we’re going to get but it’s always in season and it’s always fresh. I’ve been working with Pete Johnson for awhile through the Local Growers’ Guild and I love his passion for organic growing and special varieties. So far I think my favorite item has been the blue potatoes. They’re pretty recognizable as potatoes but they’re a fantastic shade of blue and also exceptionally tasty. I’ve also enjoyed being introduced to new and different produce options. One week we received tiny Mexican cucumbers that are just a little bigger than jellybeans and taste like they’ve been pickled. Another week it was a plant somewhere between broccoli and kale that provides the texture of broccoli heads while withstanding hot Indiana summers. (Around here, you can get broccoli and brussel sprouts in the fall or in the spring if you start ’em early but they wilt during the summer.)
More recently, we received a bag full of tomatillos (pictured above). They’re similar to tomatoes but fairly small, fairly tart, and you’re supposed to eat them before they get too ripe. You also have to peel the husks off first, which is kinda fun although they get a little sticky. I have only found a couple of tomatillo recipes, many of them variations on salsa verde, but decided to stick with fried green tomatillos, especially since we’re here in the South. The recipe is pretty simple – mix cornmeal, eggs, herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper as a batter. Dip the tomatillo slices in and fry them in oil. The batch I made this evening wasn’t quite as good as I’ve had in the past (I didn’t include quite enough spices) but they were still pretty good.
I must confess, though, my tastes are alread turning to autumn. This afternoon I made applesauce bread with the last bit of applesauce from 2007. It’s about time to cook up some of this year’s orchard crop. Applesauce, apple butter, dried apples, frozen apples, apple cider, apple soda…. Mmmmm. I’m excited to see what other exciting fall goodies will be in our CSA basket this fall. Only time will tell.