Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Cooking Your Local Produce Brings Inspirations For Your CSA Or Your Farmers Market Shopping

I have to admit that I'm super-surprised that CSAs didn't take over my kitchen.  I have joined them for several years now, and I always figured that the shares would become a theme through HowChow with me writing about the dishes that I made.

It never happened.  I love Gorman Farm in Laurel.  I have posted several times about CSA options around Howard County.  But the new discoveries were few, and I felt bad when the cabbages rotted in the back of my fridge.

All that said, I recommend the adventure to anyone.  The vegetables have been terrific, and I know a bunch of people who get thrills along with good food -- including AnnieRie and Kat who blog about their CSA finds.

With more assistance is my friend Lisa from the Lisa B., Mrs. S. blog with a carry-along companion for your forays into CSAs and farmers markets:
The CSA and farmers market season begins soon. (May 7th here in Howard County.)  If you're new or even just relatively new to CSAs, at one point or another you will likely look at an item in your share and wonder, "How do I even cook that?" The answer is here:

My friend Greta Hardin has written Cooking Your Local Produce, and reading it had me feel like she was in the kitchen teaching me. 
The recipes are easy to follow -- even for the ingredients you may have never cooked before (garlic scapes, anyone?) -- while also offering variations to make the months of kale and collard greens more interesting.  One of my favorite recipes is the Warm Fennel and Purple Cabbage Slaw.  Traditional coleslaw is great, but try this if you're looking for something less sweet-and-sour, more savory and fresh.
This cookbook really shines in its organization.  Instead of sorting recipes by season or dish, chapters are organized by ingredient type.  Leaves and shoots, flowers and fruits, seeds and roots each get their own sections, and the resources in the back can't be beat.  Greta includes an ingredient guide with photos, descriptions, and quick cooking ideas to make those farmers market trips easier.  Follow Cooking Your Local Produce on Facebook to get more cooking tips and inspiration, as well as news about a future app.
If you're in this market, I also recommend Jacob Bishop's Vegetables Everyday that I reviewed several years ago.  He also organizes the recipes by the main ingredient.  He has really smart, interesting and simple preparations that you can follow or doctor with your own inspirations.  And check out the farmers market news and schedule on the county's Web site about the farmers markets.


Lisa B, Mrs. S. said...

Thanks for posting my recommendation! I've got a half-share from Gorman Farm this year, and I hope to become somewhat regular at the Oakland Mills market on Saturdays.

Greta said...

Hooray! I'm glad this is such a help. The whole reason I wrote this is to get you out there, and willing to try new things.

Anonymous said...

Friends and Farms is a great alternative to a CSA if you want to avoid having excess veggies that you might end up wasting. I've been doing it for 3 years now and it's been amazing. I've saved money and lost weight.