Posts Tagged CSA
Domaphile has been vacationing on the Midwestern Riviera – otherwise known as Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes. I hail from outside the Twin Cities and it’s always nice to visit in the summertime. This year, our trip corresponded with the grand opening of a new natural food store near my parents house. This wouldn’t normally be of any great note, but Mazopiya – which means “a place to store things” in the Dakota language – is much more than your local Whole Foods.
As part of the Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, a Native American reservation outside the Twin Cities, Mazopiya provides more than just organic produce to the community. The project was initiated by Lori Watso, a tribal member and a nurse with a background in public health. After moving back to Minnesota from San Francisco, she wanted to find a way to address the chronic health issues that are facing her community. Diabetes and obesity rates are high and, on many reservations, access to healthy food is limited. They literally started from the ground up, by planting an organic community garden on 1 1/2 acres of reservation land in April of 2010 which has already grown to a 5 acre farm that provides 50 CSA shares to members (actually, they call it a TSA – Tribal Supported Agriculture) and sells produce at a small farmer’s market each week.
Construction on a 6,500 square foot, LEED-certified store followed that had a soft opening in early 2011 and an official grand opening this month. Stocking everything you would normally find at your local food-coop, the store also has an array of local, native products: wild rice, Lakota popcorn, and beauty products made from sage, cedar and buffalo tallow. The space is beautiful, like a well-curated and friendlier Whole Foods. It has a deli and coffee bar and really operates as a community space. Tribal members and people who work on the reservation receive discounts and there are also a variety of free classes offered on cooking and nutrition.
While the impetus for the project was to address Native American nutrition and health, anyone is welcome to shop at Mazopiya and take their classes, so the larger community benefits, too. This has all happened in a short time in part because the SMSC has ample financial resources from their successful casino operation. While many Native American reservations lack the capital of those that have profited from gaming, the hope is that the success of their operation will be able to be scaled and replicated elsewhere. I found the whole enterprise extremely inspiring and am curious how it could be used as a model for other communities. Does anyone know of similar projects going on in other places? Would love to find out more!
I’m sorry to be missing the upcoming Just Food CSA Conference this weekend, but a certain 5-year old’s birthday party is taking precedence. The keynote speaker is Jean-Paul Courtens of Roxbury Farm, our local CSA! Jean-Paul started Roxbury Farm in 1990 after studying bio-dynamic farming in the Netherlands and was the first community supported agriculture program to operate in New York City. He has done a great deal to promote equitable land use for farmers. Roxbury Farm, in Kinderhook, NY, is on a portion of what was originally the Martin Van Buren estate and he has worked with Equity Trust and the Open Space Institute to ensure that his farmland will remain as such, protecting it from developers.
If you are interested in finding out more about Community Supported Agriculture, Local Harvest has a map that will help you find one in your area. This is the season to enroll as the farmers are starting to plant and the produce deliveries begin in June. While I have had people tell me they are afraid to commit to an unknown abundance of produce each week (what if it’s all turnips, or rutabagas?), we have been really happy with the variety over the years. I will say that it can take some creativity to get through it all sometimes, but the overall experience has been really positive. This year, our girls are old enough to visit the farm, participate in the work and see where their food is coming from. For city kids, this is an experience of immeasurable value.
I will be taking up the CSA challenge again in June and hope to attend next year. There is still time to register, so if you go please drop me a line.
Not that you have a squash problem.
Also known as the Sweet-Potato or Bohemian squash, the Delicata squash is considered a novelty squash. This makes sense as it does blend in well with the other novelty gourds in my seasonal gourd basket (see McSweeney’s for more on this). However, I have finally found a recipe that will help you take this vegetable – which is technically a fruit – seriously. After little success in finding squash recipes that were not soup, I actually found this one while searching for new ways to use quinoa. As it turns out, squash and quinoa go together like chocolate and peanut butter. The source is Allrecipes.com and it is really simple to make: you basically roast the squash with butter in the oven and then make a basic quinoa pilaf stuffing with shallots, garlic and pine nuts. It’s the kind of easy pilaf that could easily be embellished with herbs or other vegetables (get creative!) and you could easily substitute whatever squash you’re getting in your CSA share. The extra pilaf makes for a good lunch the next day, too.
We are in the last few weeks of our CSA deliveries and, in fact, we did not get any squash at all today (sigh). We did get some good stuff though:
- Broccoli – we have no problem going through this every week
- Lacinato Kale – my favorite of the braising greens (recipe very soon)
- A manageable amount of salad greens
- 2 onions
- 1 quart of tomatoes
- A gorgeous head of red cabbage calling out for it’s friend, the spätzle.
- A bag of beets
- A bag of apples
And… a bag of sweet potatoes. These are our current challenge. What do you do with sweet potatoes?
- 1 large delicata squash, halved lengthwise and seeded
- 3 tablespoons butter, divided
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 2 shallots, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1/3 cup pine nuts
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
- Arrange the squash halves cut side up in a baking dish. Fill dish with about 1/4 inch water. Place 1 tablespoon butter on each half, and season halves with salt and pepper. Cover dish, and bake squash 30 minutes in the preheated oven, or until very tender.
- Place quinoa in a pot with 2 cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer 15 minutes.
- Melt the remaining 1 tablespoon butter in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in shallots and garlic, and cook until tender. Stir in pine nuts, and cook until golden. Gently mix into the pot with the cooked quinoa.
- Cut the squash halves in half, and fill each quarter with the quinoa mixture. Serve each stuffed squash quarter on a bed of the remaining quinoa mixture.
Suddenly, it was Thursday again and with it came another large basket of produce! So what did we eat last week? Well, here it is:
- Friday we had steak with roasted potatoes, broccoli (the girls) and brussel sprouts (us)
- Saturday we ate as many pears as we could and cooked up a big batch of Bolognese with the tomatoes and used the carrots and onions in chicken stock.
- Sunday was pizza and salad for lunch, and pasta fagioli for dinner with a delicious side of braising greens.
- Monday I made Soto Ayam (more on that later) which used some cilantro and the chicken stock.
- Tuesday dinner never happened. sigh.
- Wednesday: orrecchiette with sausage and broccoli rabe.
- Thursday – random leftovers.
So, by Thursday we still had some braising greens and broccoli rabe which we used on Friday night and a few tomatoes. The incoming list was:
- Delicata squash – we have been collecting these over the past few weeks and are looking for something to make with them – help!
- Sweet potatoes
- 2 heads of garlic
- 2 red onions
- a quart of tomatoes
- 4 roma tomatoes
- braising greens
- Salad greens
- more cilantro
With our abundance of tomatoes, we decided to take my friend Karyn’s advice and stuff them. But with what? After looking around online, I had mostly found unappetizing recipes for stuffing tomatoes (tuna and goat cheese anyone?), I was inspired by this recipe which called for baking eggs inside of a tomato (genius!) from the blog, We are Not Martha, which was a perfect Sunday breakfast.