CSA season ends in a burst of brassicas


It’s a bittersweet day: the last pickup of the CSA season. Our share today includes cauliflower, broccoli, collards, and (amazingly) bell peppers.

…and fennel, cabbage, and tatsoi!

Of course, the season will live on in the form of the veggies we can store: butternut squash, potatoes, yams, and garlic, to name a few. We’ve also got some portions of a tasty Indian beet dish stored in our freezer, along with raspberries and chile peppers.

We also have another summer’s worth of seasonal cooking under our belts. I remember lots of good meals: quick tomato sauces over pasta, roasted turnips and potatoes, raspberry pancakes, tender tatsoi with udon noodles…and many, many big salads full of CSA greens, parsley, carrots, cukes, peppers and sungold tomatoes. Lots of these meals got dressed up with Caromont goat cheese (one of our farmer’s market staples) or our own hard-boiled eggs, and accompanied by local bread.

The CSA season connects us with our neighbors, too. A couple of weeks ago, we repeated a ritual that happens every so often throughout spring, summer, and fall: Along with four other members, we gathered around a meal based on ingredients from that week’s share. There were roasted sweet potatoes, a silky butternut soup, homemade bread, salad with CSA mizuna and spinach, and clafouti with local apples for dessert.

None of the food was fancy—and that’s been true for nearly all our dinners at home, too—but it didn’t need to be. All on their own, these ingredients are special. We know the people who grew them as friends. We have a connection to the farm as a place, since we go there regularly and have worked in its fields. Eating becomes meaningful, even sacred, when these ties are clear and acknowledged.

I’ll get off my high horse now, and go make some cauliflower for dinner. And we’ll raise a glass to the turning of the season.

What are you making with the last of this year’s local produce? (By the way, I see that New Branch Farm is offering some produce through the winter! Very cool.)