Tag Archives: CSA

Another Way to Cook Turnips

Yukon potatoes and purple turnip

When I got inundated with turnips from my winter produce CSA last week (after trading my beets for more turnips), I started thinking of how to get creative with recipes. The first attempt was Bill’s spontaneous root vegetable melange. The next attempt was something you may have had with Thanksgiving dinner: mashed potatoes and turnip puree.

I had one very large purple turnip and only two Yukon potatoes. Ideally, I would have added a couple more potatoes, but it still turned out pretty tasty. All I did was peel and dice both vegetables, making them uniform size. Then I put them in a big pot of water and cooked the vegetables until tender (about 15-20 minutes). This also turned into a science lesson: I learned that turnips are less dense than potatoes and float to the top!

Boiling diced turnips and potatoes

When they were done I simply mashed them and added a little buttermilk leftover from making butter, along with salt and pepper.

Mashed potatoes and turnips with buttermilk

It was a delicious side dish to accompany roast chicken with gravy and oven-roasted carrots.

Roast chicken with carrots, mashed potatoes and turnip puree, and gravy

One Way to Cook Turnips

Diced turnips with sliced carrots and chopped leeks

Remember all the turnips Bill and I got in our CSA share this week? Here’s the first dish we used them in. Bill cooked last night and created a melange of sliced carrots and diced turnips, plus last fall’s chopped leeks from our freezer—all sautéed in olive oil with salt and pepper. Simple and delicious. I like how the leeks balance with the flavor of the turnips.

My Winter CSA: Lakeshore Family Farm

Half share of produce from Lakeshore Family Farm

For a few years now, Bill and I have been getting greens from a local Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), Mud Lake Farm. I love having fresh greens in the dead of winter, grown in the farm’s greenhouse. But this is the first time we’ve tried a more traditional CSA program–the kind where you sign up and pay for a share or half-share of produce and get a “grab bag” of vegetables for the  week.

One reason we haven’t tried it before is because just two of us live in our household. Even a half share seemed like a lot. Another reason is because I stock up on produce at the Holland Farmers Market straight through December, squirreling away squash and onions and carrots and apples in the fridge or coolers in the garage. We also have a variety of frozen veggies and berries in our freezer from last summer. The third reason is because, frankly, I wanted more control over what veggies I got. (I really hate beets.)

But I kept seeing Lakeshore Family Farm’s posts on Facebook about what was in the CSA share for the week and, even with beets as a potential vegetable, we decided to try it out. I think the clincher was the “trade table.” I’ll explain.

If you haven’t participated in a CSA program before, here’s how it works with Lakeshore Family Farm: You sign up and pay in advance for an eight-week program. For their Winter CSA Program (half-share of produce) it’s $120. That comes out to $15 per week for fresh, local veggies. And all I have to do is drive across town to pick them up at a community location on my pick-up day (Wednesday).

Today was the first day, and what did I find in my share? Beets. Why aren’t there any in the photo? Because there was a bag of turnips on the trade table and you’re allowed to swap one item. I gladly left my bag of beets and took someone else’s turnips. Check out the photo above to see everything we got: apples, onions, celery root, acorn squash, turnips, sweet potatoes, more turnips, and carrots. (Can you buy all that for $15 or less at the grocery store?)


Yes, we have a lot of turnips. So watch my blog to see what we do with them. But, really, isn’t this the way we’re supposed to be eating anyway, in season? It’s like strawberries: When they’re ripe in Michigan I eat them almost everyday. Their season lasts about a month, and then I don’t eat them anymore except for what’s stored in our freezer. But it’s better than consuming produce from thousands of miles away. And what I like about Lakeshore Family Farm is they post produce recipes on their website so you can get inspiration for what to do with all those turnips (or beets!).

Local CSA Farmers and Members Share Thoughts at Hope College Symposium

By Judith Boogaart

[Note: This is the first post by guest blogger, Judith Boogaart, who helped cover the Hope College Critical Issues Symposium event while I was at the Taste of Greenmarket in New York City last week.]

One of the Wednesday morning focus sessions at the “Good Food for the Common Good” symposium highlighted Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) in West Michigan. A panel discussion, “The CSA Farm Experience,” featured Lee Arboreal from Eaters Guild CSA in Bangor, Anja Mast from Trillium Haven Farm in Jenison, and Kristen and Noah Livingston, CSA members from Holland.

Arboreal says his concept of the word “community” in Community Supported Agriculture has changed over time.

At first he saw it as a contract between “me, the farmer–you, the eater,” but now he sees it as a broadening network of farmer, eater, biology and farm experts, seed and hardware suppliers, soil, climate, the animals on the farm, down to the very microorganisms in the soil. All are part of the community that produces healthy food at Eaters Guild and other CSA farms.

As oil prices rise, Arboreal believes CSA farms will begin to outcompete the large monoculture farms that depend on petroleum products for transportation and agricultural techniques. CSA will become a solution to food problems in the future.

In 2001, after looking at what they were doing and why they were doing it, Anja Mast and her husband decided to create what they felt was missing in their lives by starting Trillium Haven Farm.

Her experience was similar to Arboreal’s. In the beginning it was “me and my,” Mast says, but she has come to see that CSA is really about connecting the members to their food, to the land, and to each other. CSA farming expands into the schools, the neighborhood and the region to promote a worthwhile experience for the family.

Mast shares with CSA members her “spiritual practices of cooking, eating and gardening” and views food choices as “ethical and spiritual decisions.” She would like to see the CSA model grow beyond the current 20% of people in West Michigan who are willing to invest the time, money and dedication needed to provide healthy and nutritious food for themselves and their families.

Many people cite a lack of time as an impediment to buying, cooking and eating healthy food. “What is so important,” asks Mast, “that you would sacrifice your health, family, local economy and the environment for ‘convenience’?” Good question.

Noah and Kristen Livingston encouraged each person to take the time to consider the goals, dreams and values that are important to them, and make food decisions in line with those values.

Making wise food choices is not always easy, they say. Kristen pointed out that college students, for example, may find it difficult to find the resources and means to prepare healthy, nutritious food. “Don’t do it by yourself,” Noah advises. It’s important to find others with similar desires and work together. The Livingstons use CSA memberships, the farmers market, u-picks and growing their own food in their yard as ways to obtain healthier food.

The panelists and participants at the symposium represent a growing number of people who are living deliberately, evaluating their lifestyles and choosing the things that make for health and wholeness. Visit these CSA websites. Better yet, visit the farms! Become part of a community that learns and works together to make better food choices and improve the quality of life.

Request for Feedback: Do You Make Your Own Salad Dressing?

Today’s post is not my typical observation, rant, adaptation of a recipe, or sharing of food information. It’s a survey!

I’ll be honest: I’m helping out a group of grad students who are working on a product related to salad dressings and they’re interested in the following questions:

  1. Do you make your own salad dressings?
  2. Why or why not?

I’ll start: Yes, I do make my own salad dressings, for two reasons: 1) So I know what’s in the dressing (e.g., no preservatives or unnecessary ingredients); and 2) Because Bill is allergic to many dressings, which often contain dairy and/or corn products, such as high fructose corn syrup.

For the occasion, I made a salad to accompany our Lebanese Lamb and Potatoes dinner tonight. The salad ingredients include: fresh greens from our CSA (Mud Lake Farm), red onion (thinly sliced and soaked in water to take the bite out), dried cranberries, crumbled Creswick Farms bacon, and fresh chevre from Dancing Goat Creamery.

To make the dressing, you could do it two ways: Either put all the ingredients in a container to blend them first, or put them directly on the salad in this order: fresh lemon juice, olive oil, salt, balsamic vinegar, fresh ground black pepper.

So, what are your answers to the above two questions? Do you make your own salad dressing? Why or why not?

From CEO to CSA

In Durham, North Carolina, Eno Restaurant and Market is getting ready to open this summer. Another farm-to-table eatery, which will source its food from the 55-acre Coon Rock Farm (as well as other local farms such as Chapel Hill Creamery, Harris Acres, Cane Creek Farm, and Celebrity Dairy) focuses on a menu that’s regionally influenced and farm-ingredient driven.

Partners  Jamie DeMent and Richard Holcomb have traded the world of C.E.O.’s for the world of C.S.A.’s. From Capitol Hill (for DeMent) and software (for Holcomb) to a sustainable farm that generates heritage-breed meat and heirloom vegetables for 300 C.S.A. members, four farmers’ markets in the Raleigh-Durham area, and Zely & Ritz (a restaurant that Holcomb owns with its chef, Sarig Agasi), they are seeing more impact in their day-to-day work than, say, completing a big deal in Tokyo.

As reported by The New York Times, “the couple’s understanding of marketing and business helped them see new opportunities for 21st-century agriculture.”

“I wanted you to sit down and feel very, very connected to the region and the food,” DeMent says of the restaurant. “I want it to be obvious. That’s why the tabletops will be made from wood from the farm and the waitstaff’s going to work on the farm…It’s all a way to make people more connected to their food. I think that’s one of the biggest problems in civilization right now — no one is connected to their food anymore. If it comes from a window or in a bag, it’s not food.”

The couple expects that Coon Rock Farm will be able to provide 60 percent of what Eno needs the first year, with the optimum goal being 100 percent.

That means some days the staff will have to learn to do without. If there’s no celery, how do you make stock?

Eno will also provide an adjacent market for selling local meats, produce, and cheese to customers–bringing the market right to the restaurant. And CSA members will be able to pick up their produce at the market as well. It’s a transformation of the farmers’ market: Eno will be the model for a farm stand with a wine list.

Anyone going to Durham this summer? Please share your experience if you visit Eno!

Community Supported Agriculture Expands in Central States

In today’s Grand Rapids Press, an article highlighted a survey conducted by the University of Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service that focused on business and marketing practices among 205 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) producers in nine states (IL, IN, OH, MI, PA, WV, KY, MO, TN).

Findings reveal that CSAs have emerged “as a direct farm marketing channel
during the past 25 years. During the past decade, increased consumer interest in local and organic fruit and vegetables has contributed to the CSA’s growing popularity and an increase in the number of CSA operations.”

Bill and I have contributed to those statistics because we just joined a CSA for the first time last fall–and we love it. Mud Lake Farm has been supplying us with fresh greens every other week all through the winter.

The Press article notes that a documentary produced in Michigan called “Eating in Place: A conversation on food, agriculture, and Michigan’s future” examined the area’s local food movement “and found six forces driving it: social justice, taste, health, economy, environment, and community.”

But I agree with Anja Mast, from Trillium Haven Farm: “People want to know who is growing their food.” It’s all about farm to table eating.

Want to find a CSA where you live? Check out LocalHarvest.org.

And, check out this month’s issue of Bon Appetit magazine. “The Conscious Cook” shares a new trend in CSA called a “whole diet” share. For about $50 per person per week you can get raw milk, organic grains, meat, poultry, eggs, syrup, pickles and vegetables. If you live near Lake Champlain, New York, you can get a whole diet share at Kristin and Mark Kimball’s Essex Farm in Essex, NY.