Used to be a ‘new’ Jersey Girl   : now A Colorado Girl

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Local Bounty

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Yesterday was the first distribution day for our CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). Above is what was in our box: a beautiful big head of romaine lettuce, a large bunch of spinach, a few garlic scapes, and the first of the peas.

CSAs are a great way to enjoy fresh, local, seasonal food directly from the farmer. “Shares” are purchased like a yearly subscription and each week throughout the growing season you receive a box of fresh produce. Each week the produce can change depending on what is being grown and ready for harvest that week. Think of it like a surprise package! Typically the boxes are small at the beginning of the season, but as summer gets into full swing your box may be overflowing.

This is the first year for our CSA; Bear Swamp Farm. Pedro is the farmer and he grows everything organically. This is turning out to be a challenging year for him with all the wet, rainy weather we’ve had. When I picked out my box yesterday and hefted that huge and beautiful head of romaine lettuce in my hand I looked at him and said “You grew this???” He grinned and proudly said “Yes, I did.” He told me how to use the garlic scapes (just use them as you would normal garlic) and we chatted a bit about how the peas were now going to take off with the warmer weather to come next week. He said to expect some different lettuces next week. How fun!

Our town of West Milford finally got its very own farmer’s market and last Wednesday was the first day. They had a really good turn-out and sold out of things very quickly. It’s a small market with not many vendors and some things were a bit pricey as farmer’s markets can tend to be. It’s not on the caliber of the Warwick market but at least it’s a start.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

My favorite vendor, Pie-Eyed, had a big crowd in front of his booth. Mostly because he was cooking pizzas and giving away lots of free samples of their fresh mozzarella rolls, pizza, stuffed chicken dishes, etc. I bought a pizza which I think we’ll have tonight and a roll of fresh mozzarella stuffed with proscuitto and roasted red pepper. Okay, not exactly fresh farmer’s market produce, but fun.

Lynne Robinson, Hewitt, New Jersey

Rick and I thought it would be fun to share what we get in our box each week and what we do with it. I made a caesar salad with the romaine last night and I’ll be passing that recipe on in another post. I think it will be fun to come up with different ways to use our weekly share of a farm! We haven’t decided yet whether Rick will write those posts over on his site, or if I will here on my blog, but if he ends up writing them I will add a link to his post.


Everything looks so luscious and wonderful! As I’m writing this, I have some garlic scapes cooking up.

Lynne- somehow this post makes me want to just cry for missing out on one of my favorite pastimes from living there.  Thank you so much for sharing it! There is nothing like that out here- no farmer’s market at all. Certainly not like that. Meanwhile between gowing up with my father’s own huge garden and there being at least 3 different farmers stands I would frequent when I got older- summer is bittersweet- having to buy my produce in a supermarket (a Super Walmart! The horrors!!)

West Milford?  How far to Stepford?

Strawberries look wonderful.

I love the farmer’s market, but we don’t have them here.  I saw one advertised, once, but there was no produce, only cheap jewelry and knick-knacks!  Lucky you to have Pedro growing such lovlies near-by!

Mary, what are you doing with your garlic scapes?

Jess, sorry! I love all the farmer’s markets that we have around here. And yes, !horrors! of buying your produce in a Super Walmart!

Jack, ha ha, very funny! I think Stepford must be down in Bergen County with the Real Housewives of New Jersey ...

Jan, yes we are very lucky to have so many ways of buying farm fresh produce. I really miss it when they close in the fall.

It will be a real treat seeing what you make with your produce box - I am always looking for easy but interesting recipes.  Caeser salad is a great start

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