Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Farm Box: Week 5

This week's farm box contained:

3 lbs Satsuma Mandarins (Much better quality again than a couple weeks ago)
2 lbs Navel Oranges
1 bu Carrots
1 bu Collards
½ lb Romanesco
1 lb Broccoli
1 bu Scarlet Queen Turnips with greens (these are the small red ones that look like radishes)
3 lbs Assorted Roots (this included parsnips, rutabega, and large white turnips, all without greens)

The romanesco was gorgeous. It tastes like a cross between broccoli and cauliflower, and has this amazing fractal pattern. Like this:

It was a tough week for using up the produce for a few reasons. First, 5 lbs more freakin' oranges! I hadn't even finished last week's oranges! I love getting fruit in the box, but I kind of wish I was getting a mix of citrus or some apples too, instead of all oranges. Also, Josh was out of town for 3 days. And the weather was really warm, which made me not want roasted veggies -- not so great for a week when the box had a ton of root veg.

Wednesday: We had stir-fry, based on this recipe from the Pioneer Woman, using broccoli from the farm box, along with some carrots. The broccoli this week was absolutely delicious. Very fresh and so green tasting. Yum! I ate this stir-fry leftover for lunch the next day, too.

Thursday: I was feeling a little under the weather Thursday, so I made healthy comfort food -- greens and broth. I sauteed thin ribbons of collard and turnip greens, and then tossed in homemade veg broth, cooked white beans, some parm cheese rinds, garlic, and ginger. Let it all simmer for a while and then slurped it up. It was exactly what my body needed.

Friday and Saturday: I confess, I didn't touch stuff from the farm box either of these nights. Friday I was really craving this pasta, which I make with pork sausage rather than the spicy salami. So I made that for dinner Friday night, and ate it as leftovers for Saturday lunch and dinner, with salad on the side. Carbo loading before my big race on Sunday!

Sunday dinner: I ran a half marathon Sunday morning, so I was pretty freakin' exhausted by Sunday night. And since J. wasn't home from Aspen yet, I was on for my dinner. I had roasted romanesco from the box (tossed with olive oil, salt, sumac (which has a lemony flavor), and a touch of chili powder), a Trader Joe's chicken sausage and a salad. It was all I could manage.

Monday dinner: We did roasted lamb sausages with a root veggie gratin (potatoes from a couple weeks ago, turnips, rutabaga, parsnip, all sliced thin, parboiled, then combined with garlic, onions, milk, flour and cheese. Baked at 400 or so for 30 minutes. YUM! ) and also sauteed kale, since J. had it in the fridge already.

Tuesday dinner: Red curry noodles with broccoli and collards along with other veg I had around the house -- mushrooms, shallots, garlic.

This week, we still have a lot left over from the box, unfortunately:

-- Nearly all of the oranges from last week
-- about half of last week's root veggies
-- 1 or 2 scarlet queen turnips
-- nearly a full bunch of carrots
-- That cabbage from a couple weeks ago

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Farm Box Week 4, update

Almost time for our first February farm box to arrive. But first, here's an update of what we've done with the rest of our last January box.


2 potatoes
a few carrots
1 green cabbage from a couple weeks ago
1 lb broccoli
a crapload of mandarins and navel oranges (and I'm getting 5 more lbs tomorrow!)

Saturday Lunch: Leftover risotto from Friday, which had Rapini from the farm box, formed into patties with some bread crumbs and lightly pan-fried.

Saturday dinner: J. was up in Tahoe skiing so HE had In N Out for dinner. I had poached eggs, polenta, and chard. My whole meal turned a lovely pink color from the brightly-colored stems of the chard.

Sunday lunch:
More risotto cakes, with a big farmer's market salad.

Sunday Dinner: Roast chicken with potatoes and carrots. These carrots are seriously the best I've ever eaten. They get so sweet and rich when you roast them that I'd just about stab someone with my fork if they tried to snatch one off my plate. Kale on the side for Josh, salad for me (I was craving crunchy greens).

Monday Dinner:
Butternut squash soup with parmesan toast. This has become a real staple this winter.

Tuesday Dinner: Scrambled eggs and toast, I'm afraid. I had a late meeting and just didn't have the energy to cook by the time I got home. The eggs were doctored with frozen kale from the freezer and the toast was served with my own home-made marmalade, at least.

We supplemented the farm box this week with 1.5 lbs of salad mix from the farmer's market (we go through a LOT of salad between Josh and I), a bunch of dino kale, mushrooms, onions, and garlic. Oh, and bananas. Those aren't exactly grown locally!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

River Dog Farm Box, Week 4

On week 4 of the farm box experiment, already, and I just re-upped for next month. We've really been enjoying the veggies and I'm amazed each week by the wonderful variety get, even in the dead of winter.

Leftover from last week:

a few carrots
1 delicata squash (from a couple weeks ago)
4-5 mandarins and one navel orange
2-3 parsnips

This week's box contained:

1 bunch carrots

1 lb Broccoli.
It must be hitting good broccoli season here, because the broccoli was just lovely this week. I think it's probably going to go into a broccoli-potato soup, but it looks so lovely, we might just steam it and eat it with a squeeze of lemon and some salt.

1 bunch Rapini
The rapini was also really lovely this week. Very fresh and green, and we got a huge bunch of it. The cold weather a couple weeks ago really sweetened it up, so it was hardly bitter at all.

3 lbs Satsuma Mandarins
2 lbs Navel Oranges

Honestly, I'm getting tired of the mandarins. Last week's were kind of manky -- too big and starting to get really tough membranes and lose their super-sweetness. That meant that I didn't even finish eating last week's and was a little dismayed to see a whole new batch to eat through this week. I might just squeeze them for juice tomorrow morning and have fresh juice with my breakfast.

1 bunch chard
The chard this week was stunning. Just look at it:

Chard is actually not my favorite green. I'd usually much prefer kale. But this particular variety turned out to be just as delicious as it was beautiful. Hurray!

1½ lbs Yellow Creamer Potatoes

1 Butternut Squash

Although I've been really pleased, overall, with the variety we're getting in the box, we still haven't gotten any beets -- none for the entire month -- which is kind of disappointing. I will say, though, that those are really the only thing that I expected to get in my boxes that I haven't yet gotten. And so far, we've only gotten one thing that I didn't really like -- the bok choi a couple weeks ago. I'm just not a huge bok choi fan.

With the CSA I was a member of in Chicago, my pick-up site had a "trade box." Basically, if you got something you weren't especially fond of in your box, you could put it in the trade box and take something that someone else had put there. I wish that my pick-up site for River Dog had this. Mostly, I wouldn't use this option, but I would gladly have traded away that bok choi a couple weeks ago for another bunch of kale.

An overall note on quality. Mostly, I've been very pleased with the quality of what I've gotten in my boxes. It's been very fresh and delicious. There have been a few minor exceptions: As I mentioned above, last week's mandarins were less-than-stellar, and one navel orange was totally rotten the day after I got it -- yuck! Some of my first batch of broccoli had also gone rotten.

Anyway, here's what we've done with this week's veggies so far:

Tuesday dinner: The night before this week's box came, I used up most of what was left of the veggies from last week. I roasted carrots, turnips, and parsnips together with a chopped up lemon, olive oil, and a bunch of spices, then served it over quinoa.

Wednesday dinner: stuffed chicken breasts over polenta, based on this recipe, which has become one of our favorites. We sauteed leek from last week's box along with mushrooms, garlic, and some of that lovely chard, then folded it inside thinly pounded chicken breasts along with some fontina cheese. Yum! We served it over polenta and it was just delicious. This was also Thursday lunch for me, as leftovers.

Thursday dinner: I was on my own for Thursday dinner, since J. was at work late, so I made a simple meal -- leftover polenta, served with some of the rapini, which I blanched in boiling water for just a couple minutes and poached eggs. Super-fast and healthy, yet satisfying.

Friday dinner: Last night we made risotto with delicata squash, mushrooms, leek, and the rest of the rapini. I cut the squash into small cubes, then pre-browned it in butter on the stovetop, and blanched the rapini, before adding both at the very end of the cooking process. (If you add them too early, they just disintegrate before the rice is done. Used my home-made veggie stock, and basically followed Mark Bittman's directions for risotto from How to Cook Everything, which has been my go-to cookbook for years.

As for everything else, I suspect the squash will become soup, and the potatoes and broccoli may, too. Or, the potatoes and carrots might end as roasted veggies alongside our usual Sunday night roast (chicken or pork loin most weeks).

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

River Dog Farm Box, Week 3

Week 3, already, of my farm box experiment. Today was lovely because I worked from home, so I actually got to walk down to my pick-up site at lunchtime to get my box. It was was one of those gorgeous Bay Area winter days that feels like May in any place else I've ever lived: 65 degrees, softly sunny, the smell of damp earth in the air. The not-quite-a-mile walk to my pick-up site was just wonderful.

Leftover from last week:

Mostly, we just had odds and ends leftover, with the exception of the delicata. But those will keep forever, so I'm not worried about it. Here's what was left:

1 watermelon radish
A few leaves of Kale
A few broccoli leaves (we ate all the heads, though)
2 delicata squash
A couple red radishes
1 mandarin orange
1 carrot
2-3 parsnips

This week's box contained:

1 very large celery root (also known as celariac)
I've never actually cooked with celery root before, so I'm not entirely sure what to do with it. I've read the flavor is something like celery crossed with parsley, and that it mellows as it cooks. I'm thinking maybe a potato-celery root soup or maybe a gratin with potatoes and leeks?

It's a bit homely looking, no?

1 large bunch collard greens
Again, not something I've ever cooked with before. However, Josh and I both adore dark greens and eat at least one bunch, if not two, of kale every week. Usually, we saute it in a hot pan with a bit of water and salt and then spritz it with lemon juice right before serving. I'm guessing I can cook this in a similar manner and I'm sure we'll enjoy it.

1 bunch Tokyo turnips
These are the small, smooth white turnips that look like overgrown radishes, not the big purplish knobbly ones. I don't dislike turnips, but I don't ever really buy them. I suspect these are destined to be cut up and eaten as snacks, with blue cheese dip. If I make a gratin with the celery root and potatoes, maybe I'll add these. Also, my farm box said you can eat the greens, as well, just like any other dark green.

1 bunch carrots
The carrots from my boxes have been so lovely. Fat and sweet and perfectly formed. I think winter carrots are SO much better than summer ones! These will get snacked on and a few probably roasted, as well.

1 green cabbage
Frankly, I was a little dismayed to see this in my box, as Josh and I currently have a monster-sized batch of sauerkraut fermenting and a huge head of cabbage left over from J's accidental over-buy for the sauerkraut AND half a head of purple cabbage in my fridge. Luckily, cabbage keeps pretty well, so if this sits in the fridge for a few weeks before I use it up, I'm sure it'll be fine. Anyone have any good cabbage recipes?

4 leeks
These are such a staple, I'm sure I won't have a hard time using them up. I use them in eggs, soups, sauces, etc. Also, I save the tough darker green bits to use to make broth. I just keep a baggie in the freezer for odds and ends like this (mushroom stems, leek greens, chicken bones, etc) and when I have a bunch saved up, I make my own stock. So much better than anything you can buy in the store, and practically free, since I make it mostly with scraps.

2 lbs navel oranges AND 3 lbs satsuma mandarins
Glad there are some navels mixed in with the oranges this week. It's nearing the end of peak Satsuma season, I think -- they're starting to look a bit knobbly and faded.

Here's everything from the box, all laid out

I have to say, I'm not as excited about this week's box as I have been about the past two. The food all looks great, it's just that none of my favorites were included this week. I was hoping for a nice bunch of beets and more kale and winter squash. Anyway, here's what I'm thinking (farm box ingredients in italics):

Wednesday Lunch: This lunch was all about using up last week's odds and ends before going to pick up this week's box. Luckily, I worked from home, so I was able to make a more elaborate lunch than usual -- my own version of the Peanut Sesame Noodles from Smitten Kitchen. I discovered this recipe a couple of years ago, and it has become one of my staples. It's easy to whip up fast for a weeknight, it's healthy, and it allows for infinite variation -- I almost always have the ingredients for it in the house. Today's version had: shredded red cabbage, thinly sliced radishes, thinly sliced and blanched broccoli leaves, blanched ribbons of kale and bok Choi, and shredded carrots. All but the cabbage were left from last week's farm box. I also often toss in some tofu (browned in a dry pan) and some frozen peas or Trader Joes frozen "Soycatash."

Wednesday Dinner: Lively Up Yourself Lentil Soup from 101 Cookbooks (a great resource for healthy, veggie-heavy recipes). I used a combination of greens -- the greens from this week's turnips, a couple leaves of this week's collards, and the few leaves that were left from last week's kale. I never would have thought to eat the turnip greens, but the newsletter from Riverdog said you could use 'em like any other green. They were actually milder than I expected -- I guess since turnips have a sharper taste, I was expecting the greens to have the same.

Other plans for the box include some sort of gratin with the celeriac and some potatoes, collard greens as a side dish, and snacking on the turnips. This week will be a bit more of a challenge, so I'll let you know where I end up.

EDT to add:

Here's what we've done with the rest of last week's farm box:

Thursday Dinner:
Baked tilapia, served with sauteed collard greens splashed with lemon (it did taste pretty much exactly like kale, only a bit less tender), and mashed potatoes and celery root. This was my first time using celery root. I found that it tastes a bit like very mild celery crossed with artichoke heart (it leaves that same sort of sweet and tangy aftertaste in the back of your throat). It was delicious boiled and mashed with potatoes, butter, sour cream, and a bit of salt and pepper.

We actually went out for dinner on Friday night, a rare occurrence since I've been trying to save my pennies for a big trip to Alaska this coming summer.

Saturday dinner
: One of my favorite quick meals, rice bowls. Locally grown brown rice from Massa Family Organics (the best rice I've ever tasted!), topped with seared ahi tuna marinated in a little soy sauce, fresh ginger and garlic, then sprinkled with sesame seeds, lightly sauteed farm box carrots and turnips, plus some sauteed kale we bought to supplement the farm box. Bold
Sunday lunch:
Pasta salad with orzo, farm box carrots and turnips and leeks, kalamata olives and feta. This will also be lunch for a day or two this week.

Sunday dinner:
We made our common Sunday night roast pork, this time with a gratin on the side, made with celery root, potatoes, leeks, and delicata squash (from the Week 2 farm box). The gratin was totally amazing -- I could have eaten the whole pan on my own!

What's left:
As of right now, Monday mid-day, we have the following left from the boxes:

-- a couple parsnips (from 2 weeks ago)

-- 4 or 5 carrots

-- the entire cabbage

-- 1 delicata squash from a couple weeks ago

-- a few oranges, which will easily be eaten before this Wednesday's box arrives.

-- 2 turnips

-- 2 leeks

The carrots, parsnips, and turnips will get eaten tonight -- we're making sausages, roasted veggies, and eating the first of our home-fermented sauerkraut. God only knows what I'm going to do with that freakin' cabbage!

Other than that, I ended up throwing away what was left of the bok choi from a couple weeks ago, but other than a couple rotten oranges, that's the only thing I've tossed from the farm boxes. This is a HUGE change for me -- I'm notoriously bad about over-buying produce and throwing away half of what I buy. Since I started the farm boxes, the only produce I've bought is a bag of farmer's market salad a week and a couple extra bunches of kale. I've also cut my food spending by 30% (!!!) from my typical expenditures. This isn't just due to the farm box -- I've also been much more aware of my spending in general, but I think the farm box has helped. Anyway, I'd say that so far the farm box has been a resounding success. I've already sent in my check to sign up again for next month.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

River Dog Farm Box, Week 2

This is the second in my series of posts about my new membership in River Dog Farms' CSA. The first one can be found here.

Left from last week's box:
1 small head cauliflower, 2 potatoes 1 carrot. Everything else got devoured, and it pretty well lasted me the week. I supplemented with salad greens and a bunch of kale from the farmer's market and also an acorn squash I already had.

This weeks' box contained:

3lbs Satsuma Mandarins
1 lb Watermelon Radishes (3 big ones) (They look like this, for those of you who aren't familiar)
1 lb parsnips
1 huge heads Bok Choi
1 bunch Red Russian Kale
1 bunch Carrots
1 bunch Spinach
1 small bunch Red radishes
1/2 lb broccoli (3 small heads, lots of leaves and stems, small heads)
3 Delicata Squash.

Wednesday: Beef Stir fry with Bok Choi and Broccoli. Based on this recipe from The Pioneer Woman, which is utterly delicious and SO quick. Delicious and easy (I managed to successfully cook it after a wee bit too much wine at happy hour :-) I didn't even use half of the bok choi for it, though - there was so much.

Thursday: Mandarin oranges as snacks, red radishes in my salad at lunch. Dinner will be lamb sausage with roasted potatoes and cauliflower (leftover from last week), plus spinach and mandarin salad with this dressing.

This weekend, we'll probably make a pork roast with Honey-Glazed Roasted Carrots and Parsnips and sauteed kale.

I'm sure the oranges will get eaten, no problem, as I ate every last one from last week's box (other than the two that were rotten inside - ick!) Not quite sure what to do about the watermelon radishes. They'd be good in a cole slaw with red cabbage and maybe pecans, but that's not really very wintery. If I don't use 'em by the end of the week, I'll make them into pickles, maybe with that leftover cauliflower from last week, which I need to use up before it starts to go all spotty.

I'm thrilled, though, to see that it's mid-January and I still have quite a wide variety of produce coming in my box this week. That's pretty wonderful, and one of the joys of living in CA. The boy tells stories of going out with a steel gardening fork to dig out "winter carrots" from the garden as a kid (he grew up in Pennsylvania). I feel very fortunate that we don't have to do that!


EDT to add: Here's how we've continued to use up this week's box.

Friday: Roasted squash and cauliflower soup. I peeled, chopped, and roasted half an acorn squash I had in the fridge, along with a delicata from this week's farm box and the last of the cauliflower from last week's box in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes or so, then sauteed some garlic and onions in a stockpot with 1 tbs butter. Added 4 cups home-made veggie broth and the squash / cauliflower. Cooked for a little bit, then blended with an immersion blender. Served topped with crumbled bacon and a swirl of greek yogurt, bread on the side. Delicious, healthy, and super easy!

Saturday: Spaghetti and sausage with farm box kale on the side. We love, love, love kale and it could not be easier to make. Just pull the leaves off the tough stems, and saute in a hot pan with a bit of olive oil and water. It tenderizes quicker if you cover the pan. At the end, sprinkle with salt and lemon juice. YUM!

Sunday: Pork Loin roasted with farm box carrots and parsnips, salad with watermelon radish. We used this recipe, originally from Bon Appetit, which has become my absolute favorite pork recipe. Instead of the baby carrots, we used full-sized carrots and parsnips, cut into long skinny quarters. Also, I usually skip the jalapeno in the carrot part of the recipe, in favor of using extra-spicy chili powder and some smoked paprika. The carrots and parsnips were amazing -- super-flavorful and sweet, a little bit caramelized from the long cooking time. Delicious! Leftovers of this, along with salad from the grocery store, will be my lunch for the next two days.

As of today, Monday, I have left from the box: 1.5 watermelon radish (part of which I'll eat at lunch today), 3 parsnips, 1 or 2 carrots, 1/3 of a bunch of kale, 2 delicata squash, 1/2 bunch bok choi (which probably won't get eaten. I've learned that I strongly prefer baby bok choi -- the big bunches are a little overpowering for me.), a few mandarins, a few broccoli leaves (which will probably go into my next batch of broth).

Friday, January 7, 2011

River Dog Farm Box: Week 1

For the month of January, I've signed up to get a weekly CSA box from River Dog Farm. For those not in the know, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically, small farms sell "shares" in the farm and when you buy one, it entitles you to a large box of produce from the farm each week.

Most places I've lived, this has been a sign-up-by-the season deal. For example, when I lived in Chicago, my roommates and I paid a few hundred bucks in advance for a share in a farm for the whole season. We got a box each week from the start of the season (May, if I'm remembering correctly) through mid-October or so. Here in the Bay Area, however, we are lucky enough to be surrounded by amazing family-run farms, so the options are much more varied and flexible. I found that most CSAs here run year-round and offer much shorter-term options -- anywhere from just needing to request a box the week you want one to committing to a few months at a go. I signed up just for the month of January to give it a test run, and it cost me $20 a week.

Every Wednesday, a box of delicious farm goodies gets delivered to a house in my neighborhood along with boxes for several other people. I just have to pick it up by 7pm on that day each week -- easy as pie. What you get in each box depends entirely on what's in season and ready to be picked, which is perfect for a non-fussy eater like me. That's pretty much what I eat, anyway, although I do give in to the occasional all-the-way-from-Chile indulgence at the Berkeley Bowl.

I picked up my first box a couple of days ago, and it was really lovely. Here it is.

It contained:
1 bunch rapini
2 big leeks
2 lb gold finn potatoes
1 bunch carrots (SO sweet, thanks to the chilly weather lately!)
4 small heads romaine lettuce
2 small heads cauliflower
1 large grey Kabocha squash
3 lbs satsuma mandarins (which is AWESOME, as I am utterly addicted to those babies right now)

I haven't added it up precisely, but that's certainly at least $20 worth of food at the grocery store or farmer's market. Especially since it's all organic. So far, here's what I've done with my produce:

Wednesday dinner: We made pasta with Rapini and white beans. Although the recipe doesn't call for it, I also sauteed one of the leeks and added that. Also, I used my own homemade veggie stock, which I make from various veggie scraps (mushroom stems, the green parts of leeks, parsley stems, etc) that I save in the freezer till I have enough for broth.

Thursday: Mandarins, mandarins, mandarins as snacks. Plus a couple of the carrots and for dinner the leftovers from Wednesday, supplemented with some roasted brussels sprouts that I already had in the fridge . Yum!

Friday: More snacking on the mandarins and carrots, a salad with the romaine for lunch, and roasted squash soup for dinner (I also used the other leek in the soup).

Saturday: Leftover squash soup for lunch and . . . ?

The potatoes will get used, no problem, as Josh and I usually eat potatoes at least once a week with roast pork, chicken, or sausages. Potatoes are also part of one of my key "emergency meals" -- poached eggs over pan-sauteed potatoes and greens with lots of salsa.

As for the cauliflower, my inclination is to use it for an indian-style curry, with chickpeas and carrots. Josh isn't a huge indian curry fan, though, so it may also end up in some kind of soup or just roasted with some spices as a side dish for some meal.

EDT to add:

pork chops with my own homemade apple-thyme jam and mashed CSA box potatoes.

Sunday: Chickpea, cauliflower, and carrot curry from this recipe. The original recipe doesn't call for any veg other than onions and chickpeas, but I've discovered that you can pretty easily add other sturdy veggies to the mix. Also, it's way better if you make it with ground cumin and coriander rather than whole.

Monday: Lunch was left-over curry and the last of the romaine from the farm box. Lunch tomorrow will be the same.

Will I use it all? For those of you keeping track, as of midday Monday, I have left 1 small head cauliflower, a couple potatoes, a couple carrots, and some mandarins. I'll eat the potatoes with eggs for dinner tonight, finish the mandarins in the next couple of days, and probably blanch and freeze the cauliflower if I don't eat it tomorrow as a snack (cauliflower and blue cheese onion dip is delicious!). A pretty good use of all those lovely veggies! I supplemented with a $3.00 bag of salad greens from the farmer's market and also gave into the temptation to buy some kale there, which I'll eat tonight with my potatoes and eggs. Can't wait to see what I get in this week's box!

So why did I sign up? Well, I already eat plenty of produce, for the most part. But I tend to WAY over-buy in the produce department at the grocery store, and a lot of what I purchase ends up going to waste. I am hoping that having my veggies delivered to me each week will mostly keep me out of the grocery store. I figure that if I only need to buy staples like eggs, milk, and dried goods, I can probably get away with only going every other week.

Also, I like the challenge of coming up with something to do with the wonderful produce I get. For some people, this might be stressful. But, as I said, I have pretty much never met a vegetable I didn't like if it was cooked properly (other than lima beans and their awful chalky texture - gross!) And I feel like getting surprise veggies each week is sort of like a creative writing prompt -- the parameters make me feel MORE creative rather than less. Like that rapini. I can't remember the last time I bought rapini, but it ended up being the first thing I used from the box. It just looked so vibrant and delicious, and I found a great new recipe that will definitely be added to my regular rotation.

Finally, I really love the idea of supporting a small, relatively local farmer really directly (these guys are in the Capay Valley, maybe 80 miles or so from where I live). I'm lucky enough to get to do most of my shopping already at farm markets and Berkeley Bowl, where many of their suppliers are small and local, anyway, but it's nice to know that my money goes directly to the farmer, no middle man.

Right now, I'm looking at this as an experiment. Some things I'm trying to figure out:

-- Will I be able to use all the produce each week before it goes bad? I suspect that this will be more an issue in the summer, when produce is more perishable, than now. Potatoes and squash and that sort of stuff stores very well. Tomatoes, herbs, lettuce, and that ilk, not so much.

-- Will I still have to supplement with the grocery store or farmer's market? (I'm almost positive that the answer to this is yes -- I'm going to want more salad greens than I'll get most weeks, and lots of extra fruit in the summer especially.) If so, how much? And am I ultimately saving money on groceries by doing this?

-- Is River Dog the right CSA for me? I also looked at several other farms, including Full Belly Farm, Terra Firma (appealing because I actually used to live within a few miles of this farm), and Farm Fresh to You (which is mostly Capay Organic). I chose River Dog because the price was right, they get good reviews on Yelp, and they also raise pigs and chickens. I'd love to also start purchasing sustainably raised meat direct from the rancher at some point, so that seemed like a good reason to start with River Dog for my CSA.

Anyway, I'll keep y'all updated on how it goes, but I think week 1 was a sure success.