Spring Greens! Or, The Return of The CSA


Happy day! Our Spring CSA (short for “Community Supported Agriculture”) started up again this week. Despite having an uncharacteristically mild winter here in New England, I was still without locally grown veggies. Try as I might, I just don’t end up eating as much fresh stuff when I don’t have the CSA. I get super turned off by the lack of freshness of a lot of the organic produce in the supermarket, and I really struggle when faced with conventional produce that’s been imported (or even domestic produce which has traveled a long way from points south and west).

This week’s core items were scallions and a choice of lettuce. I selected what Farmer Adam referred to as “Asian lettuce”; a Google image search leads me to believe it’s the variety known as Tokyo Bekana. I had three choices from the crazy abundance* of what remained, so I selected something new — Texsel greens (alternately called Ethiopian Kale/Cabbage), plus broccoli rabe and salad turnips (with gorgeous healthy greens still attached).

Right now, I’m envisioning the scallions doing what scallions inevitably do in our house, which is getting chopped up and winding up in a little of everything: omelets, nachos, baked potatoes, and the odd guest appearance in dishes with other veggies.

I noshed on an Asian lettuce leaf as I was putting it away in the fridge. The flavor is reminiscent of napa cabbage but the stem is much crunchier. Adam said they’d be great for wraps, but I’ll probably either used them in a salad, maybe wilted, or cooked with Thai ramen (yeah, I know the link points to “Artificial Pork Flavour” Mama — don’t judge me).

Adam described the Texsel greens as being like a cross between baby kale and baby spinach (at least that’s what I think he compared them to) and having great flavor. Those will wind up in a salad, for sure.

The broccoli rabe is destined to go in a Thai rice noodle dish (Rad Na Moo), as a stand-in for Chinese Broccoli (Gai Lan). My eldest will be hanging in Boston tomorrow night so I’ll take advantage of his absence to make some comfort food for myself.

And last but never least, those beautiful turnip greens and salad turnips. The salad turnips will get halved or quartered and be tossed with olive oil and a sprinkle of crushed red pepper and salt and then roasted in the oven. The greens will receive a similar treatment and get tossed in the oven with the roasting turnips in the final few minutes to wilt.

So that’s it for this week’s share. To read about my 2012 CSA experience, check out my abandoned blog Salad Days.

*Off the top of my head, I believe there was the following in addition to what’s listed above: a couple of other varieties of lettuce, red radishes, baby kale, baby arugula, baby bok choy, baby chard, spicy and regular micro greens, Swiss chard, and a couple other things I can’t quite put a name to (not being able to remember — I know exactly where they were on the tables! — is driving me more than a little batty.