Posts Tagged ‘CSA’

A Veggie Cookbook Worth Owning


There are a lot of vegetable cookbooks on the market currently,most of them much of a muchness and pretty forgettable as far as I’m concerned, but now and then I come across one that must be bought. I bought this one. Then I bought another copy for a friend. It’s of special interest to anyone who grows their own vegetables or gets a CSA box for a few reasons:

1. The organization is by vegetable type, so if you have leafy greens in the garden you can turn to the leafy greens chapter and consider some cooking options.

2. It offers suggestions for vegetables, or parts of vegetables, that aren’t usually eaten. Broccoli leaves, for example, which are good to eat and highly nutrient-dense ( be careful how many you harvest, though, or your broccoli-bud crop will be significantly reduced.) Ms. Ly’s improvisational kale-stem pesto gives you a flexible way to use up the “nasty bits” of your kale. Tomato leaves are used well as a seasoning, and no, they aren’t poisonous. There are numerous other examples: I am looking forward to trying her chard-stem hummus later in the season. The recipe for pan-charred beans with bean leaf pesto looks like another winner.

3. The recipes that I have tried work and taste good. This does not go without saying. I have come across recipes, especially no-waste recipes, that look lovely in the picture but aren’t really edible. Ms. Ly’s recipes are good.

Oh, and 4. It’s available on Kindle if you need to save space on your cookbook shelves.

I don’t accept review copies of cookbooks. I buy them at my local indie bookstore, paying the same price that you will pay. That’s the only way that I can judge whether the value/ price ratio is really favorable. I think this one is worth the money. Even an old hand in the kitchen will pick up some new ideas for using vegetables.





Choosing a CSA

If you don’t want to garden yourself, or don’t have room, a CSA is a great local-food option. You share in the season of a local farmer/gardener, and receive truly seasonal vegetables. Using a CSA for a season is also great preparation for starting your own garden, since it trains you to cook with what is in season and grows well in your area. We have several CSAs in our area, but recently I was contacted by Jill, a HIgh Desert yoga instructor who has a small CSA and is ready to take a few more customers. I have not used her CSA myself, but this is exactly the sort of Earth-friendly mini-farm that we need more of, so I’m reproducing her ad below.
Whenever you are considering a CSA, I suggest a discussion with the farmer by phone or email about growing practices (most mini-farms can’t afford the organic certification process, even if they use organic methods,) the variety of vegetables that you can expect, whether fruits and/or flowers are ever included, roughly when the season will start and end, and how many family members each box can be expected to feed.
After one or two CSA seasons, you might be ready to grow your own!

Vegetables by the box.
Mama’s Garden is a Northeast heights backyard garden CSA providing a fresh and delicious variety of seasonal vegetables, herbs, flowers and melons. Mama’s Garden is run by Jill Palmer and her son Narayan and has been selling its pesticide-free produce at local grower’s markets since 2009. Sign up by May 5th for your weekly box throughout the growing season and pay weekly. Free deliveries to the NE heights and Nob Hill. Contact Jill at

Jill adds in her email: ” I am happy to provide you references of my previous CSA members or any
> other info. you might like to know about us. Having just a backyard,
> I am not cert. organic, yet I use no pesticides and prep. the soil
> with yummy compost I make at home and from Soilutions as well as horse
> manure. I have enough variety to keep the box fun…as every few
> weeks a few more veggies begin to fruit. I sell a 1-2 person amount
> as a $15/box and 3-5 person amount as a $30/box. Yet amounts/prices
> can be tailored for more persons than that with discounts.”