Sunday, November 22, 2009

CSA Week 1 - the beginning

CSA Week 1
Yesterday began the season for the Community Supported Agriculture program run by Bee Heaven Farm. The "subscription agriculture" program offers the opportunity to buy directly from local farmers by paying in advance for a season's worth of their produce, delivered each week to several drop-off points around Miami-Dade County.

One of the challenges of CSA programs is figuring out what to do with your share. This isn't shopping at the supermarket, where you make your shopping list and pick it up. Rather, you get whatever happens to be growing and ready for harvest at local farms at that time. From what I've heard from people that have participated in prior seasons, this often involves a lot of callaloo. Fortunately there are some good resources out there. Bee Heaven has its own blog, there's Redland Rambles, which will be giving a preview of the box contents every Friday, and more: Tinkering With Dinner, Eating Local in the Tropics, and, hopefully, Miami Dish.

For my first season, I started modestly with a half-share instead of a full share, to see how it goes. The Week 1 box (contents pictured above) came with four ears of corn, a head of lettuce, a bunch of callaloo (it starts!), a pound of green beans, a pint of cherry tomatoes, a Florida avocado, a few stalks of lemongrass, a bunch of dill, and a bundle of roselle (also known as Jamaican sorrel or hibiscus flower). I also grabbed a bok choy from the "extras" box.

My game plan - for now - will be to do a post each week showing what's in the box, and then - hopefully - a follow up at the end of the week with what I've managed to do with it. This could be interesting, or it could be a train wreck. We'll see.

I'm off to a good start though. I took the roselle - which could easily do double-duty as a flower arrangement - and pulled off the red petals, then steeped them with a stalk of the lemongrass and some ginger to make a nice iced "tea." My first recipe met with Little Miss F's approval. Let's hope it's not all downhill from here.

Roselle Tea


  1. I'm cooking right along with you. Yesterday, I picked up my first ever box of CSA produce. I'm using my callaloo and mizuna in a Provencal soup later this week.

  2. You should put together your own variants on TRGWT. Unfortunately neither callaloo or roselle can be found in the food pairing database. There are some surprising combinations for the other items. I was surprised to see the close aromatic proximity of dill with bottarga:

  3. Oh, I didn't think of adding the lemongrass to my hibsicus ginger tea!
    I made the callaloo tonight with less than 1/4 c. of vegetable broth and curry powder for flavor. Tasty!

  4. p.s. You can also search Miami Dish for ingredients, since I tried to keep a cooking log during my CSA subscription a few years ago. Look forward to sharing more recipes too.

  5. I've added a search box to our CSA online newsletter archive. You can type in any term or ingredient and it find them all!