In Season

CSA Chronicles: Week 10

(Stephanie Witt Sedgwick - for The Washington Post)
By Stephanie Witt Sedgwick
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, September 17, 2008

This summer and fall, In Season columnist Stephanie Witt Sedgwick is sharing her experiences as a member of a community-supported agriculture (CSA) program.

CSA members pay in advance for a weekly delivery or pickup of produce and other fresh items from a local farm.

Here is her quick take for the week. Watch for her column, which appears on the first Wednesday of every month in Food.

Rainstorms hit just as I approached the CSA pickup site. They mirrored my mood. A certain fatigue has set in as I begin my fourth month of CSA life, and from what I've been told, it's a common malady.

Hana Newcomb, co-owner and operator of Potomac Vegetable Farms, says people lose interest at the close of a long season. To counteract waning enthusiasm, Newcomb offers summer shares that ended this week; about a third of the members of my CSA have opted out.

Though I'll miss sweet corn, I am looking forward to fall, my favorite cooking season, and its root vegetables. A few parsnips or sweet potatoes will do a lot to renew my spirit. Cooler nights mean I will again start roasting and braising, methods that suit the vegetables Newcomb promises will come soon.

This week's share was still decidedly summery, with its tomatoes, corn and long pole beans. Taking advantage of mild September weather, I made a late-summer side dish possible only when beans overlap with early fall's sweet peppers. I charred the peppers on the grill, then peeled and seeded them and cut them into strips. I quickly boiled the green beans and mixed them with the peppers, lemon zest and just enough olive oil to marry the flavors. The dish went nicely with grilled pork tenderloin.

In the bag this week: 3 ears of corn, 1 pound of green beans, 3 small red bell peppers, 7 tomatoes, 1 bunch of red Swiss chard, 1 large bunch of celery, 1 eggplant, 1 pint of raspberries and 1 watermelon.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company