In Season

The CSA Chronicles: Week 11

(By Stephanie Witt Sedgwick For The Washington Post)
By Stephanie Witt Sedgwick
Wednesday, September 24, 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.

The theme of this week's CSA newsletter was the transition to fall produce, but my share had tomatoes, eggplants, basil, peppers and some fruit. Last week's promise of greens was realized in a small bunch of arugula.

At this point, my family has eaten tomatoes sliced, roasted, baked and stuffed, sauteed and in cold and hot sauces. Yet here I faced another bowl, filled to the brim with delicious and flavorful specimens awaiting treatment. Many of the farmers and producers I spoke with at the beginning of the season mentioned ingredient boredom as a common complaint from their CSA members. I was skeptical then, but I get it now. Beautiful as those tomatoes are, I'm tired of dealing with them.

One thing that has changed is our family's pace of life. The kids are back in school; in between work and running around, we're either making dinner in minutes or are on our way to a meeting, get-to-know-the-team party or other event for which we're expected to provide something to eat.

My double-duty solution was to make foccacia, which called for a few bags of prepared pizza dough and provided a novel use for what was in the bowl. I minced some of my CSA garlic and softened it in hot oil, sliced the tomatoes and grabbed some grated Parmesan cheese. I shaped the dough, topped it and put it in the oven.

The foccacia was a hit, and it was astoundingly easy to do.

In the bag this week: 3 carrots, 2 small heads of garlic, 5 small eggplants, 1 bunch of arugula, 1 small bunch of lemon basil, 8 red tomatoes, 4 yellow tomatoes, 22 baby Roma tomatoes, 2 sweet red peppers, 1 green bell pepper, 1 watermelon and 1/2 pint of raspberries.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company