In Season

The CSA Chronicles: Week 14

By Stephanie Witt Sedgwick
Special to The Washington Post
Wednesday, October 15, 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; see her recipe for Root Vegetable Hash. Watch for her column, which appears on the first Wednesday of every month in Food.

Our CSA share this week was truly a gift basket of fall produce: turnips, sweet potatoes, celeriac (celery root) with the celery stalks still attached, chard and more. My husband came back from the pickup site with two stuffed bags; even he looked excited.

It was hard to know where to start, but it didn't take me long to zero in on the root vegetables. I've been waiting for them. I knew I could cook each kind on its own, but because there were three to choose from, why not make something that combined them all?

A hash was in order. I cubed sweet potatoes, turnips and celeriac, combining them with a little bacon and nutmeg. The dish was hearty enough for cooler weather and a nice complement to roast meats and chicken as we start to grill less and roast more.

At this point, I know our CSA share might not always have what I want or have enough of what I like. But it does hold great promise. The week's big surprise was the sweet, mild flavor of the smallish Japanese Hakurei turnips. So many turnips I've tried are bitter, but not these.

I could live without the nonstop supply of green bell peppers and hard-to-identify greens, though.

In the bag this week: 3 small eggplants, 4 green bell peppers, 7 sweet potatoes (about 3 pounds), 1 bunch of Hakurei turnips, 1 celeriac with celery stalks, 6 striped plum tomatoes, 1/2 pint of raspberries, 1 bunch of red chard, 1 bunch of mustard greens, 1 head of lettuce and 1 bunch of chives.

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