In Season

CSA Chronicles: Week 17

By Stephanie Witt Sedgwick
Wednesday, November 5, 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.

Check out her recipe for Spicy Black Bean, Chorizo and Turnip Greens Soup, which uses ingredients from her CSA bag. Her column usually appears on the first Wednesday of every month, in Food. This month, however, the column and recipes will run on Nov. 23, in the second of our Thanksgiving issues.

Months ago, when I first asked Hana Newcomb, co-owner and manager of the Potomac Vegetable Farms CSA, what I could expect from our share, she had a folksy reply: "Well, it's just the growing cycle. First you'll see the leaves, then with summer the fruits. We'll end up with the roots. That's how it goes."

I guess I knew that. But with one week left in our CSA membership, the fullness of the experience became clear. It's one thing to talk about cooking and eating seasonally; being part of a CSA reminds you which vegetables are truly around, week in and week out.

The howling wind and cold air outside inspired me to make a big pot of soup. I have so many greens this week that the recipe seemed like a good way to slip them in and warm up at the same time. I added black beans for substance, fresh chorizo for flavor and potatoes (because I never miss an opportunity to throw them in a soup). For no particular reason, I chose turnip greens; I could just as easily have used the mustard greens or chard, if the latter had been in this week's share. The finished product was spicy, delicious and hearty, and something I'll definitely make again.

In the bag this week:1 bunch of turnip greens, 1 bag of salad mix, 1 bag of arugula, 1 bunch of red mustard greens, 1 bunch of kale, 1 bunch of mizuna, 8 watermelon radishes, 1 head of Savoy cabbage and 5 potatoes.

Are you a CSA member? If you'd like to share your experiences, good or bad, with Stephanie Witt Sedgwick for an upcoming article, please contact her at

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