Why CSA? Eat your Collards, Jeff!

What is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a season long partnership between farmer and a group of patrons.  In our Bossy Acres CSA, we pay a fixed cost early in the spring in return for a box of fresh, local organic vegetables every week starting in June and running through September.  Julie and I are a two person household, so we sign up for a 1/2 share where we get a box every other week.  Our farmers, Karla and Elizabeth, make our CSA so much more than a box of veggies every other week.  Constant interaction via email, Facebook and Twitter, potluck dinners, opportunities to come to the farm, even a holiday cookie exchange!

Elizabeth & Karla, our CSA farmers at a potluck at our house.  Julie (right) is not a CSA farmer.

Elizabeth & Karla, our CSA farmers at a potluck at our house. Julie (right) is not a CSA farmer.

 CSA Joys and Frustrations
Why join a CSA?  I can see why people fret over joining a CSA.  What if I get 10 bunches of kale?  Who eats kale?  On the farmer side, it’s very important to make sure your patrons aren’t overwhelmed with any one type of produce.  Recipes or suggestions for unusual items are super helpful. For the CSA member, facing new unusual produce could be your greatest joy.

I hate spinach.  My mom (Jane), bless her heart, cooked vegetables for a good, loooong time.  We never had to worry about having crunchy veggies.  Spinach cooked this way made (makes) me gag.  I had many memorable evenings sitting at the dinner table in the dark, looking at my spinach.  I wasn’t excused until the spinach was eaten, and I wasn’t about to eat that poisonous stuff.  I would sit at the table, in the dark, until it was time for bed.

Jeff, Eat your Collards
Fast forward to 2014.  Our first CSA box of the year contains plenty of fresh collard greens, suspiciously close to spinach. Several recipes suggested braising them for a good long time (panic). I could just toss them and no one would know.  But why not try something new?  How about just wilting the greens? Upping my odds for success, I carmelized some green onions, also from our CSA box.  I threw in a single slice of prosciutto to add flavor.  The collards were just in the skillet for a few minutes, enough to wilt, but not like Mom’s.

Wilting our collards

Wilting our collards

In a separate experiment, I threw some green grapes on the grill while I was cooking our chicken.  I was curious to see what they would taste like and whether they would be a nice addition to something on our dinner plates.

Wilted collards with green onions, prosciutto and roasted grapes. Success!

Wilted collards with green onions, prosciutto and roasted grapes. Success!

CSA Success!
Know what?  I love wilted greens.  Wow, who would have guessed?  Embrace your adventurous nature and join a CSA!

Wilted Collards with Roasted Grapes

Note: this is a very rough guide, use your intuition for your own version!

Ingredients:

  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1 slice of prosciutto, chopped into pieces
  • 12 green grapes
  • 5 medium collard leaves, shredded into bite size pieces

Instructions

  • Carmelize the onions in the sunflower oil in a cast iron skillet over low heat (about 20 minutes)
  • Add the prosciutto to brown and blend the flavors
  • Roast the grapes on the grill in a grill basket (about 10 minutes)
  • Just before serving, increase the heat on the skillet to medium and add the collard greens
  • Turning often, wilt the greens for about 5 minutes.
  • Add salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.
  • Add the grapes to the wilted greens at the table.

Comments
2 Responses to “Why CSA? Eat your Collards, Jeff!”
  1. I love collard greens! Nothing better than wilting them with a slab of bacon. Maybe a fried green tomato to go with them . . . Mmmm! Will have to try your recipe — the prosciutto and grapes sound like great partners. Salud!

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