Thursday, October 15, 2015

CSA: Month Five

Thai basil is the new kale. At the beginning of our CSA adventure, we felt overwhelmed by all the kale we were receiving. That pales in comparison with the amount of Thai basil that has appeared in our weekly bag.

Each market day has been like Groundhog Day. More Thai basil, more malabar spinach. While we contemplated taking the basil to our favorite Thai restaurant, leaving it on the doorstep with a note that read, "You can provide a better home for this than we can," I confess that the actual destination for it has been our compost pile.

Thai Basil
Dried Basil (that I snuck into meatloaf to everyone's dismay)

Malabar Spinach
Pasta Salad (substituted monterrey jack cheese for paneer and pine nuts for pistachios)
Stir Fry (with eggplant, sunflower sprouts, onions, peppers, broccoli, and chicken)

Mini Eggplant
Stir Fry (with spinach, sunflower sprouts, onions, peppers, broccoli, and chicken)
Eggplant Fries

Steak Tacos (used as a garnish)
Pulled Pork Tacos (used as a garnish)

Sunflower Sprouts
Stir Fry (with spinach, eggplant, onions, peppers, broccoli, and chicken)

Squash Blossoms
Squash Blossom Quesadillas

Oyster Mushrooms
Fettuccini with King Oyster Mushrooms

While we should be nearing the end of our CSA season, we've joined a fall share, so while the two overlap, we are up to our ears in fresh produce. Not a bad problem to have at all.

Tour de Coop, aka "The Chicken Ride"

Last fall while I was attending a training, Jon and Elsa took part in a neighborhood bike tour of chicken coops, beehives, and gardens. They had such a great time and talked about it so much that I was excited to be able to join them this year.

On an unseasonably cool fall morning (for Memphis), we joined several other families to embark on our tour. Elsa loves a good bike ride from her perch on the front of Jon's bike, so she was thrilled even before we reached our first destination.

One of our first stops was a house with very impressive gardens in both the front and back yards. Jon and I were extremely impressed with the way the back yard was so functional. The raised beds were made from reclaimed roofing material and featured built-in benches so that caring for the various vegetables (planting, weeding, etc.) would be more comfortable. This set-up also allowed for great entertaining potential. We also really liked the screened-in deck, which is something we've discussed doing at our house. Someday, our yard will be more than just weeds...

Continuing along our tour, we saw some more gardens and beehives (Grandpa Walstrom would be so proud of Elsa's interest in honeybees) before finally getting to see what the day had promised: chickens. There was great variation in the chicken operations we visited, but all of them proved that it is possible to raise chickens in an urban neighborhood. We are far from ready to keep chickens in our own backyard, but it is pretty fun to know that they're out there.

It should come as no surprise to learn that Elsa took an epic nap after our grand adventure. A fun morning was definitely had by all.

Elsa wants to show you some chickens