Playing Vegetable Roulette: CSA Box

CSA box from Abundant Harvest

Nothing gets my nerves in a bind than deciding what to do with a load of fresh vegetables dropped off at my doorstep. These vegetables were courtesy of Abundant Harvest Organics. They provide a CSA-ish box with farm-fresh organics not only from San Diego but from Central Valley as well. When I was offered the opportunity to check out a sample box, I didn’t exactly jump at the offer. What exactly would I be getting and would I be able to use up all the vegetables?

Kristen dropped off a box with Paul, who then texted me that a big box of veggies was waiting for me at home. And indeed, it was a big box. With some hesistation, I opened it up and found inside:

  • bunch of carrots
  • 1 purple onion
  • 6 white peaches
  • 2 nectarines
  • 3 summer squash
  • 1 bunch of celery
  • head of lettuce
  • 16 ounces box of strawberries
  • approximately 1 lb of white baby potatoes
  • a bundle of lavender

According to Abundant Harvest Organic’s website, this box is enough to feed two people for a week.

I’ve heard stories from friends that have participated in a CSA program that there is usually one ingredient included a box that perplexes them in how to use it. Normally it would be the lavender, but for me it was the celery. Celery and I have never played well since my wee days in kindergarten. The “ants on a log” didn’t fool me. I always knew that a piece of astringent, stringy celery hid underneath the mound of peanut butter and raisins.

Strawberry Salad

For the other veggies, it was easy-peasy. A salad with sliced strawberries and a vingrette graced our table for two nights and I used a recipe for fragrant lavender chicken from their newsletter included in the box. We roasted baby potatoes and purple onion on the grill for a quick side dish. The squash and carrots were included in a hearty baked-vegetable stack with chicken sausage, polenta, cheese and tomato sauce (recipe follows). As for the white peaches and nectarines, they were eaten as-is– they were the most delicious stone fruit I’ve had this season and it left me craving more. But the celery remained untouched.

Squash-Carrot Stack

The weekly box from Abundant Harvest Organics changes from week to week, based on what’s in-season. There are optional add-ons such as Armenian cucumbers and a variety of fresh and dried herbs for an additional cost. There are several pick-up spots around San Diego County including and delivery to homes around San Diego has just started. A small box is $28.80 and a large box to feed more than two people is $43.80 (prices for Encinitas, San Marcos, or Oceanside pickup are 23.80 and 38.80) — very reasonable and should fit into any budget.

It’s a great program to participate in. You get a good helping of vegetables every week and it stretches the creative cooking imagination. There are several similar CSA type programs around San Diego so it’s always best to check out drop-off locations and delivery schedules to see what’s more convenient for you.

You can sign up for Abundant Harvest Organics here and everything comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Squash-Carrot Stack

4 carrots, thinly sliced*
1 large zucchini, thinly sliced*
3 large yellow squash, thinly sliced*
1 red pepper, thinly sliced*
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pinch salt
ground black pepper to taste
1 (18 ounce) package prepared polenta
2 Italian chicken sausages, crumbled and cooked
2 cups spaghetti sauce
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Saute carrots, zucchini, squash, onion and bell pepper in a large saucepan with a bit of olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Saute vegetables for approximately 5 minutes. Stir, cover and simmer until vegetables are slightly tender.

Slice polenta into 1/2 inch circles and season with garlic salt and pepper. Heat enough oil in a medium skillet so as to completely cover the entire bottom of the pan. Pan fry seasoned polenta in hot oil, about 3 minutes per side. Remove from oil and layer the slices in a large casserole dish.

Layer the vegetables and cooked sausage over the polenta. Pour spaghetti sauce over vegetables and then sprinkle with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Bake casserole for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.

*Note: Using a mandolin works great.

9 thoughts on “Playing Vegetable Roulette: CSA Box

Add yours

  1. You know, I’ve heard that braised celery is nothing like eating raw celery. The flavor mellows out, plus it’s covered in a buttery, brothy coating.

    Glad to hear your CSA box worked out – I love that they include fruit! I think that’s hard to find in some of the SD-only CSAs.

  2. I have wanted to try CSA deliveries for some time now but fear it will be too many veggies for one person. but at this price, I might actually try if they wind up with a pick up spot closer to home. And btw, the food photo is drool worthy. Am going to try this stack of goodness you’ve created.

  3. I love my bewise veggies, they are getting way better with the fruit these days too, wonderful peaches, plums and cherries recently. But if I see another turnip I swear they will be hearing about it! I’ll swap you my turnips for your celery! The nice thing about picking my produce up is that if I really dont like something, then I’ll leave it for one of the other people to make use of. That only works if it is me, I go through every bag with silly exclamations, my husband just throws everything in the car and brings it home!

    1. I would gladly trade a turnip for celery! I need to investigate other CSAs but I like the idea of picking it up, going through all the items and leaving stuff for other people. No waste!

  4. There is also a pick up site in San Diego in the Clairemont area. If you sign up for the San Diego Central site you will get the $23.80 and $38.80 prices. The San Diego home delivery site charges you $5 for the delivery.

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