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.
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.
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.
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
2 cups spaghetti sauce
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.