Every Sunday I head over to meet this rather unassuming little truck in the parking lot of the Eastwood Christian Church in East Nashville. Nothing shady is going on but the goodness that comes from the back of the truck might just be borderline illegal!
The Husband and I had never heard of, much less participated in, a CSA until we returned to Nashville back in 2008. Then we split a share from Delvin Farms that we picked up weekly and divvied up amongst the two of us, my sister-in-law and our friend JG. We learned rather quickly that splitting a share amongst four people became a tedious endeavor. [Who wants 1/4 of a cabbage? Or more often it was who’ll take all the beets so the rest of us can get the stuff we’d actually eat?]
Once we settled in East Nashville we considered re-upping with Delvin but weren’t ready to commit to having a mid-week pick-up given our job situations at the time. We learned about Avalon Acres from one of my sweet betweens customers and decided to try it out once we saw they delivered around the corner on the weekends.
Since we’ve gone paleo, we decided to do a full produce share along with a meat variety and an egg share. Just last week this is what we scored for our produce for the week alone :
Our take-home includes : green bell peppers , carrots [1 bunch], yellow onion, tomatoes , butternut squash, sweet potatoes [2 medium, 2 mini], cucumber, garnet okra [small pile], cantaloupe, green beans [giant heaping pile], summer squash , okra [giant heaping pile]. This box was definitely on the more full end of the spectrum. Avalon warns you in advance that the fullness of your box will vary from week to week depending on harvest conditions at the time they prep for your pick-up. We’ve never opened our box and thought “man, this is definitely not enough veg for our week!”.
Look at this giant heaping pile of green beans :
I’ll be researching some fun paleo-friendly green bean recipes as I think I’m over our go-to stir-fry/saute for now. Do you have any favorite ways to prepare green beans? Please share!
And take a look at this giant heaping pile of okra:
Luckily we’re huge fans of dry-roasted okra in this house [simply rinse + thoroughly dry the okra – broil on high for 15-20 minutes, tossing okra about halfway through]. I think we’re going to try Lesley’s Okra “Fries” this week to change things up a bit.
I can’t get over the bright red color of the garnet okra, so it had to have its own little moment in the spotlight. [As far as I can tell, it doesn’t taste any different from regular green okra, but man is it a beauty!]
In terms of variety, in the past few weeks we’ve also received : lemon basil, dill, red potatoes, garlic, small pie pumpkins, watermelon, blackberries, jelly melon [now that was a new taste adventure!], cherry tomatoes, pattypan squash, corn, banana peppers, jalapeno peppers, japanese eggplants and cabbage. No excuse for boredom when it comes to meal-planning at Casa sweet betweens!
We currently get a dozen eggs, but we usually go through them [thanks to delicious breakfasts like these Paleo coconut-apple-almond egg muffins] before the week is out. Thankfully, we’re part of a neighborhood chicken coop co-op of sorts, so come November we’ll be gathering our own 1-1 1/2 dozen eggs each week. [will be sharing a post on that soon enough!] At that point we’ll probably re-evaluate the need to source our eggs from a CSA.
I’ll wrap up the post at this point but will share a picture of our protein pick-up below [vegetarians, vegans, the generally squeamish can cut out at the end of this paragraph!]. Overall we’ve had a great experience – after working out some kinks on the front end regarding our weekly bank draft, everything’s been smooth sailing. When stored properly, we have produce through [and sometimes even past] our next pick-up. The CSA package as it currently stands accounts for about 2/3rds of our weekly grocery budget. We’ve on occasion had to go to the grocery store or the East Nashville Farmers Market to pick up some more protein or veg to tide us over but we’ve yet to go over our allotted weekly budget in doing so. We’re now beginning to think about continuing on with Avalon through their winter CSA program. What’s most appealing about it is that you will receive canned or frozen produce from this or last years peak harvest. Mainly what I’m saying is – corn! tomatoes! in the WINTER! If we do continue the CSA, I’ll be sure to update this post with an update on our winter experience.
Do you participate in a CSA where you live? Or do you have a favorite vendor at your local farmer’s market? I’d love to know!
PS – y’all should check out In Her Chucks who hosts a weekly link-up of CSA hauls in case you need some more fuel in the to-CSA or not-to-CSA argument! [http://inherchucks.com/2012/08/30/whats-in-the-box-41/]
**veg*ns, beware – photo of our protein haul below. end of post, so feel free to skip out!** When you sign up for a meat share with Avalon you can choose to have all beef, all chicken or all pork or do a variety of all three with a heavier focus on one type of protein. This week we picked up –
10 smoked pork sausage links [we’ve had the bratwurst and Italian style before, so these smoked versions are new! we’re looking forward to trying them out.] and 4 chicken thigh/leg pieces. So far we’ve received ground beef, ground pork, whole broiler chickens, pork chops and also added on strip steak and rib eye steak for some bonus treats.