I picked up a Deardorff Family Farms community supported agriculture (CSA) box last Friday. This is an Oxnard-based farm operated by two fourth-generation Deardorffs, cousins Tom and Scott. They practice sustainable farming and their CSA offerings are 100% certified organic whether they come from the Deardorff farms or are sourced from local farms.
After rinsing the items in the CSA box, I counted 23 total items including nine different vegetables and one fruit. All 23 were contributed by either Ventura or Santa Barbara county farms. In the box was Deardorff celery, red cabbage, spinach, Romaine lettuce and red kale. In addition, there was a generous amount of carrots (Roots Farm, Los Olivos), fennel and eggplant (Ellwood Farms, Goleta), cucumbers (Sanchez Brothers, Carpentaria), and Eureka lemons (Sespe Creek, Fillmore).
As soon as I had inventoried and washed the items in the box, I made a large glass of fresh-juiced veggies for Robin and me. I fed our juicer 6 leaves of Romaine lettuce, 3 carrots (unpeeled), 1 rib celery, ½ cucumber (unpeeled) and ½ fennel bulb. For sweetness I added two granny smith apples that were already on our kitchen counter.
As it turned out, there was enough for two 8-ounce glasses of fresh, nutritional juice.
For dinner that night I made a fresh vegetable soup including the spinach, carrots, celery and red cabbage from the box. I added an organic vegetable broth, a pinch of garlic powder, fresh thyme and sage from my herb garden and a little salt and pepper to taste.
The soup was wonderfully fresh and tasty and was served with fresh-baked Ciabatta buns. Although the soup ended up taking on the color of the red cabbage, which some might think a little weird looking, we loved that difference and the difference that fresh-picked organic produce made from the first spoonful to the last. Amazingly good.
On Sunday I made Crostini appetizers with the fresh kale and lemons from the CSA box. I served this to Robin while she was typing away on her laptop. The crostini was accompanied by a basil-infused vodka martini (2 ½ jiggers basil vodka, simple syrup, fresh lime juice). Just in case you were wondering, it was shaken not stirred.
The martini had nothing to do with the CSA box goodies but it was, according to my bride of 36 years, excellent with the fresh kale/lemon crostini. It was a pairing that my foodie friend, Lisa Snider, would have appreciated.
The CSA box was a big hit with Robin and me. We even have enough left over fennel, carrots, lettuce, celery, eggplant and red cabbage to enjoy this week.