Adventures in CSA Farm

 

 

Some of the vegetables from this week’s box.

This week I went picking tomatoes at the CSA farm. (I live in South Florida so the growing season starts in the fall.) The members were invited to you pick sun gold tomatoes. They are little yellow cherry tomatoes with a very sweet flavor. I have 3 plants of my own that I have had growing in pots. Mine wasn’t as sweet as the ones from the farm. Sun gold is indeterminate and grows into a tall vine and the rows at the farm was very tall. I could hardly reach the top so I mostly picked from the bottom and middle. I picked until my shopping tote got heavy.

I think I pick about a ¼ bushel of those little sweet tomatoes..There was a small hike back to the car and I had all that I could carry. It was fun listening to other talk as they picked. Like me some of them are first year members. There was plenty of oo-ing and ah-ing over the experience of picking tomatoes. Listening to their conversations I could tell some were vegans. Plans were being made for tomato soup when they got home.

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Quarter Bushel of Sun Gold cherry tomatoes and freezer packages.

Me I am freezing mine in one cup packages to use in vegetable soup and other dishes. Some foodies call these frozen chopped tomatoes,” tomato junk”, because the packages are usually made with the end of season tomatoes. The little tomatoes are ideal for tomato junk because you just quarter them and drop them into a baggie and freeze. I picked plenty that were not quite ripe so I would not have to all the freezing in one day.

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Very large Cherokee Purple tomatoes.

There was some surprises in this week’s share of 2 very large Cherokee Purple heirloom tomatoes, a sugar baby watermelon, Hakurie turnips and a baby butternut squash. I took a picture of the tomatoes and laid my cell phone next to them so you could see how large the beef stake type tomatoes are.. Cherokee Purple seeds was offered to the public in 1990. The seed came from a family in Tennessee that got the seeds from neighbors who claimed to have been given them from Cherokee Indians a 100 years ago. It was the first truly purple tomato. Southern Exposure Seed Exchange and Johnny’s Select Seed Company were the first to offer the seeds. Geraldson’s Farm grows mostly Johnny’s Seeds, who has a large selection of heirloom and organic seeds.

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Hakurie salad turnips and red radishes.

The hakurie turnips are a salad turnip that is not spicy and more fruity and sweet. The greens are eatable also. These turnips come from Japan and was grown since 15 BC. When I added one to our supper salad, I was pleasantly surprised at the mild flavor. There are many recipes for this vegetable that can be cooked.  I went ahead and blanched the greens and froze them in a package.  They are so yummy and crisp in a salad that I will eat them all week that way. If there is some next week I will try brazing them.  We dug into the little sugar baby watermelon and it was sweet and full of little seeds. I have forgotten how seedy the heirloom types can be. We are spoiled with the seedless varieties that are in the stores during the summer. The kids enjoyed spitting out the seeds.

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Red Russian Kale

Red Russian kale is a beautiful green leaf vegetable.  This heirloom variety of kale is also known as Ragged Jack Kale it is pre-1885 seed.  It is very mild and tender.  I saved the hard purple stems for soup stock.  In fact I have frozen all my greens steams to add in soup stock or vegetable stock.  After I blanched the leaves I tasted and found it had a wonderful flavor.

I also was invited to pick all the basil I wanted so I picked a plastic grocery bag full. Some of it I froze in a quart bag to use in recipes like fresh and the rest I am drying in the oven to use as a cooking herb. There was other vegetables in my share, cucumbers. red cabbage, winter squash, jalapeno peppers, red lettuce,green pepper, mustard greens and collard greens.

Now I am going to have to buy a small freezer to store all my bounty.  When they offer you pick I want to be able to take advantage of that.  It helps to make this a real good choice for someone like me.  Just think about the price of one plastic pint box of yellow cherry tomatoes and how many of those I picked today. I am sure I ended up with more then $27 worth of food.

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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Hiya,
    Thanks for liking and following my blog, it allowed me to find yours, and I already know I’ll be using lots of your helpful freezer and soup tips!

    Like

  2. susansink says:

    How nice to see all these fresh veggies when we’re still below zero here in Minnesota! Those turnips were featured in Organic Gardening this month and I’m thinking of trying them next summer!

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    1. trkingmomoe says:

      They are delicious, I am going to post a salad made with them. I never had them before. They keep really well in the refrigerator. You don’t have to peel them, just slice them up and eat. January is a good month for arm chair gardening.

      Like

  3. When I looked at all this beautiful produce I had to go back and check your about section because I thought you must be in the southern hemisphere to have such a bounty this time of year…especially tomatoes. Of course you would be able to have this in Florida! I’m jealous. 😉

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    1. trkingmomoe says:

      I live in South West Florida, just south of Tampa. The CSA garden is located right on the water where DeSoto landed in the 16th century. I go each Saturday until the first week in May. I didn’t even know there was such a thing as a CSA until I started following bloggers here on wordpress. They would take pictures all the time of their boxes. I found this one last year by accident.
      Thanks for stopping in.

      Like

  4. Sheryl says:

    I also was surprised to see a post about fresh, local produce in January. I’m enjoying hubbard squash, onions, parsnips and other produce that I got last fall at a farmer’s market–but I must admit that I’m slightly jealous of the wide variety of fresh produce that is available in southern Florida.

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    1. trkingmomoe says:

      This is the first time I have bought a share in a CSA farm. I am also surprised at the variety. The season ends in May then it gets too hot to grow a garden.

      Thanks for stopping in.

      Like

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