The last load of farm-fresh vegetables arrived today from my community-supported agriculture program — just in time for subscription renewals. Small farmers and local-foods advocates tout Saturday as National CSA Sign-up Day.
As explained in a previous post, my family participated in a winter CSA designed to provide locally grown produce when local farmers markets are on hiatus. But most CSAs operate at the height of the growing season, supplying shareholders with summer’s bounty.
The model is based on supporting farmers when they most need it to plan for the year’s crops, which is now. Seven Rogue Valley farms offer CSAs, each a little different. Find the list on THRIVE’s website. Then browse individual farm websites to find the best fit for your food budget and preferences.
Expanding beyond boxes of produce, some farmers include add-on options for eggs, homemade breads, meats, cheeses, fruits, flowers or other farm products. Sometimes, several farmers group their products together, to give members the widest variety. About 6,000 farms across the country operate CSAs since their advent in the 1980s.
Although the selection is smaller in winter, greens — particularly kale and chard — are mainstays of my CSA, with arugula a more recent addition in the past month. This salad using chard and arugula won’t be quite as sweet come summer but still tasty.
Swiss Chard and Arugula Salad With Lemon Vinaigrette and Toasted Walnuts
6 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons apple-cider vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
3/4 to 1 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper, plus more to taste
1 bunch (about 1/2 pound) arugula or spicy greens mix, thoroughly washed, torn into pieces if leaves are large
1 bunch (about 1 pound) chard, thoroughly washed, stems trimmed, and leaves cut into 1/2-inch-wide strips
1 small red onion, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 cup chopped toasted walnuts
In a small bowl, whisk together to emulsify the olive oil, vinegar, lemon juice, honey, mustard, salt and pepper. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Set aside.
In a large bowl, toss together the arugula, chard and onion. Sprinkle with a few pinches of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Starting out with about 1/4 cup vinaigrette, drizzle it around sides of bowl. Using salad tongs, toss salad into dressing working from sides in. Divide mixture among 6 plates. Sprinkle with the walnuts, and serve with remaining vinaigrette on the side if desired. Dressing will keep at least week in refrigerator.
Makes 4 servings.
— Recipe from the Detroit Free Press