What's in a Boxed CSA Share?
Farmer John, at Angelic Organics, puts the formula so succinctly. He says "Our goal is to send you a 3/4 bushel box with about 8 to 14 items each week, which includes 1 or 2 herbs, 1 to 3 leafy greens, 1 or 2 alliums (onion family), 1 to 4 fruiting vegetables, 1 to 4 root vegetables, and, in spring and fall, 1 or 2 brassicas (cabbage family)." White Barn Farm is following a similar formula, but here is the blown-up explanation:
We will strive to provide a well-rounded share each week, keeping useable quantities and menu ideas in mind as we select the harvest. When we made our crop plan we came up with the following categories to decide what should go into the box: Lettuce/Tender Salad Greens, Cooking Greens, Onion Family, Herbs, Little Roots, Staple Roots, Peas/Beans, Squash Family, Tomatoes, Peppers, and Eggplants, and Brassicas.
Lettuce/Tender Salad Greens: We are shooting for 2 heads of Lettuce a week, except during the very height of summer - 1 head. In the spring and fall we want to include tender salad greens like Arugula and Mustard Mix.
Cooking Greens: Most weeks you will find some variety of those magical life-giving leafy greens. Spring and Fall could bring Spinach, Broccoli Raab, and Bok Choy. Most of the season we will rotate between different kinds of Kale and Swiss Chard. There is a slight chance of Turnip Greens, Beet Greens, Spicy Arugula, Mustard Greens, or Escarole filling this slot.
Onion Family: In this order: Green Garlic, Garlic Scapes, Scallions, Fresh Bunching Onions, Yellow and Red Onions, Shallots, Garlic, and Leeks. We try to include one representative each week.
Herbs: Cilantro,Parsley,Basil, and Dill. Sometimes we consider Celery or a bunch of Spicy Arugula the herb of the week. Once in a while we will put in a little bundle of Sage and Thyme, a bunch of Chamomile, Garlic Chives,Lemon Basil,or Fennel fronds.
Little Roots: Crunchy Veggies for Raw Eating, mostly in the Spring. Different Varieties of Radishes, little white Salad Turnips, Baby Beets, Baby Carrots. We sometimes think of fall veggies: Fennel bulbs,Celery Root, and Winter Radishes as fresh and crunchy, too (even though you might have them cooked).
Staple Roots: Little Roots will start giving way to Staple Roots sometime in July when we start having full-sized Beets and Carrots (which you should see often from then on), then some New Potatoes, then full-grown Potatoes, Turnips, Rutabagas, Sweet Potatoes, Celery Root. Parsnips if we're lucky.
Peas/Beans: The first sign of peas could be little Pea Tendrils, then Snap Peas and Snow Peas. Those will be gone after Spring and you will start finding Green Beans, Wax Beans, and long Pole Beans. We also like to include a taste of Edamame (fresh soy beans).
Squash Family: Small Summer Squash & Zucchini will be first and then full-grown versions. Then Pickling and Slicing Cucumbers. By mid-August Melons should be rolling in - we've chosen Cantaloupes and Watermelon. Finally, Winter Squash will begin to appear: first Acorn and Delicata, then our good-old staple, Butternut. Hopefully we will have a cheerful little Pumpkin to add at the end of the season, too.
Tomatoes, Eggplants, Peppers: Nothing means Summer more than Tomatoes! We are growing several types of Cherry Tomatoes: Sungold, Black Cherry, and Juliet (grape-type). We could hardly hold back on the Heirloom Tomato selections: Brandywine, Aunt Ruby's German Green, Cherokee Purple, Striped German, etc. We chose lots of "Regular" Red Tomatoes, too. Some early, some prolific and determinate, some good for sauce, some Beefsteak types. We'll have tender, early Asian Eggplants and then several types of Italian Eggplants. We will also have Green and Sweet Red Peppers, maybe some Yellow and Orange, too. Finally, you'll find a beautiful selection of Hot Peppers - to turn all that bounty into salsa, gazpacho, or plain old hot sauce!
Brassicas (Cabbage Family): Napa Cabbage and Kohlrabi can be quite early. We have started attempting spring Broccoli and small Cabbages. There is a respite until Fall, when there should be an abundance of Napa, large Cabbages, Broccoli and a chance of Cauliflower. We will grow Brussels Sprouts this year, too, though they may not be ready by the last pick-up.
Everything you need for a week? We do imagine you will still be making a weekly grocery shopping trip and can round out the share with anything you find lacking.
No Guarantees: We have been trying to grow small amounts of Sweet Corn for the past couple years. We are going to try a larger patch this year and we'd like to put a few ears in the share at least once. But I'm not quite confident enough to promise it.