May 29

Community Agriculture!

Earlier in the spring, I was jonesing for some good fruits and vegetables. In the city, these items are trucked in, because there is no native agriculture. This means that people pay a premium for sub-par produce to live off of. My grocery delivery service, Fresh Direct, does ostensibly get ‘farm fresh’ produce, but oftentimes that farm is actually Florida, and it’s still fresh for having traveled up the entire east coast to get to me.

When I lived in Pennsylvania, I had joined a CSA, which is short of ‘Community Supported Agriculture.’ Basically, you buy a share of a farm, and get a slice of that farm once a week as they do deliveries.The last time I bought a share (in Lancaster, PA), I was living with a boyfriend, and it was a bit of a challenge to eat the whole box. So, this time around I bought a half-share. And this week was the first I could reap the benefits of this. As you can see, it’s just plain beautiful! Bok choy, baby kale, arugula, turnips, rhubarb, and a ton of strawberries. It made me wish I had bought a full share! The strawberries are just like candy, like the strawberries I ate in the peace corps, and believe me, I could eat a pound in a sitting easily.

I have, however, never cooked rhubarb! What to do!? I didn’t want to make some sugar-laden cake or anything. So, I did something that I don’t think people do very often: roasted it and added it to salad.

The base of the salad is some salad mix I got in my groceries, topped with the new CSA arugula. Then I roasted rhubarb with some sherry, balsamic vinegar, a pinch of sugar, pepper, and cardamom.

To the salad I added a balsamic vinaigrette, strawberries, a couple of turnips, blueberries, sun-dried tomatoes, and the warm rhubarb on top.

It is sweet and tangy with a bit of a peppery kick. It’s what I love about salad: so fresh and inviting on a hot summer evening with all the windows open and a breeze coming in. This salad doesn’t want to use the air conditioner unless there’s no choice left. This salad is a little punk rock: just when you think you’ve had it all, a new bit surprises you.

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