CSA…CSA…CSA!

A. T. Buzby is a familiar space at the Collingswood Farmers’ market.  Theirs is always a beautiful display of NJ fresh fruits and vegetables.  If you stop by their stand,  look behind the overflowing baskets on the tables, you will see a stack of boxes.  Inside each box is a  variety of fruits and vegetables hand picked and chosen for Buzby CSA members. A half share.

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  Martie Buzby, (wife of Eric Buzby, daughter-in-law of Dawn and Andrew Buzby) says people asked to be part of this venture.  According to Martie, “they were looking for a closer connection to the source of their food”.  The first year of the CSA had ten members, mostly friends says Martie.  This year there are three hundred.

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I have been a member of the A. T. Buzby CSA for a few years now.  I sign up and pay in  winter and for twenty weeks (May through October) during the market season, I pick up a box of NJ fresh fruits and vegetables.  The selection is varied and fresh and wonderful.  Some old favorites and some new things to try.

“Each week, the share consists of the best assortment of produce that is ready for harvest. Over the years, we have worked to balance the harvest so there is a nice variety each week for twenty weeks” explains Martie.

Again, according to Martie “the benefits include a great value on fresh produce, an opportunity to support local business, a way to help preserve farmland and a working family farm, a way to reconnect with the seasonal nature of food…”

There is a very small risk.  If the season is poor everyone suffers the loss…farmer and CSA member.  But, if the season is good there is an abundance of crops and you, as member, will get more than you anticipate.

Martie writes a corresponding blog that is full of recipes and she posts a photo of the share for the week so the member knows what to expect.    The farm also has a Spring  Open House where CSA members get a tour of the farm and can pick strawberries.  In Fall they offer a wagon ride to their pumpkin patch and CSA members may pick a pumpkin.

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I love all of A. T. Buzby’s fresh fruit and produce…their corn is incredible….their melons are sweet and delicious.

I buy a half share every year and pick up one box each week at the market.  A whole share is two boxes.

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Last week we had a family issue that needed attention so we only had time to pick up our share and, sadly, could not shop the whole market.  One half share provided my husband and I with sufficient NJ fresh fruits and vegetables for the week.

If you’re on a budget or in a time crunch…A.T. Busby’s CSA is a wonderful way to experience NJ fresh produce.  Twenty weeks.  Five months of produce.

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Stop by their stand at the market.  See what they offer…and consider becoming an A. T. Buzby CSA member.   You won’t regret it.

Here is Martie’s recipe for turnip shuffle…my two year old grandson loves it!

Turnip Soufflé
3 to 4 turnips, peeled and sliced ½ cup butter
1 ½ tsp. salt, divided 2 Tablespoons flour
½ tsp. sugar 2/3 cup milk
4 eggs, separated 3 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled

1. Place turnips, ½ tsp. of salt and sugar in a saucepan; cover with water. Cover and cook until turnips are tender, about 15-20 minutes; drain well and mash (do not add milk of butter)
2. In another saucepan, melt butter; stir in the flour and remaining salt until smooth. Add milk; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Beat egg yolks in a small bowl; gradually stir in ½ cup hot milk mixture. Return all to pan cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in turnips; remove from the heat. Beat egg whites until stiff peaks form; fold into batter. Spoon into a greased small casserole dish. Sprinkle with bacon. Bake, uncover at 350 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.

 

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Kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk.

My grandson has just discovered the joys of blueberries thanks to Robert McCloskey and his wonderful children’s book “Blueberries for Sal”.  Sal and her mother go blueberry picking and are followed by a hungry little bear with a big appetite for blueberries.  When the blueberries are dropped into the empty pail (because the little bear eats the berries faster than Sal and her mother can pick them) they make the sounds “kerplink, kerplank, kerplunk”!

My husband has always been a huge fan of blueberries and Robert McCloskey (…think “Make Way for Ducklings” too).  During blueberry season he eats a pint container every morning.  The whole thing.  Every morning.  And husband has pronounced this year a very good year for blueberries.  Very sweet and plump.

Fortunately the farmers at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market have an abundant supply of NJ blueberries.  The berries I used for this recipe (as we keep track so husband can critique) were purchased from Brookeberry Farm.  This is a certified organic farm.

This week I also purchased blueberries from Springdale Farm, A. T. Buzby, DanLynn (organic), Fruitwood Farms, and Rick Hymer.  But there are at least a half dozen more farmers offering blueberries for sale that I missed.  And according to husband all are sweet.  Next week I’ll try the rest!

This recipe was developed in 1954 by a Chicago teenager.  It has circulated for nearly 60 years (especially now via the internet) because it is supposed to have the power to get you a boyfriend.  Hence the name of the recipe….Blueberry Boy Bait.  I’ve been with my (husband) boyfriend over 35 years so I figured I couldn’t go wrong.  And I didn’t.  He loved it!

This is a very simple and delicious recipe that uses 3 cups of blueberries!   And it is certainly a recipe that children can help with.

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Blueberry Boy Bait

Ingredients for the cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2/3 cup vegetable or canola oil
1 cup milk (I used 1%)
2 large eggs (from DanLynn Farms…love those pastel green ones!)
3 cups blueberries, fresh OR frozen (so you can make this all year!)

Ingredients for the topping:
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Instructions:
1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and butter a 9×13 inch baking pan.
2.  In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  Add the oil, milk, and eggs.  Mix with an electric mixer (I used an electric hand mixer) for about 3 minutes.
3.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan, then evenly sprinkle the blueberries on top.

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4.  In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon, then sprinkle it over the blueberries.


5.  Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes.  (just enough time to clean up the kitchen and read “Blueberries for Sal”!

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With the abundance of sweet, beautiful blueberries this year, I am freezing them for future pancakes, muffins, and boy bait.  Simply rinse, let dry thoroughly (I spread them on paper towels), pour into a plastic freezer bag, and toss the bag into your freezer.

 

Yes, you can make potato salad.

“It is always wise to make too much potato salad.  Even if you are cooking for two, make enough for five.  Potato salad improves with age — that is, if you are lucky enough to have any left over.”  — Laurie Colwin

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Summer is the season of potato salad.  At least once a week someone is firing up the grill and tossing on some burgers or chicken or hot dogs or steak or Portobello mushrooms.  And anytime that happens it’s always time for a big bowl of potato salad.

Strolling past the vendors at the Collingswood Farmers’ Market this week, my daughter spotted red, white, and blue fingerling potatoes at Formisano Farms’ stand.  I quickly bought them.  I love when I can get a variety of colors.  And I stepped across the way and picked up a couple of bunches of my favorite organic scallions from DanLynn Farm.  With those in my wagon I was all set!

This is an easy recipe for a delicious potato salad.

Ingredients:
5 lbs. of your favorite potatoes, cut into uniform and bite -sized pieces
1 large lemon (the juice of)
1 rib of celery, diced
2 scallions (green part included)  or 1 small red onion, diced
1 tablespoon of dried or fresh dill weed
salt to taste
1 cup of mayonnaise

Directions:
1.  Wash and trim the blemishes on your potatoes.  Cut the potatoes into uniform, bite-sized pieces.  ( A word here about the potatoes.  I think this recipe works best with young potatoes…spring, red skin, fingerlings, Yukon Gold.  Scrub them.  Trim them.  Leave the skin on.  This recipe also works with russet potatoes…the older ones.  Scrub them…but peel them.  The skin on a russet potato is tough and not very appetizing.)

2.  Put the cut potatoes into a large pot of water.  Cover the cut potatoes in the pot with about an inch of water.  Bring the water to a boil.  Then turn down to a simmer.  Simmer the cut potatoes for 20 to 30 minutes or until a knife easily slides into the soft potato.

3.  Drain the potatoes in a colander in the sink.  Let the potatoes sit for about 10 minutes until they are dry.  They should still be warm though.  Do not let them cool.

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4. Dump the warm potatoes into a container and squeeze the lemon over all the potatoes.  Put a cover on top and refrigerate until the potatoes are cold, at least one hour.

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5.  When the potatoes are cold, take them out of the refrigerator and put them in a large bowl to mix the salad. Add the diced celery and onions, the dill, and salt to taste.  Next put in about a cup of mayonnaise (for 5 lbs. of potatoes…use less for fewer potatoes).  Mix all ingredients and you are done!  Put the salad back into the refrigerator until ready to eat.

6.  Modifications: add chopped hard boiled eggs (husband hates hard boiled eggs); add 1 teaspoon of jarred mustard or 1/2 teaspoon of dried mustard powder, especially good with Hillacres Pride’s sausages and hot dogs (omit dill if using mustard); mix in 1/2 cup of mayonnaise and a 1/2 cup of sour cream (use dill); add Hillacres Pride bacon anytime!

This potato salad is easy and delicious.  And consistent.  The recipe always works.

And if you are lucky enough to have some left over…it is delicious eaten right out of the container.  In front of your open refrigerator.  For breakfast!