CSA Season Starts Again – My 10th Year With the Hellgate CSA

by Meg Cotner on June 4, 2015

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Our first share of the 2015 Hellgate CSA season, in a rad new space.

This week marks my tenth season with the Hellgate CSA, a community supported agriculture organization that I helped establish up in northwestern Queens. A little history: it was originally called the Ravenswood CSA, based in the Ravenswood Houses senior center, and as CSAs work in NYC it was passed on the following year from the Americorps member who staffed it, to an all-volunteer team. The members interested in forming the core group all lived above the GCP, so we brought it north.

I was a core member for eight seasons (2006-2013) and am happy to see the CSA still going, well-managed by the current core group. I left the core group for a variety of reasons, one being my desire to move on and make room for new experiences. But I wanted to remain a member, so here I am.

(The other day I realized I’ve been a member of a CSA on and off for about 24 years; my first CSA experience was with Full Belly Farm in CA, which started my love of CSAs and eating seasonally.)

We’re also in a nice new space, away from the elements, and with a lot more room than we’ve had in the past.

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Wishing it was truly globe artichokes, but what we actually got were jerusalem artichokes.

Speaking of seasonally, one of my most anticipated items each year is strawberries!

I remember many years ago picking strawberries with my grandfather during hot Southern California summers, and they were simply divine. I love those memories I had with him.

Here’s what we got in this week’s share—the aformentioned strawberries, kale, oregano, lettuce, leeks, and jerusalem artichokes. I took these photos while helping with setup, so these are the boxes from the farmer; each share, including mine, is a fraction of what you see. Believe me, if I could take all those strawberries, I would!

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We consumed these strawberries that same night (Tuesday). I washed and trimmed them, set them in a bowl with a little maple sugar and water to slightly soften and sweeten up a little more. We ate them with pound cake and maple sweetened organic whipped cream.

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I still haven’t used my kale yet, but will likely chop it up and saute it with garlic and lemon.

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Part of this oregano went into the cumin lamb meatballs I made Tuesday. I will also put some of it into this savory chopped salad. I’ll dry the rest. BTW, this box of oregano smelled amazing!

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I used some of this to wrap leftover meatballs in. Worked like a charm!

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I think I will make some melted leeks to add to lentils and coconut milk.

Not pictured: a bag of jerusalem artichokes, a vegetable I both love for its interesting flavor and North American heritage, and hate for its gaseous properties. I’d love to find a way to cook them that helps limit the effects of inulin on the human body.

I look forward to a beautiful CSA season and eating all sorts of delicious seasonal vegetables and fruit for the next six months!

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