Here's how it works: Find a CSA farm in your area (LocalHarvest is a good place to
start), pay them a fee for the season (one Bon Appétit staffer who does this pays about
$500 quarterly), and each week or so, you'll get a box brimming with that week's
harvest. It's kind of like Grocery Shopping: The Reality Show. You're not going to get
tomatoes or asparagus year-round. The selection varies from region to region and from
farm to farm; consumers make a commitment to buy exactly what is produced; and it
provides great lessons in seasonality and supply and demand (when there's no
asparagus, you'll be pining for it, and when you've gotten kale six weeks in a row, you'll
be giving it away to the neighbors).
One of the best things about subscribing to a CSA is that you'll inevitably end up with
ingredients you've never thought to buy or cook. Rambutan? Cardoons? Salsify? But
no matter where you are in the country in April and no matter where you shop, there will
be a generous supply of the season's most iconic ingredients—carrots, asparagus,
What is a CSA?...Bon Appetite
artichokes, and greens. And after taking a look at the wonderful recipes here, you'll know exactly what to do with them.
In addition to the standard green asparagus, you can occasionally find white stalks, which are grown underground and taste
milder, and purple ones, which have a somewhat fruitier flavor. For more information on asparagus—including how to store
and prepare them—see our
Despite their name, baby artichokes are fully mature. They grow alongside larger ones, but because they're lower on the plant
and get less sun, they don't reach the same size. For more information on artichokes—including how to store and prepare
them—see our Artichokes ingredient page.
The earliest carrots were probably purple—not orange. The now ubiquitous orange carrots were first developed by Dutch
breeders in the 16th century, in honor of Holland's ruling House of Orange. For more information on carrots—including how to
store and prepare them—see our
The term "cooking greens" refers to any dark, leafy vegetable that needs to be cooked to mellow out its bitterness and soften
its texture. Spinach and baby greens are the exception—they're eaten raw, too. For more information on the greens in these
recipes, see our ingredient pages for spinach, mustard greens, kale, and broccoli rabe.
|JANUARY 2010 EDITION - Updated Weekly