Tag Archives: #CSA

My favorite time of year…no, my other favorite time of year.

Published this week in my CSA Newsletter, Bob’s Fresh and Local.

This is my favorite time of year, when all the beautiful summer veggies come from the fields into my kitchen. Oh, wait, I think I said that about early spring and the first greens. OK, ok, I just love the whole year in any year that I can have a part in bringing beautiful veggies into the world.

So let’s talk about this particular favorite time of year. Summer squash. Early cucumbers. Cabbage. Broccoli. Cauliflower. And of course that beautiful kale (hasn’t Farmer Bob’s kale been gorgeous this year?)

I saved my summer squash from last week, so with what’s coming in this week, I’ll have plenty to make a soup to share. This squash soup is a lovely recipe with a very slight sweet flavor.

SUMMER SQUASH & CORN SOUP

Ingredients
• 1 pound yellow summer squash
• 2 ears corn
• 3 large shallots (or use some of the leeks)
• 2 large garlic cloves (or use some garlic scapes)
• 1 fresh jalapeño chile
• 1 tablespoon olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
• 2 1/2 cups water

Instructions
1. Cut up summer squash into cubes, and cut corn kernels away from the cob. Mince the garlic and finely chop the shallots or leeks.
2. Add some extra virgin olive oil to the bottom of a soup pan.
3. Saute the garlic and shallots or leeks.
4. Add the veggies and water to just barely cover, no more than 2-1/2 cups.
5. Return to simmer, add seasonings (I usually bump them up).
6. When done, pulse soup in a blender, preserving texture.
7. Pour back into the pot, check and adjust seasoning, and hold warm.
8. At serving time, garnish with jalapeno slices and/or sour cream or yogurt. Drizzle a little extra virgin olive oil over the surface.

I originally found this recipe at loveandoliveoil.com. I’ve used it many times with groups, and it always gets great reviews! I usually at least double it and bump up the seasonings a little.

We’ll enjoy cucumbers again this week as well. Of course, anything you don’t use right away can be pickled. Last week I pickled the rainbow chard stems along with a garlic scape (if you love garlic flavor, these scapes deliver a powerful punch). Can’t wait to see how that comes out! The cucumbers this week can also be pickled — just use the recipe I provided for refrigerator pickles.

But here’s another way to try them, and it’s delicious! A Hungarian friend shared her recipe with me many years ago — would you believe more than 40? It dropped out of my recipe repertoire somehow because I’ve just been doing vegan recipes. Sadly, I will have to wait on this one until Perfect Day perfects its milk, which they promise will have all the properties of cows’ milk but without using a cow. I’ve already translated most of my former cafe recipes.

Lots of yummy salads! The Creamy Cucumber Salad is at 5:00 in the right picture.

CREAMY CUCUMBER SALAD

Ingredients
• Cucumbers, 4, washed, sliced in half lengthwise, deseeded, thinly sliced across (thin slicer blade on mandolin or processor)
• Salt, 1 TB
• Garlic, 1 fresh clove (or some garlic scape)
• Sugar, 2 TB
• Vinegar, white, 1/4 cup
• Middle Eastern Labne or Greek yogurt, 3 TB – 1/2 cup

Instructions
1. Mix the deseeded thinly sliced cucumber in a bowl with the salt and minced garlic (or garlic scape).
2. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour, overnight if you wish.
3. Remove from refrigerator and drain accumulated liquid, squeezing it from the cucumbers.
4. Return drained and squeezed cucumbers to the bowl. Mix with sugar and white vinegar.
5. Cover and refrigerate for at least another hour.
6. Remove from the refrigerator and drain accumulated liquid, again squeezing it from the cucumbers.
7. Return drained and squeezed cucumbers to the bowl, and fold in Middle Eastern Labne. Greek yogurt, preferably full fat, makes a good substitute.

Just two weeks ago, our beautiful yellow summer squash was a small yellow flower.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Saving The Planet: Eat Your Greens, But Don’t Forget Those Roots

Published in Bob’s Fresh and Local CSA Newsletter, 6/21/2017.

If you are interested in sustainable agriculture, and your CSA membership says you are, you probably know that those veggies are a lot easier on the environment and our water resources than animal agriculture — so much so that Frances Moore Lappe suggested in 1972 in Diet for a Small Planet that we would be better served to eat the grains we grow for animals than to feed them to animals and eat the animals.

So I’m always excited to bring home my box of CSA veggies! It is one contribution I make to taking care of this beautiful earth. As with last week, we’ll see a lot of greens, wonderful greens, a sure sign that it’s early in the season, and we have many luxurious, fresh vegetable-filled weeks to go. So I want to say a word about greens, but I want to focus this week on turnips and radishes, root veggies which we are also enjoying now.

GREENS. Today was a banner day for me. This morning I enjoyed a kale, spinach, soy milk, seeds, fruit and ice cube “Greenie” for breakfast, a delicious way to start the day.

For lunch, I enjoyed the rest of my greens from last week, two lettuces, one red and one green, some mizuna, tokyo bekana, and kale, topped with red onion, radishes and walnut pieces and dressed with extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon juice, salt and pepper. Be sure to mince the stems and throw them into your salad along with the broken walnuts. Any little bits of veggie waste can go into compost.

ROOT VEGGIES & THE ENVIRONMENT.

Cooked white beans, roasted turnips, chopped & sauteed turnip greens, olive oil, white Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

I just learned this week that of all the veggies, root veggies are some of the easiest on environmental resources. Last week we received two kinds of turnips, white Hakurei turnips and red turnips. I cut mine up, coated them with extra virgin olive oil and roasted them, chopped and briefly sauteed the turnip greens with olive oil, garlic and seasonings, then mixed both with cooked white beans. With the addition of a little more olive oil, white Balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper, I had a lovely dish to eat warm or cold (as a salad).

RADISHES are also great roasted. They’re delicious as an unusual side dish or make a colorful addition to a roasted veggie platter.

One of my favorite things to do with turnips is to pickle them, Middle Eastern style.  Beets thrown into the pickling mixture give the beets their pink color, which deepens with more beets or longer pickling.  On the occasion pictured here from last summer, I enjoyed my pickled turnips with scrambled  tofu and greens — and beautiful tomatoes included in my box. Next time I make beet pickles, I’m going to try it without the vinegar, let them ferment to get that tangy flavor, which results in a denser population of probiotics.

PICKLED TURNIPS
Make a brine of 4 cups water, 1 cup vinegar and 3 TB kosher salt. Set aside. Wash a wide mouth glass jar. Prepare your pickling veggies, in this case turnips, by washing and cutting (peeling for older or larger turnips). Add sliced garlic if desired. Pack the veggies into the jar, and pour brine over the veggies until the jar is filled, stirring the brine as you work to be certain it stays evenly mixed. you may need a small dish held down by something with weight to keep the turnips under water. If you put your pickles directly into the refrigerator, it will take a couple of weeks for them to pickle. Alternatively, let them pickle on your kitchen counter for 2-5 days, and move to the refrigerator when they taste as you would like.

I love these spring and summer veggies!

If you’d like more information about the CSA, please visit Bob’s Fresh and Local (produce) and All Grass Farms (livestock, chickens, milk and cheese).

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Wrapping Up The Summer CSA Harvest

I haven’t been writing much these last weeks since the election…I was a little down but am back now, reenergized. I’m catching up past projects and forging new ones, including several recipes to go with our CSA boxes each week in the coming summer (yes, it will come eventually). For now, though, here are a couple of things I made during the last glorious week of sunshine and fresh veggies:

I enjoyed stir-fry greens and veggies almost daily in the last couple of weeks of the summer. This dish is banana peppers, onions and potatoes.
I enjoyed stir-fry greens and veggies almost daily in the last couple of weeks of the summer. This dish is banana peppers, onions and potatoes.
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Here’s a delicious corn and summer squash soup with jalapeno that I made. Just delightful! I’ll post the recipe at a later time.

 

Last but not least...after two years of thinking and experimenting, I decided to add occasional eggs back into our diet, and this is a wonderful plate of stir-fry greens, pan roasted sweet potatoes and scrambled eggs. My decision was based on my thoughts about interdependence, and when I was able to find someone who keeps their chickens (doesn't kill them after their two peak laying years), I decided I would make the pilgrimage out to get eggs periodically and would eat those. I wish I could raise my own! But this is good for now. More about this thought process later.
Last but not least…after two years of thinking and experimenting, I decided to add occasional eggs back into our diet, and this is a wonderful plate of stir-fry greens, pan roasted sweet potatoes and scrambled eggs. My decision was based on my thoughts about interdependence, and when I was able to find someone who keeps their chickens (doesn’t kill them after their two peak laying years), I decided I would make the pilgrimage out to get eggs periodically and would eat those. I wish I could raise my own! But this is good for now. More about this thought process later.

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Things I made with my CSA veggies this week

Oh, I love summer, and I love my CSA! My food tastes so much better when I work in the fields for it and contemplate what I want to do with all those gorgeous veggies! Here are a few items from this week:

Salad ... with my beautiful greens, tomato, cucumber, beets, green onion, avocado ... and always dressed with extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon, salt and sometimes freshly ground black pepper.
Salad … with my beautiful greens, tomato, cucumber, beets, green onion, avocado … and always dressed with extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon, salt and sometimes freshly ground black pepper.
This one was a delicious surprise. I made one of my favorite bean dishes, Navy Pea Beans with chopped red or green onions, lots of fresh dill, extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon, salt and a bit of hot paprika. This time I topped it off with squash – patty pan, zucchini, summer squash, roasted with olive oil, salt and smoked paprika.
Ratatouille Soup with chunks of eggplant, zucchini squash, patty pan squash, summer squash, onion, tomatoes, tomato paste, mixed greens, oregano, basil, salt and hot paprika.
Ratatouille Soup with chunks of eggplant, zucchini squash, patty pan squash, summer squash, onion, tomatoes, tomato paste, mixed greens, extra virgin olive oil, oregano, basil, salt and hot paprika.
One of our favorite dinners, varied by available veggies. A stew of tomatoes, onion, patty pan squash, zucchini, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, basil and oregano on a bed of edamame pasta (sometimes I use black bean pasta). I added some chopped greens on top this time but often add a lot of them into the stew.
One of our favorite dinners, varied by available veggies. A stew of tomatoes, onion, patty pan squash, zucchini, extra virgin olive oil, garlic, basil and oregano on a bed of edamame pasta (sometimes I use black bean pasta). I added some chopped greens on top this time but often add a lot of them into the stew.
Cabbage steaks. Yum.
Cabbage steaks with a little sauce. This one was a mustard sauce. Vegan pesto is good. Chipotle Just Mayo is good. Yum.

If you’d like more information about the CSA, please visit Bob’s Fresh and Local (produce) and All Grass Farms (livestock, chickens, milk and cheese).

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

CSA Veggies . . . Working My Way Through

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PATTY PAN SQUASH

Lots of patty pan squash this week, so I made up this salad of roasted patty pan, roasted peppers, red onion, grape tomatoes, cucumber and a little curly kale.

For the roasted veggies, I rubbed them in a bit of extra virgin olive oil, spread them on a pan and sprinkled with salt and smoked paprika (what an amazing aroma!).  When everything was finished and cooled, I mixed them with a tiny bit more extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon, salt and hot paprika. This is the result.

CORN ON THE COB

We also enjoyed some delicious corn and fresh tomatoes with basil. I posted the tomato earlier this week. I discovered a neat trick with the corn. My microwave died, and Meijer’s was out of the wonderful Chipotle Just Mayo from Hampton Creek, so I used Hampton’s Mayo and mixed in some of the amazing chipotle peppers dry seasoning I picked up. Then I cut the two ends off each piece of corn (in the husks) up to where the corn starts. I put those in a hot oven, about 550 degrees. When the husks were pretty well charred, the corn was done.

I pulled it out (used potholders for that as much as I could) and pulled off the husks with the silks. When the corn was still hot but cool enough for me to handle, I spread the chipotle mayo on it, and…well, oh my. It was really good!

CSA Veggie Yummies This Week

Hummus with radishes, kohlrabi, zucchini & red bell peppers.
Hummus with radishes, kohlrabi, zucchini & red bell peppers.

I had two social occasions last week so took Hummus with CSA veggies to one (greens, radishes, kohlrabi, zucchini and red bell peppers) and pasta salad to the other. This Hummus recipe, btw, is excellent. Be sure to check it out on this site.

For this pasta salad, I used (as always) whole wheat rotini, zucchini, tomatoes, chopped greens, Kalamata olives, capers, green onions, quartered artichoke hearts, extra virgin olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, hot paprika and salt to taste.

Pasta salad with CSA veggies.
Pasta salad with CSA veggies.

And then we enjoyed this wonderful Stir Fry for an at-home meal. I like to make a big bag of chopped greens for Fatoush early in the week when everything is beautifully fresh. I used some each day, and later in the week, I can start using what remains for a quick and easy stir fry. I also use up lots of greens — tops of radishes or kohlrabi in these dishes.

Stir Fry with Kohlrabi greens, Bok choy, green onions, radishes, lots of sliced onion, garlic, a bit of red bell pepper, sauteed tofu squares, brown Basmati rice, salt, hot paprika, extra virgin olive oil, a bit of soy sauce...mmm hmmm, can't beat that.
Stir Fry with Kohlrabi greens, Bok choy, green onions, radishes, lots of sliced onion, garlic, a bit of red bell pepper, sauteed tofu squares, brown Basmati rice, salt, hot paprika, extra virgin olive oil, a bit of soy sauce…mmm hmmm, can’t beat that.

Addendum: Ah – forgot all about this one. At the end of the week, I use up any leftover greens or other veggies in a soup. I used potatoes in this one as well and topped it off with quinoa, making it a nice, substantial dinner. This soup included a large onion, minced and sautéed in extra virgin olive oil with a little fresh minced garlic, about 4 cups of potatoes and 8-10 cups of chopped greens (I’m pretty sure the greens included kohlrabi tops as well as others), 6 cups of water and seasoning to taste. I typically use salt (2 tsp.), hot paprika (1/2 tsp.) and freshly squeezed lemon (1/4-1/2 cup or the juice of 1-2 lemons. And now I know what they mean by “pot liquor.” Mmmm…mmmm…good.

Soup with greens and quinoa.
Soup with greens and quinoa.

If you’d like more information about the CSA, please visit Bob’s Fresh and Local (produce) and All Grass Farms (livestock, chickens, milk and cheese).

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

More CSA treats: Kohlrabi

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I’ve never done much with kohlrabi before, so it took some experimenting, but I had a couple of good things this week. First, here’s how I made my Stuffed Kohlrabi:

Remove the stems from 3-4 kohlrabi and fully peel away the tough outer layers of them. Set aside the greens.

Using a coring tool, insert into the center of the peeled kohlrabi, but do not pierce through to the base. You will probably not be able to remove the plug. Insert again, slightly out more toward the edge, again careful not to pierce the base. Continue this process, circling around the original central plug. Then, using a small serrated knife, remove the plugs and scrape a little to make the central cavity fairly smooth. Reserve what you remove from the kohlrabi.

Oil and salt the kohlrabis inside and out. Add a tiny bit of extra virgin olive oil to the bottom of a Dutch oven, place the kohlrabis cavity side down and saute until slightly browned. Turn the kohlrabis over onto its base, turn down the heat, add a little water (2-4 TB), put the lid on the Dutch oven, turn down the flame, and cook until the kohlrabis are tender. Set aside until ready to assemble.

KOHLRABI FILLING

Ingredients

  • Kohlrabi – inside pulp of 3-4 kohlrabi
  • Bok choy – stems, petite diced; greens, chopped 1/4″ pieces
  • Brown Basmati rice, 1 cup dried
  • Salt, 1/2 tsp.
  • Oregano, 1-1/2 tsp.
  • Lemon Juice, 1/2 squeezed

Instructions

  1. Cook the rice until done.
  2. Chop the kohlrabi pulp, and add to a pan with a little extra virgin olive oil, and saute.
  3. Add the Bok Chop stems, petite diced, and saute briefly.
  4. Add the rice to a food processor, then the sauteed ingredients and seasonings.
  5. Pulse several times until the mixture is evenly mixed and chopped and looks like coarse grains.
  6. Add seasoning to taste (salt, a little hot paprika if desired)
  7. Use this mixture to fill the reserved kohlrabi.
  8. Add marinara to a dish, and place the stuffed kohlrabi on top of it. Add a little more marinara to the top, and a few garlic scapes for garnish.

Note: For a different flavor profile, try using my Matboukha for the sauce, and in the filling, replace oregano with za’atar (available in the Middle Eastern section of some stores).

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Now what to do with those tough kohlrabi greens? Read on…

(green_smoothie

The Bok choy greens are more tender than kohlrabi, so I used that for the Stuffed Kohlrabi filling, which doesn’t get much processing before it hits my teeth. Here’s what I did with the kohlrabi greens, though: I made my standard Greenie (green smoothie), and it was good! Even my non-green loving husband enjoyed it.

GREENIE (makes 2 16 oz. Greenies or more)

Ingredients

  • Ice cubes, 8-10
  • Apple juice, about 1/2 cup
  • Apple, 1/2 chunked
  • Banana, chunked
  • Pineapple, 6-8 chunks
  • 2-3 cups rough chopped kohlrabi (or any) greens*

Place the ice cubes in a Vitamix (a blender works almost as well). Add apple juice to 1 cup mark. Add apple chunks, banana chunks, pineapple chunks, and chopped greens. Process until smooth and delicious. More ice makes it thicker.

Note: Greens contain a natural toxin to prevent over-grazing and eradication of the plant. Just vary your greens — don’t use the same one all the time. Keep your fruits and other veggies light-colored so you’ll end up with an appetizing, bright green drink.

If you’d like more information about the CSA, please visit Bob’s Fresh and Local (produce) and All Grass Farms (livestock, chickens, milk and cheese).

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

One thing I love about my CSA

Stir fry of onion, Bok choy, radishes.
Stir fry of onion, Bok choy, radishes.

I love having a box of fresh veggies, many things that I don’t ordinarily get, then trying things out with them. Sometimes combinations surprise me! – like this Stir Fry of chopped onion, Bok choy stems, salad radishes (that’s the Julienne veggie) and Bok choy greens, added last. Add a bit of salt, a few drops of soy sauce if you wish, and oh, my, was it good!

Here’s a note about how I stir fry: I cut all the veggies first. I heat some extra virgin olive oil in a wok and often throw in a little minced garlic first. This time, I don’t believe I did. Then I add the onions, sauteeing until soft. Then I add the remaining “hard” veggies, most “hard” first, sauteeing for a few moments after each — reserving any greens. When the veggies start to brown a bit, I add a little salt and soy sauce, stir and cover if needed to steam the veggies for a couple of minutes.  Uncover and add the greens, stir together and sauté briefly until the greens are wilted, adjust seasoning, and serve.

I also made Fatoush with what I had on hand instead of the usual, and it, too, was delicious with a creamy vegan dressing:

FATOUSH

Ingredients

  • Mixed greens, any you have on hand or like. Bok choy and Butterhead Lettuce featured heavily in this one.
  • Garlic scapes
  • Green onion
  • Red cabbage (I usually use it but don’t see it here – must have forgotten)
  • Tomatoes – organic grape tomatoes, quartered
  • Radishes – organic, Julienne
  • Cucumbers – organic, sliced and quartered or Julienne
  • Pita – Whole wheat Lebanese pita, cut into squares and toasted
  • Sumac  to sprinkle

Ingredients for Sauce

  • Mayonnaise, 1 cup (I use Hampton Creek Just Mayo – vegan)
  • Tahina, 1/4 cup
  • Garlic, 1/2 – 1 clove mashed (opt.)
  • Salt, 1-2 tsp. (start with 1 tsp. for dressing, add additional to salad after mixed)
  • Hot paprika, 1/4 tsp.
  • Lemon, freshly squeezed, 1/4-1/2 cup, to taste (start with 1/4 cup for dressing, add additional to salad after mixed)

Procedure

  1. Prepare salad ingredients: slice greens 1/8-1/4″, then cut across into 2-3″ pieces. Quarter grape tomatoes or petite dice plum tomatoes. Julienne cucumbers and radishes.
  2. Stack the pita pieces, cut through them lattice-work style so you end up with 1-2″ squares, roast in a 200 degree oven until crunchy, cool thoroughly and set aside or bag for later use. I like to use whole wheat Lebanese pita, available through a local Arab bakery. Lebanese pita is larger than pocket pita and thinner. Makes a great “crouton.” Stored properly, they keep for a long time once toasted and thoroughly dry.
  3. Make the dressing. For a vegan salad, use a vegan mayo. Your dressing should taste salty and lemony because by the time you add it to the salad with its moisture, it will lose some potency. I start a bit lighter on the seasoning, then add the remainder if needed when the salad is made up. You don’t need to use all the dressing at once — if you have leftover, just store in a covered jar.
  4. Put all salad ingredients into a bowl. Add toasted pita so you have 2 parts salad to 1 part pita. Add some dressing and a pinch or two of sumac (available in Middle Eastern stores and online), and mix gently but completely. Add more or less dressing to your liking.
  5. Sprinkle additional sumac over the salad and serve.

If you’d like more information about the CSA, please visit Bob’s Fresh and Local (produce) and All Grass Farms (livestock, chickens, milk and cheese).

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Eating joyfully

First box from the CSA: Bok choy, Chard, Kale, Spinach, Boston Lettuce, Radishes, Carrots, Mint.
First box from the CSA: Bok choy, Chard, Kale, Spinach, Boston Lettuce, Radishes, Carrots, Mint.

I picked up my first box from the CSA today. It was filled with Bok choy, chard, kale, spinach, Boston lettuce, red and white radishes, carrots and even a bunch of mint for my Tea with Nana!

I have plans for things to make with these wonderful veggies this week, but it was lunch time, and I really, really, really wanted something right away, so I made up this amazingly fresh little salad. It made my heart feel good to sit on the deck in back eating it on this beautiful day. I’m thinking I might use some of the Bok choy tonight in Miso soup…

Boston lettuce, spinach, radishes and carrot with extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon, salt.
I enjoyed this beautiful salad of Boston lettuce, spinach, radishes and carrot with extra virgin olive oil, freshly squeezed lemon, salt.

If you’d like more information about the CSA, please visit Bob’s Fresh and Local (produce) and All Grass Farms (livestock, chickens, milk and cheese).

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.

Another Wonderful Day with My CSA

As we worked in muddy fields with the temperature in the 90s, high humidity and burning sun, we all agreed it would be a good thing if every person in the country spent time participating in agriculture to gain an appreciation for what ends up on their tables!

Good thing I wore those 40 year old boots of mine! They worked pretty well for walking through the deep mud in the fields from the heavy rains the night before.

I also wore a safari hat and big glasses to protect the skin on my face, especially my nose, which, after many childhood burns reacts unhappily to sun now. That much foresight I had! Unfortunately I didn’t plan as carefully for my backside as I bent over, planting rows of squash and melons. Now I have to wear padding inside the waistband for my jeans.

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The biggest problem I had, though, was that I wasn’t quite prepared for dehydration. I’m just not a big liquid drinker, but I did bring lemon water, and I tried to push liquids. I don’t usually suffer from heat, and my endurance is very good for a 67-year-old woman, but the liquid thing got to me.

For a couple of hours of planting and hauling, I was just fine. Then I started to get dizzy when I stood up from putting a plant in the ground, then nausea set in, a little more forgetfulness than usual, then an accelerated heart rate (I have no heart issues whatsoever). Much to my surprise, since I’m one of those people who can’t go long without a bathroom, I didn’t need to visit the facility in the barn all morning. Well, now I know, and I plan to work harder at the water thing going forward.

Still, I learned a lot. In addition to learning about how important it is to stay well-hydrated whether I’m thirsty or not, I learned about how to work with certain kinds of plant containers. I always planted from seeds, not plants, when I had my organic garden in the country so many years ago. Yesterday we were planting from plants. The plants in several trays were in plastic containers instead of those dissolving cups. I had some difficulty getting the plants out and tapped a few, which disrupted the roots. Bob showed me how to squeeze them, popping the plants right out, intact.

I learned about Kevlar, “the amazing super-strong bulletproof material made by DuPont.” Bob loaned me a pair of gloves with the palms in Kevlar so that I could pull thistles from the rows that had been planted the week or two before. Although I pulled a lot of thistles, not one little pin stayed behind to aggravate my skin. I guess that makes them not only bulletproof but thistleproof.

I also learned what the underside of a flat-bed looks like when I crawled under it for a little shade when I started feeling woozy.

In addition to Bob, the owner/operator of the CSA, I met some wonderful people and learned about them and how and why they came to work the fields with me that day. Matt is there full-time over the summer, and wow, does he work hard! A university student, he wanted a break from studies to be outdoors and active. I remember wishing the same thing a number of years ago when I left a tech job, and I ended up with a food truck. Careful what you wish for! And I met Anna, a beautiful young woman, a wedding photographer and like me, a health and sustainability enthusiast.

Week by week, I’m watching the progress, the organization, the methods for operating a large organic spread. And week by week, I’m more and more impressed with what I see.

There was lots of growth between last week when I was there and this week. I’m so excited about watching as fields get plowed and plants go in.

This week, there was more to enjoy — pigs in an area where I was hosing down some crates. They were fenced in an area under trees, a mud pit, and wow, were they happy!! They were having such a great time, but as I walked over, they all quit what they were doing rolling around in the mud and came over to say “hi.” They clearly wanted some petting!

We’re just getting underway with food, so I wasn’t able to take a crate yesterday but am going back tomorrow to pick up my first one. I know there will be lettuce and bok choy but not sure what else yet.

Now comes another fun part, figuring out what to do with all of it. Lots of salads and stir fry, for sure, but I’m not sure what else yet. Forty years ago when I had my organic garden, I bought a book called, Too Many Tomatoes. I don’t remember that it had a chapter on bok choy, not yet in vogue, but nowadays I have Pinterest!

So Another Wonderful Day with My CSA. As I said to Bob, I hope I’m still doing this when I’m 85, and there’s only one way to get from here to there, and that’s to do it. And he said to me, “So we’re doing you a favor…” Yup. A very big favor, giving me a chance to connect with all that sustains us in such a meaningful way.

If you’d like more information about the CSA, please visit Bob’s Fresh and Local (produce) and All Grass Farms (livestock, chickens, milk and cheese).

For more, visit my blog, vegetatingwithleslie.org, “Like” me on FaceBook/Vegetating with Leslie or follow me on Twitter, @vegwithleslie.