Lucky Dip Produce Project: Week 1

Last Saturday we picked up our first Cropthorne Farm CSA share at the opening of this season’s Winter Market. What did we get?

  • multicoloured carrots
  • a massive (3 lb. 8 oz./1.6 kg!!) kohlrabi
  • shallots
  • sugar loaf radicchio
  • rainbow chard
  • chioggia beets
  • fennel

And because we are total impulse market shoppers, we also purchased some other goodies:

  • parsnips
  • Brussels sprouts on the stem
  • shiitake mushrooms
  • butternut squash
  • mixed coloured potatoes
  • more carrots
  • mixed apples
  • pears
  • quinces
  • honey

Cropthorne Winter 2014 Week 1That’s a whole lotta veggies! I’m excited to get cooking!

Lucky Dip Produce Project

It’s been a long time since I’ve been here and it has only solidified the fact that I just don’t have writing stick-to-it. I’ve seen myself notoriously start and stop on far too many of these kind of projects. It seems that if I don’t have a reason to blog, I just won’t.

Not only am I notorious for dropping the blogging ball, I’m embarrassed to say that I am also notorious for letting produce sit in the fridge and rot. I will buy, pick or receive vegetables, lose track of them and when I dig them out of the depths of the fridge, they’re too far gone to salvage and eat.

So this poses a challenge for the next while. We have signed up for a weekly winter CSA through Cropthorne Farm in Delta, BC. We participated in the farm’s CSA’s last winter and summer and we split the share so we received produce every other week. This season we’re taking on the whole share and we’ll be receiving a lucky dip of produce every week for 8 weeks. This is going to be quite the commitment because it’s a substantial amount of veggies and we usually end up buying others that are appealing.

So I’m going to tackle these two notorious traits (haha…I’m notorious for many more things, but here’s not the place to discuss them): I’m going to embark on an 8-week project where I’ll write about our winter CSA adventures. I’ll include what we receive, what I’ve done with the produce, recipes, impressions and hopefully, many other tasty morsels.

What am I trying to get out of this? I hope that the Lucky Dip Produce Project will inspire me to:

  • use up all my produce before it goes bad
  • share new and interesting recipes and resources
  • commit to blogging for 8 weeks

I’ll also get to expand my repertoire of vegetable cookery, have a dialogue with you about eating seasonally, eat more vegetables and feel good about decreasing wastage. And if I should get myself motivated to blog on a regular basis on the long term, I will be the more pleased.

That sounds like a delicious reason to blog.






“I don’t like salmon.”

“I don’t like salmon.” 

I look up from the book I am reading and glare across the table at Roland. “What do you mean you don’t like salmon?”

“I don’t like it. It’s flavourless. It’s dry. I only like canned salmon.”

For a moment I thought I had fallen in love with the wrong man. Almost the same sinking feeling I had when, once upon a time, I was in a long-term relationship with a guy that didn’t like garlic.

“Oh, you just haven’t had GOOD salmon cooked PROPERLY,” I remedied.
 How could a fish eater not love salmon? It bursts with flavour (compared to mild white fish like sole or cod). It’s tender and moist (when you don’t overcook it). It’s sustainable and local and exceedingly healthy. The best way to turn things around was to cook it often and cook it well.

Over the years, I’ve cooked salmon in countless ways: steamed, grilled, roasted, poached, chowdered, in fishcakes. With and without sauce. Hot and cold. You name it. I’ve managed to wear Roland down and his appreciation for salmon has increased considerably.

You can imagine my surprise when one drizzly, early Spring morning at the Farmers Market, he handed me a brochure. “I think we should join.” It was for a community supported fishery for local, wild salmon.

“I thought you didn’t like salmon!” I blurted aghast.

“Well, I don’t like it much but this is such a good idea. I guess I could learn to like salmon more.”

A good idea indeed. Community supported agriculture is based on a model where farmers or food producers are paid at the beginning of a season so that they can invest the money into their food production, whether it’s for their farm or in this case, to outfit a fisherman’s boat and equipment. This guarantees some income security and that they are paid fairly for their food. What share members get is an entire season of fresh, local, sustainable food and knowledge of exactly how and where their food is produced or procured. A win-win situation for producers and consumers.

We took the brochure home, thought about it for a day and hardly hesitated to sign up. I had been wanting to include more fish in our diet, especially a fatty fish like salmon that includes high amounts of brain and heart healthy omega-3’s. What often held me back from buying more fish, though, was not knowing exactly where and how it was caught. Now I would know that ethically, this salmon would be caught sustainably and would not deplete delicate fish stocks.

When we got our first e-mail that the boat was going out and we’d soon be getting our first salmon of the season, we paced and anticipated as though we were waiting for the birth of a baby. When our pick up day finally rolled around we piled into the car and hurried to the dock. We beamed as we picked out our first CSF sockeye. The boy posed with the gleaming fish more than half his height. I posed with my lips ready and puckered to kiss the fish. We were ecstatic to support a fisherman who is doing his best to make a living by fishing sustainably to feed others.

We rushed home to quickly cut the salmon into steaks and steep it in a gingery, sweet, savoury marinade before gently grilling it. We sat down to a memorable, delicious dinner knowing that all in the food chain was well.

“I like salmon now. Really, I do.”

Spicy Glazed Salmon
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger, about a 1″ cube
1 clove garlic, minced or grated
1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
1 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce
2 teaspoons chipotle in adobo sauce, minced
1 lb. salmon steaks or fillets

In a shallow dish, combine ginger, garlic, honey or maple syrup, soy sauce and chipotle. Stir well to combine.
Coat salmon pieces with marinade and let rest in refrigerator for 30 minutes or up to 2 hours.
Grill salmon over medium-high heat until done to your liking, about 4 minutes each side. Alternatively, roast the salmon in a preheated 450 degree F oven for 10 minutes for every inch of fish.

Makes 4 servings