Survey: What do you get in your CSA basket?


I am very happy to be eating again.

I am also pretty thankful that my CSA has taken me back.

During the summer months, I looked forward to each and every Thursday, which was the day when I could pick up my box of local organic vegetables. I never knew what I would be eating over the coming 7 days and I always anticipated the upcoming bounty. I discovered vegetables that I had never eaten, and some that I wouldn’t have ever considered buying in the store – celeriac and sun chokes are two good examples. When autumn rolled around, I balked at signing up for the winter box because I couldn’t imagine a whole winter of only eating root vegetables – I figured I could get those anywhere. I wasn’t thinking clearly, and have spent the last couple of months pouting over my bad decision.

Meanwhile. my freezer has been undergoing a slow depletion of the foods that I had prepared and frozen during the summer months, back when I could barely keep up with the all the vegetables coming through my front door. I had used both my CSA produce and what I grown in my garden to make soups, stews, turkey pot pies, and a slew of other healthy and delicious meals, not to mention the vegetables that I had parboiled and threw into the freezer ‘au naturel’. Now, after fasting for several days, reading the first part of The Omnivore’s Dilemma, and even further scrutinizing the quality of foods available in Montreal stores, I decided to see if I could get some CSA winter produce.

I emailed my CSA farm (isn’t the internet amazing? I emailed a farm!) and sure enough, there was a spot for me. The farm only comes into the city every two weeks in the winter, so there were only 4 pickups left. I waited until the allotted pick-up time and sauntered over to the secret pick-up spot to see what I would be getting.

As you can see by the photo at the top of this post, there were:

* potatoes
* beets
* rutabagas
* celeriac
* unidentified sprouts
* onions
* carrots
* endives

I was overjoyed! Well, actually, it took a while before I was “overjoyed.” At first glance, and even at second glance, my basket resembled what I imagined a prison CSA basket would look like in California, assuming that west coast correctional facilities have gone “locavore”. After three or maybe half-a-dozen more glances, I realized that I live in Montreal with the igloos and the skidoos, and I should be happy that I have enough food to eat and not complain about my dull northern bounty.

These root vegetables, which were harvested weeks ago and then stored (with the exception of the sprouts) would definitely feed Noshette and I for at least two weeks. I immediately made a good, pure root vegetable soup which turned out a little thin. We drank from the broth to help break our fasts and ate the veggies with some brown rice. I had made more than we needed so some went straight to the freezer for later use.

A couple of days later I dug into the freezer and pulled out a container of squash soup from the summer which was a little on the thick side and a container of the new and considerably thinner vegetable soup, and proceeded to mix the two together. They married and formed a beautiful new kind of soup, which I will call Squash-Root Soup.

Here is the BEFORE shot and the AFTER shot:


r-040b.gifFor lunch I had a bowl of this new Squash-Root soup and a salad made from my new local, organic, winter vegetable bounty: endive, sprouts, grated carrot, and some marinated tofu and leftover rice thrown in for a touch of class. I can’t wait to see what we’ll get in our next basket, and I’ll be happy even if it is mostly the same stuff again. I’ll just have to dig through my cookbook collection and find some new recipes.

I’d like to see a snapshot of what people are getting in their CSA baskets in other cities and towns. If you currently receive a CSA basket, please leave a comment with a list of where you are living and what was in your basket this week. Let’s see how jealous I can get…

12 Responsesto “Survey: What do you get in your CSA basket?”

  1. Aaron says:

    I used to belong to a CSA in Massachusetts which I loved, but I recently moved to Edinburgh, Scotland. I was very sad about leaving my CSA behind. I don’t belong to one now, but there is a bright side – there is a weekly farmers’ market here held right in the shadow of beautiful and imposing Edinburgh Castle. And the best part is, there’s lots of great local and organic stuff to get. My weekly haul typically includes:
    muesli, wheat, and oats all grown and ground locally
    broccoli rabe
    salad greens

    I’ve also gotten some things here I’ve never had before, including romanesco, scorzonera, and sun chokes.

  2. Rajae says:

    We live in the Washington, DC area (in northern Virginia) and belong to this amazing CSA – all the produce is local and organic. We pick up our delivery every Thursday, and usually get Mesclun salad, one kind of root vegetables (all sorts of sweet potatoes, or different kind of turnips), a few kinds of greens (Pac Choi, mustard greens, kale, arugula etc.), and eggs. And if the weather has been bad (as happened these past two weeks), we’ll get some sort of treat (smoked pasta sauce, apple butter) instead of greens.

    Otherwise, we head to the farmer’s market every Saturday during the winter to get butter, apples and pears, and honey.

  3. edenz says:

    We live in south-eastern PA, and unfortunately our CSA doesn’t have a winter share – yet. This year they were experimenting and have had several winter ‘markets’ at the farm – we usually get mesclun, mustard, carrots, turnips, eggs and sausage. They also have beets, but we’re not really fans of those and still have plenty in the freezer.

  4. Sara says:

    I’m so jealous: the only winter CSA near Lansing, MI (to the best of my knowledge anyway) has a mile long waiting list. I’m on said waiting list now, but I don’t imagine I’ll be getting any fresh winter veggies for another couple of years. Thankfully, my boss has a share, and she gives me produce she doesn’t want: this week it was three little rutabagas and a beautiful cabbage. Not bad for free local food.

  5. Alison says:

    I am looking into CSAs in Montreal. What farm are you with?

  6. Tiffany says:

    The wait list for CSAs in my area is also quite long..of course we get all kinds of veggies in our basketes since we are in warm Arizona. Our winter CSA food is usually better then the summer stuff :)

  7. Nosher of the North says:

    I don’t feel so bad now.
    Probably because there seem to be no west coast of southern CSA lists. Where are the Clifronians with 8 types of tomatoes and broccoli and peppers . . .?

    I am with La Ferme Cadet Roussel, but to be honest I only picked that farm because their drop-off spot was closest to my home. I used the Equiterre website to access the list of CSA farms and after seeing that almost all of them have great products available, I picked the closest one.

  8. Willa says:

    Oh, this made me miss my CSA! Ours here in S. Central PA was over in mid-November, and won’t be starting back up for 2 years. The farmers were leasing the farm, and had to move. So I’m putting in an extra large garden next year, and starting the search for a new CSA. I tell you, though Rajae has me wanting to make the drive to DC!

  9. lorien says:

    My family belongs to Be Wise Ranch in San Diego and we are spoiled by year-round goodies. Last week we got:
    strawberries (a quart!)
    bok choi
    leaf and romaine lettuce
    navel and juicing oranges
    and I’m sure a few other things that are long digested and making my daughter healthy and strong!
    We just arrived and are spending a few months in the UK and will miss the CSA but looking forward to checking out the farmer’s market (though not in the shadow of a castle in Scotland, I’m jealous).

  10. Al says:

    I’ve just started using Toronto’s Food-Share ‘Good Food Box’ service. A photo and detailed list of the mid-February large $32 organics box I received is posted on my Torontovore blog at

  11. Nosher of the North says:

    I am completely jealous of lorien!

    Al – That is an interesting way of doing it. We haven’t got anything like that in Montreal. If you want to buy imported organic broccoli, you’ve got to go to the health food shop, although some regular grocers now carry some organics, but at very high prices.

    Our CSA’s treat this week was dried beans. I dream of tomatoes…

  12. paul says:

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