Category Archives: MY CSA Experience

6/17/14 CSA SHARE: What I got in my new Corbin Hill Food Project CSA Share

POST #1015
I honestly did not know what to expect from Corbin Hill Food Project, my new CSA. I had, correctly, guessed that the distribution would be held in the Community Food Pantry space, but, beyond that, it was anybody’s guess how it would go.

I’d say they are pretty well-organized: going into the building, you have to pass a fierce woman at the desk (she is a food pantry employee, probably used to people trying to do things the wrong way, and she was probably working extra hours that she didn’t want), and be checked off. Then you go downstairs right away (no waiting whatsoever), where you are greeted by greeters, one of whom checks off your name again – she did explain to me that the sign over the peas said 1 and that meant I could take 1 (I felt I was pretty clever to have figured that out moments before she told me — they seem to trust members, to just take their allotment).

There is  a trade box, where you can put something you don’t want in and take something you do want, if you see it there, but, the way the distribution is arranged, I would imagine that most people don’t take anything from the bin if they don’t want it, i.e., they just leave it in the bin (I did find a small bunch of oregano in the share box, to trade my lettuce for, and they let me trade it for a larger bunch from the bin).

At the end of the circuit, there was a nice lady who was preparing rhubarb chutney, and we chatted for a while, while she chopped vegetables and stirred them in the electric frying pan she had there.

So… what we got was pretty much what they had said, except that there were garlic scapes in place of the parsnips. I like parsnips, but I do like garlic scapes quite a bit, so I was not really disappointed.

Here is what we got in the VEGETABLE SHARE:
1 bun Oregano
1 big head Lettuce
2 bun Spinach
1 bun Kale
1 bag Sugar SnapPeas
1 med Kohlrabi
1 bun Garlic Scapes
1 bun Rhubarb (6 2ft long stalks!)

I also got a fruit share, which consisted of a 1 lb box of large, fragrant strawberries, and another bunch of rhubarb! ( I guess I will have to chase down some rhubarb recipes, what with all this rhubarb)

Later, I will post the recipes I plan to prepare with this bounty (actually, I mean to go to the Food Pantry tomorrow afternoon (I am curious as to whether the CHFP CSA donates shares not picked up to the Food Pantry). With luck, I may get some more vegetables to add to the proverbial pot.



I’m excited. Tomorrow I will pick up my first CSA share from Corbin Hill Food Project. This CSA is completely new to me, so I don’t know exactly how they will do, so I am going to make an effort to be there when they open up at 4:30 (shares can be picked up between 4:30 and 7:00).  Will there be a mob scene at the door at 4:30?  Who knows.  I will get there about 3:30, to get in line for the Supper Club, and then, if it looks like there’s going to be a mob scene for the CSA pick-up, I’ll just put everything from the Supper Club in containers to bring home . I’ll report back with my experience tomorrow night.

HERE IS WHAT THEY SAY WE WILL GET (for a number of years, I was a member of a CSA related to Golden Earthworm Farms. Often they would say were going to get something, but we didn’t, so, out of habit, I’m saying what they said, and I’ll report back tomorrow with the true “get”)

Peas (English or sugar snap)
Radishes, Kohlrabi, or Zucchini


I have signed up for a “medium” share, but I’m going to try to see what the “large” share looks like.

Tomorrow, when I get back with my booty, I’ll let you know  what this CSA is really like


The history of Pretty Smart Raw Food Ideas is directly tied to my first venture into CSAs.  Some years back, I saw an announcement for a CSA a couple of blocks from my home, and I signed up right away.  As CSAs often deliver vegetables folks have never seen before, I began to hear people asking what they should do with what they had received in the box.    Me? Being raw, I just went on-line, found out about the vegetable in question, and then started experimenting.  People started asking me for recipes.  I asked the CSA if we couldn’t have a way to publish recipes for the benefit of the members. They poo-poo’d my idea.  My blog was born the next day, with raw recipes for the vegetables I found in my box. 

Now, I have found  a CSA which allows you to casually  join whenever you find out about it, and allows you to pay by the week.  (I have had to leave that first CSA because they require an up front payment which I could not manage).  I’m telling you this because, if you have thought about a CSA, but didn’t sign up for one in the spring (most CSAs require you to sign up before May), there is a CSA that you can still join.

Corbin Hill Food Project is a CSA that works with local farmers to provide low cost organic vegetables and fruit (and other products, as add-ons), mostly in low-income neighborhoods (that doesn’t mean that you can’t join if you are not low-income – it just means that you might have to travel a bit).  The beauty of this CSA is that you can sign up at any time during CSA season (summer to fall), and, if, for any reason, you cannot receive your share the next week (for example: you will be away, or you can’t afford it), you can put your share on hold, simply by notifying them a week in advance.  If you are interested, please visit Corbin Hill Food Project to find the most convenient location for you to receive your share (I’ll be going to the Community Kitchen and Food Pantry on 116th St in Harlem – it’s familiar to me, and I want to support its programs, and, also, the commute there and back home is reasonable, even if it is not right near my home – heck! Fairway, Costco, and Trader Joe’s involve commutes so it is not really that big of a deal). 

The first deliveries are June 18th and June 19th (depending on your chosen location – I’m set to receive my share on Tuesday, the 18th), and the last day to sign up for that week is June 10th. 

Just saying.

12/05/13 CSA SHARE: What they said we would get and what we got

This is our last share of the year.
Here is what they said we would get, and what we got, and what I took away:

Green Cabbage -1 hd      3 sm head of some kind of curly cabbage
Potatoes – 2 lbs.              traded for watermelon radishes
Red Beets – 2 lbs             watermelon radishes
2 lbs Red Kale –               2 bun. kale
Sweet Potatoes – 2 lbs.  1 pointy cauliflower relative
Leeks – 1 bunch              1 bag  “mash” which is green leaves
Carrots- 2 lbs.                 1 small bun carrots
Broccoli – 3 heads          traded for 1 bun. kale

I trade fast and furious. Still, I stay within the guidelines. I trade one for one. If I want to take one out of the trade box, I put one in. Sometimes, then, if someone puts something in that I want more, I will put one back and take that one.

Tonight, people left a lot of carrot tops, and I took those without trade. The carrot tops would have gone in the compost, but I can make them into green powder, so I grabbed 3 bunches of carrot tops. That doesn’t count as trade, I don’t think, but it did look like I was taking a lot.

I am kind of sad, as this might be my last share with this CSA.  If I cannot find a way to pay them the $200 that I owe for this last season (which they were kind enough to “front me”), they probably won’ t allow me to participate in the next season next year.  For some reason, for the last two years, although I am financially inhibited, I haven’t seemed to be able to qualify for for their discounted shares (must be too white or something) I am grateful that they have been willing to wait for me to pay, and I am going to do my best to pay for the rest of this past year’s share as soon as I can.

11/21/13 SHARE: What they said and what we got and what I’ll do with it

This is what we got, and what I took home (red is what we didn’t get, or what I traded. Green is what I went home with).

Savoy Cabbage – 1 head Got hd regular cabbage
Bok Choi – 1 piece Got 6 rutabagas
Toscano Kale – 1 bunch  
Watermelon Radish – 2.5 lb. Got 1 hd cabbage
Russet Potatoes – 1 quart Traded for 1 hd cabbage
Carrots – 1 bunch  
Broccoli – 2 heads Traded for 1 hd cabbage
Mache – .25 lb bag Got 1 bun. leeks
Additional Item – Lettuce or Radicchio Got 1 hd cauliflower

I ended up going home with 4 fairly large heads of cabbage, 6 medium-size rutabagas, 1 bunch of kale, 1 good bunch of carrots, and a medium-size head of cauliflower.

This was also the week for cranberries, so I got 5 lbs of fresh cranberries.

With all this wonderful cabbage, I know I am going to start some sauerkraut tomorrow night.

I’m going to a friend’s house on Wednesday afternoon and we are going to make some Thanksgiving foods because she is invited to someone’s Thanksgiving and needs to bring along something.  I’ll take her one of the jars of sauerkraut because she is a good friend.  I will also take along maybe 4 C of the cranberries, so we can make a raw cranberry sauce for her to take with her on Thanksgiving. I’ll also teach her to make marinated massaged kale or collards (whichever she buys)

09/05/13 CSA SHARE: What we got & what I took away

Oh gosh! it was a good day! I got there first, and the share box was free for grabs (the sign says: put one in, take one out, and that is what I have always done)

What we got and what I traded for:
Green Beans- .5 lb bag
Butternut Squash- 1 pc
Zucchini- 2 pcs
Parsley- 1 bun                           traded for a squash
Lettuce Mix- .5 lb bag            traded for tomatoes
Long Green Peppers- 2 pcs  traded for green beans
Tomatoes- 4 lb. bag

So, I came away with a bunch of tomatoes, two small butternut squashes, and a lb of green beans all for fermenting.
I will probably make something with the  zucchini and and the fermented salsa from the tomatoes I got last week.  I might well make a small zucchini ferment, as well.
The green beans are destined for a ferment.

When I get to the ferments, I will post the recipes. What else I do, I’ll let you know.

09/05/13 CSA SHARE: What they say we will get & Salsa update

POST #970
What the CSA says we will get on Thursday:
Green Beans- .5 lb bag
Butternut Squash- 1 piece
Zucchini- 2 pieces
Parsley- 1 bunch
Lettuce Mix- .5 lb bag
Long Green Peppers- 2 pieces
Tomatoes- 4 lb. bag

No matter how early I go over there, it seems that they have always started earlier. So I intend to go earlier yet this week.

Depending on the size of that squash, I’m thinking fermented squash salsa (of course, if it is tiny, that’s a no)
For the zucchini, I’m thinking of making a zucchini tomato ferment. If it’s big, then I might do zucchini sticks with tomato/garlic/onion salsa mix, but if it’s small, I might just cut it into chunks and put it with the salsa.

BTW, I opened one of the tomato salsa jars I put up on Saturday night – yumm!  I decided to see what would happen if I left it longer, so I’ll probably open the other one this weekend. 

(my finger is still attached and I am actually typing with it. I think I will change the bandage I’ve had on it since Sunday morning tomorrow. I hope it won’t look too scary).

8/29/13 CSA SHARE- what we got and what I am going to do with it

POST #967
Without my blog, yesterday seems so long ago! I mean it! I’m so happy to be back on-line!

Yellow Potatoes – 1 qt
Scallions – 1 bun
Green Bell Peppers – 2 pcs
Garlic – 1 pc
Tomatoes – 6 lbs
Zucchini – 2 pcs

Somehow, I came away with 3 bunches of scallions and 3 pcs of garlic, and a thing of chard (what do you call a “thing of chard”? Thank heavens for the word “thing”)

I chatted with some interesting ladies at the share distribution (one on the volunteer side of the table, and the other right up next to me, bagging her boxed goodies (I gave her one of my Ziploc bags) Promised to send them some fermenting recipes (should I start a mailing list on these things? I’ll have to look into that!) I expect this weekend is going to be about fermenting – I have some cabbage, all those tomatoes, and, I hope some of last week’s cucumbers have survived)

I decided to keep the potatoes. All of the raw food “experts” are now saying that they are actually eating cooked food. I haven’t done that in a long while (I had the power company cut off the gas a good while back, when the last room-mate left, because I haven’t cooked food in 30 years or so). I do have a rice cooker , a coffee-maker, and a microwave, left by a former room-mate, so I am going to experiment with cooking the potatoes and making a real potato salad (with such raw entries as onions and bell pepper). We’ll see how that goes. (We’re talking: I’m dirt poor right now, and I live off what comes in the box, so, at least, this week, I am going to bend and see what all the hoopla of going off 100% raw is about — okay, folks! I’ve been telling you I am 95% raw, even though I have been 100% raw – this is where that comes in! I am finally going to do something you can point at). I’ll let you know how that goes (I’m feeling kind of sheepish. I mean, how do you cook potatoes without boiling or baking them? I guess I can find the info on the Internet somewhere. Somewhere somebody has put information about how to get boiled-like potatoes in a microwave or a rice cooker — if you know, I’d be grateful if you’d tell me – I’m thinking rice cooker)

So, anyway – I’m going to make a fermented salsa with most, if not all, of the tomatoes. Ferments last longer, and I can combine a fermented salsa with all sorts of things. I am probably going to take one tomato and make a fresh “pasta” with one of the zucchini.

An aside – I am kind of bummed that I won’t be able to go to the September meet-up of “NYC Ferments” – they are doing “fermented fruit” this time, and I was planning to take a fermented squash salsa  (check it out on, because I have work that night (yea, work! helps pay the rent)

Stay tuned! I’m back! Yea! (thank you WordPress, and thank you, Lord!)

08/15/13 CSA SHARE: What they said and what we got

What they said and what we got:

Yellow Baby Watermelon –      1 pc 2 tiny baby watermelons
Potatoes OR Green Beans –       1 qt or 1/2 lb. bag green beans
Cucumbers – 5 pcs                      8 cucumbers
Baby Leeks – 1 bun                      1 sm. bun leeks
Red Beets – 1 bun                         X
Tomato – 1 pc                               2 tomatoes, 1 big one, one small one

I kept almost everything this time. After a glance into the “trade box”, since most people had discarded their cucumbers, I decided to trade in my small bunch of leeks for 8 big cucumbers – I can make a couple of my favorite cucumber dishes and also ferment a couple of jars worth.

I was disappointed to not get the beets, as I was looking forward to some beet salad this week. Oh well.
Glad to have the green beans, because I can experiment with my green bean gadget recommended by Raw Nouveau. (I’ll let you know that goes)

All in all — YUMM! Good food to eat this week!

06/27/13 CSA SHARE: What we got, what I will do with it, and miscellaneous comments

Here is what we got:
Fennel – 1 bun
Parsley – 1 bun
Red Romaine Lettuce – 1 hd
Green Boston Lettuce – 1 hd traded for kale
Toscano Kale – 1 bun
Baby Carrots – 1 bun
Garlic Scapes – 1 bun

I was kind of surprised because, when I went to trade two things from my box, I was told that there was a rule that each person could only trade one thing for one other thing. That was new to me – I’ve been a member of the CSA from the first year, and the rule has always been you put one thing in and you take one thing out, no limits. So…. I could not trade the lettuce *and* the romaine, and, once I had decided to trade the lettuce, I had to decide between taking the kale or the garlic scapes. I think that new plan is just plain mean, but I am not the people who are running the CSA, and they are they people who get to make the rules as they see fit. I do think that the rules should be published for all to know about, and I will post this thought on the CSA Facebook page (in case anybody watches that or cares what people think)
What will I do with all this?
I got about 4 fennel things (pieces? Fennel bulbs with stalks with some frilly leaf-like things), 1 little bunch of parsley, 1 hd of romaine, 2 bunches of kale, 1 bunch of carrots with greens, and 1 bunch of about 5 garlic scapes.
In addition, they let me take the carrot greens that some people had put into the compost pot.
I’m going to look into fermenting fennel – If I can’t find something interesting, then I’ll just chop it up and find a way to eat it with other vegetables (will let you know)
I will make dill garlic fermented carrots
The kale will go to kale chips – will describe the recipe once I decide
I will chop up the garlic scapes and use them as garlic for something.—maybe the fermented carrots (will let you know)
If I cannot bring myself to eat the romaine, I will dehydrate it along with the carrot greens and add it to my supergreen powder (I’ll let you know)
Things are tight here, right now. The CSA is about the only source of food I have, with my reduction in work hours. I am down about 20 lbs (down to 120 lbs @ 5’9”) living on what I get from the CSA, and what I can manage after my rent and utilities. So, I am svelte (and I do like the way clothes look on me), but wondering where I will go from here. (I’ll let you know more when I know more.)