Semi-Rural Means Semi-Farming: The Joy of a CSA Share
Weston is often described as semi-rural, and with that comes being surrounded by small farms and individual chicken farmers. Also goats. Every year since CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) was explained to this Weston-immigrant, the Owl family has signed up for a spring, summer and sometimes fall share with one of the local farms. I say “sometimes” fall because the year of the 4000000000 pounds of tomatoes in the fall Drumlin share somewhat scarred that joy. Yes, you can make sauce, I know I know, but finally, finally, your canning and freezing routine gets old.
This year, our share comes from Hannan Healthy Foods in the former Blue Heron space on 117 in Lincoln (across from Old Sudbury Road). We met farmer Mohammed Hannan a year ago, and somewhat fell in love with the variety and uniqueness of the vegetables and leafy stuff the farm grows. Last summer no CSA was offered, but an Owlet and I stopped by and bought mixed greens and amaranth and all kinds of things that Mohammed explained how to cook. The amaranth shrimp dish we made was amazing–and based on instructions about how his Bangladeshi mother used to make it.
You can see a list and photos of what they grow here. The farm is certified organic.
Now, you can do what we did last year and buy your items “piecemeal” or you can sign up for a CSA–the last I heard, Mohammed still had a couple of CSA slots open. The CSA idea is level up because you get a wide variety of things–some you have never heard of or seen before and then you figure out how to cook them. My only nemesis in all of this is Swiss chard, which is one of those veggies that just defies new recipes beyond sauteeing with garlic. If you have a genius way to deal with it, please let me know.
Our always and favorite delight is garlic scapes, an early-season item that is now ending. We first saw them in our Drumlin share in 2015 and we snack on them like potato chips when they arrive. There is always a fight for the last scape of the season.
Now, in case anyone is getting huffy that I am talking about Hannan over local favorite Land’s Sake, please know that there is a big difference in scale. We are supporting a one-family show (we met Mohammed’s wife last week). If you already get a CSA, no worries, just stop by sometime to meet Mohammed who is always there 3-6 pm on Saturdays and Sundays at their farmstand.
Hannan Healthy Foods is located at 270 Great Road in Lincoln. You can reach Mohammed at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Swiss chard casserole (everybody loves it!!)(and its healthy and SIMPLE):
lightly oil a square glass baking pan. Take two or more big bunches of swisschard and in big lidded pot with about 2 inches of water, let it steam until fully wilted (it reduces by 90%!!!). Put a layer of hot wilted swisschard in the bottom of the glass pan. Then sprinkle a BIG layer of shredded parmesan cheese. Then another layer of swisschard, and another layer of shredded parm cheese. Keep going, with a thin layer of parm cheese at the end, on top.
Put into 350 oven for 20-30 minutes (to melt the cheese). Then you can cut it into squares for serving on plate.
Genius!! Cheese! Thanks.