GarlicThis summer, my husband, Clif, and I joined Farmer Kev’s CSA program. (Click here to read a piece from my archives about Farmer Kev.) Starting in June, each week Farmer Kev delivered—that’s right delivered—a crate of freshly picked, organic vegetables. How we loved it! I will admit that early in the season it was a challenge to keep up with the plethora of greens—spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard—but we rose to the challenge and found such good recipes that we’ll be making them again next year.

The deliveries stopped in September, and Clif and I both felt somewhat at a loss. After feasting on such wonderful organic abundance, we were both reluctant to go back to buying vegetables at the grocery store. Then I had an idea. Why not ask Farmer Kev if he would sell us some of his keeper crops—potatoes, squash, carrots, beets, and garlic—if he had a surplus? I asked, and he did.

So we ordered and bought 50 pounds of potatoes, 10 pounds of carrots, 10 heads of garlic, 10 pounds of beets, 4 pounds of green peppers, and a bushel of squash. Since we don’t have a root cellar, the potatoes and squash are stored in baskets in our bedrooms, which tend to be quite cool in the fall and winter. The carrots, peppers, and beets are squished in our refrigerator.

These vegetables will probably not see us through the winter, but they will at least take us part of the way through the season. Already, we are enjoying roasted squash with sage butter; baked potatoes sometimes served with just butter, sometimes stuffed with chili; carrot tarragon soup (Here’s the recipe!); and, of course, the garlic in many things. In Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything Vegetarian there is a beet gratin recipe that I’ll be trying, and I’ll be poking around for other dishes that feature beets. My friend Kate Johnson has enthused about the joys of roasted carrots, and we’ll soon be roasting some of Farmer Kev’s carrots.

Between the CSA and the extra vegetables, Clif and I paid Farmer Kev $290 this year, and we agree that this was money very well spent. Not only were those organic vegetables delivered to our doorstep, but they were also incredibly clean and fresh. (Apparently, Farmer Kev has quite the system for cleaning vegetables, and next year I hope to get pictures of it for the blog.)

While I plan to expand my own little gardens, I also know that there’s a limit to what I can grow on this shady lot. Someday, perhaps, we will open up the land so that we can get more sun. Nevertheless, I will certainly continue buying vegetables from Farmer Kev. Not only are we doing our part for local agriculture, but we are also eating pretty darn well.

Carrots, beets, and green peppers