Conquering the farm share

Published on: 07/20/2016

Garlic scapes, fresh herbs, heads upon heads of lettuce-like leaves (I’m lumping spinach, bok choi and arugula in this category), multi-colored summer squash, carrots twisting into all shapes and many bags of giant-sized zucchini all packed into a cardboard box. That’s a farm share.

It’s great. Truly.

Fresh vegetables straight from a local farm to our kitchen is something I once really looked forward to. Supplies for salads are always available, and it feels good to think of supporting local agriculture and reducing our household’s carbon footprint. Sticking your hand into the back of the refrigerator and finding those heads of lettuce are a little darker, stickier and oozing something that they definitely weren’t before, however, doesn’t feel quite as good. It also doesn’t feel good when the last couple zucchini from the bag come out with a ridge of white fungus and not one sprig of dill even gets used because you really don’t know what to do with it.

That’s why I “once” looked forward to the farm share.

It doesn’t have to be this way though. Sharing a box with a friend or neighbor is one way, or, you can do it my way and make a dinner that incorporates as much of the farm share as possible (aka Pasta Primavera).

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Step 1: Chop up all vegetables in sight – or at least a lot of them. I used garlic scapes, mushrooms, grape tomatoes, onions, carrots, zucchini and summer squash

 

Step 2: If you have a family like mine, think about making a meat dish to go along with the pasta primavera. I made a garlic-lemon chicken on the grill and it worked out great! Chicken can also be cooked and then tossed in with the finished pasta product.

Step 3: Put water for a favorite pasta on and follow the directions on the box, I just used classic spaghetti this time, but often penne is a good choice

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Step 4: Mix all of the vegetables – excluding onions, garlic and mushrooms – together with oil, season with Italian seasonings like basil, parsley, oregano and salt and bake at 450F for about 15 minutes or until cooked and beginning to blacken in spots.

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Step 5: saute the garlic scapes and onions together in olive oil and butter until soft. Add some spices and seasonings like pepper, garlic powder, salt etc. 

Step 6: Add the mushrooms to the garlic and onion saute mixture and cook until soft

Step 7: Combine the roasted vegetables with the saute and season with lemon juice, vinegar, basil, parsley and salt. Add more basil. Recipes always need more basil.

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Step 8: Toss the finished pasta with the finished vegetable medley. IMPORTANT: Do not do this until your guests have arrived. It will only result in a worse meal, a disappointed guest and a frustrated and angry you.

Step 9: The most important step of all, and one as the chef I sometimes forget, EAT!

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I’d say it was tasty and nutritious, and even better, we utilized lots of our farm share food.

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