Wednesday, September 30, 2009

What might be in the Oct 1 box?

I forgot to photograph my box, but CSA Subscriber Mickey M sent this photo of the contents of her box.

From Tanaka Farms' Blog
(amended to reflect actual box contents):
  • White Corn
  • Baby Carrots, 1 bunch
  • Head Lettuce, 1
  • Zucchini
  • Radishes, 1 bunch
  • Maui Onions, 1 large
  • Green Leaf Lettuce, 1
  • Cucumbers, 2
  • Potatoes
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Squash, 1 ovoid yellow one, spaghetti squash?
  • Green Bell peppers, 3 green + 1 purple
  • Cilantro, 1 bunch
  • Oranges*
  • Apples*, 4 Fuji
  • 1 bunch of broccoli (not on the "might be in box list", but it appeared in the box)
*These fruits are grown by other local CA farmers.

We roasted last week's potatoes with rosemary from our garden. Yum. Our rosemary bush and bay tree overfloweth. Email if you want to pick up some hyperlocal rosemary, bay leaves or a Meyer lemon with your Thursday box.

Friday, September 25, 2009

September 24 Box & Recipes

Tanaka Farms sent an extra box yesterday to Neighborhood Grinds (2315 Artesia Blvd), so we could show off the produce. This week, the boxes contained:
  • 4 Fuji apples
  • 4 oranges
  • 8 Persian cucumbers
  • 5 zucchinis/crookneck squashes
  • 3 ears of white corn
  • 4 potatoes
  • 1 head of loose-leaf lettuce
  • 1 bunch of carrots
  • 1 bunch of mini Maui onions
  • green beans
Still life with flower and produce.


Green Beans with Slivered Almonds
  1. Blanch washed green beans in boiling water until tender-crisp (~1-2 minutes depending upon the ratio of hot water to beans), drain
  2. In a separate pan, saute slivered almonds in butter and/or olive oil until almonds are lightly browned
  3. Add minced garlic and turn down heat
  4. Add the blanched and drained green beans
  5. Season to taste with salt and pepper

Cucumber and Tomato Salad
  1. Cut cucumbers, tomatoes and mozzarella into chunks about 1/2" to 3/4" in size.
  2. (Optional) Sprinkle with chopped seasonings such as red onion, basil, mint and chives.
  3. Toss with a vinaigrette of olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper

Lincoln School deliveries begin October 8, 2009. Lincoln families who want a box for October 1, 2009 are welcome to order through Madison School's program. Just download the order form at the top right (under "Want to join?". Fill it out and drop the form and payment off at Neighborhood Grinds by Monday. I collect the orders and place a weekly Tanaka order on Tuesdays for the following Thursday.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

What's in this week's box?

Tanaka Farms is posting a weekly newsletter about what's new at the farm for the CSA subscribers. They are including recipe ideas.

At the August CSA coordinator meeting, Tanaka admitted they were feeling growing pains. They had grown from one group to 60 groups (schools/churches/workplaces) in their first year. Selected news from their newsletters:
We have acquired another field in Irvine just for our CSA program.  It is about 12 acres and we are going to grow as much vegetables as we can there for your boxes. We have been working on this piece of ground for about two weeks. Getting the ground ready, watering, bedding up, and we are starting to plant seeds Saturday. We are planting a little late so the vegetables won't be ready until November or December.

New schools and new businesses are starting up everywhere for us. We acquired 20 new schools so far for this upcoming school year. Get the word out there and tell your friends, family and neighbors. Eat fresh and eat healthy.

Here's what might be in the box for this week:
  • White Corn
  • Baby Carrots
  • Red Leaf Lettuce
  • Peaches
  • Baby Maui Onions
  • Green Leaf Lettuce
  • Potatoes
  • Romaine Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumbers
  • Apples
Remember, these are the things that are available this week. Each box will contain some, but not all, of the items listed. They try to maintain consistency within each delivery. That is, each school's box will contain an identical inventory. But boxes destined for different schools may contain different items due to availability. We are a smaller school program, so we might get the rarer items!

If you turned in a subscription order form with payment, you will receive a confirmation email from me shortly. If you haven't subscribed yet (why not?), or want to add more boxes to your order, email me.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

How do you sign up?

Email for an electronic sign-up form.  (Addendum, forms can be downloaded directly from the left hand column of Madison's Tanaka Farms Produce Orders web page.)  Return the completed form with your check made out to  "Madison PTA" for $25 $30 each box to the Madison School Office (if you have children at Madison) or to Neighborhood Grinds (if you don't).  Or, you can come by Grace's office at work.

To start, we will use rolling deadlines.  You must turn in the order form and check on or before 8:00 AM on Friday in order to receive a box the following Thursday.  After we have worked out the start-up kinks, we will move to monthly order forms.

Tanaka Farms delivers to the South Bay each Thursday.

Lincoln Elementary School families may sign up through the Lincoln PTA and pick up their produce at the school.  Proceeds from those orders benefit the Lincoln PTA.  Email Kelly Wolschon to sign-up for the Lincoln program.

Jefferson Elementary School has also joined the Tanaka Farms CSA program.  However, pickups for Jefferson must be in a half hour time window after school dismissal.

We don't mean to poach from other schools' PTAs, but working parents from any school may take advantage of the Madison program's flexible pickup times between 2:00 and 10:00 PM.

If you would like to start a Tanaka Farms CSA program at your South Bay school, contact me to learn how to set it up.  The more schools and members we sign up, the lower the carbon footprint of each box trucked in from Irvine!

More info can be found in Fall 2009 CSA Deliveries .

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

What will I do with all that produce?

It's a bargain, no doubt, all that food in the photos below. But maybe you're not an adventurous cook, or maybe your family aren't very adventurous diners. Maybe that's exactly why you're subscribing: to nudge yourself and your family to eat and cook a wider range of better foods. Good for you! We'll be posting recipe ideas here to help you to work toward that goal.

But that might take some time. And meanwhile, what can you do with all that beautiful, locally-grown produce? First, don't be overwhelmed. You don't have to eat it all the first day or two. Remember that you can always trade with your neighbors. If you don't like something or you just don't think you'll be able to use it, maybe a friend can use it instead.

Cezanne still life painting[Visual description: A still life by Cezanne, showing a bowl of fruit, a few pots and bowls, and a bunchy tablecloth.]

Here's another idea, time-honored and fun too: sketch your produce. Sketch one item in isolation, for starters. Pay attention to the curves, the shine, the texture. For a bigger challenge, make a still life in a bowl, maybe add a candle or bottle for height. When you like the composition, sketch, or paint, or photograph it. Or all three, if you like.

Make CSA art with your kids, and laugh together about how tricky the greens are, or admire each other's best shadows. The goal isn't to make a masterpiece, just to have fun and appreciate your food in all its gorgeousness. This way, every delivery will bring new tastes AND colors and shapes to enjoy. (If there's enough interest, I'll set up a Flickr group for our CSA art. Let me know what you think about that.)

Looking forward to this fall of great food, for all the senses!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Representative Boxes

Here's an early August sample box.

This was my box from late August.

After I removed the top layer of greens, I could see the other goodies. This is what edamame looks like on the vine. We picked off the pods, boiled them in water for 5 minutes with a pinch of salt, and ate them all up as soon as we got home.

That's not just another watermelon. It is a yellow flesh variety. Mintage Home posted a pix of the inside.

Fall 2009 CSA Deliveries

[Update:  In 2009, the boxes were $25 each.  Effective January 2010, the boxes are $30 each.  The post has been edited to reflect the price change.]

Tanaka Farms will deliver Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) produce boxes each Thursday afternoon to Neighborhood Grinds in North Redondo Beach starting on September 24, 2009. 

Each box will contain organically grown (but not necessarily certified organic) produce from local farms around southern California-mainly from Tanaka Farms of Irvine. The retail value of produce in each box will be $25 $30. Subscribers select the weeks that they would like boxes and pay $25 $30/box in advance. There is no minimum order. Try it once and then sign up for more later!

Madison PTA sends $20 $25 to Tanaka Farms and keeps $5 to help support programs at nearby Madison Elementary School. This community-building fundraiser promotes healthy eating habits and helps support local organic agriculture. It's a win-win for everyone.

Neighborhood Grinds is conveniently located at 2315 Artesia Boulevard (cross-street Mackay). Subscriber boxes can be picked up anytime between 2:00 until 10:00 PM on delivery days (currently Thursdays). Just sign the subscriber sheet at the counter to confirm pick-up, and a NG staffer will hand you a box of produce. Tanaka Farms' sturdy waxed cardboard boxes do need to be returned. Please bring your own box, bag or bin to carry your produce home. NG staff will fold up the TF box and return it for you.

Send email to to request a sign-up sheet in electronic format. (Update: you can now download the form here.)  Return the form and your check made payable to Madison PTA to the Madison School Office (families with children attending Madison) or Neighborhood Grinds (community members without children attending Madison).

  • Learn more about Tanaka Farms' CSA program.
  • Subscribers do not get a choice of produce. The boxes contain produce in season in our local area. Basically, they consist of whatever is ready to be harvested at the farm on the morning of the delivery, supplemented with specialty produce (e.g. stone fruit from the central valley).
  • The produce will contain varieties not commonly found at supermarkets. That's the whole point.
  • We will provide recipe support at this blog. What do you do with the red cabbage and the apples in the winter boxes? Make braised red cabbage with apples, of course!