Uncle Bill's sign

Even though we’ve frequented farmer’s markets for years, this is our first year joining a CSA (community supported agriculture). This past Saturday was the first weekend for pick-up and I took my camera to capture the occasion. Our local CSA is Uncle Bill’s Farm which is owned and operated by Sarah Carden and Alex Cookfair. The farm is right smack in the middle of New Jersey horse country. In fact, the U.S. Equestrian Team Foundation headquarters is practically around the corner. Given that we’re in horse country, it should come as no surprise  the 40 acre property is a former horse farm which has been slowly converted over the last few years to a small scale produce and poultry farm.

After visiting the Uncle Bill’s Farm in April for a tour I have been anxiously awaiting opening day of the CSA. And because I was so excited to feast my eyes on the veggie bounty I was one of the first to arrive. (Well, that and I was getting nagged to hurry so we could drive down to Philly for Comic Con.)

Upon entering Uncle Bill’s Farm, the first thing I encountered was the veggie washing station that included a groovy claw-foot tub.

washing station

Getting closer to the pick-up area, I spied a cool table holding some herbs and veggie plants for sale. Those are some serious table legs.

Herbs

The first step was to sign in.  Sarah verified my purchase of one full share (one bushel basket) and one full egg share (one dozen eggs) per week.

Sign in sheet

Now it was time to check out what was available for the week – all picked fresh that morning.

First up, wild garlic. I swear this is the stuff I have been weeding out of my yard! I had no idea it was actually edible.

Wild Garlic

Next up – beautiful, fresh radishes in different varieties and baby turnips. Lovely.

Radish

And then my favorite – beets! It never ceases to amaze me how many people have never eaten fresh beets. Beets and their greens are both wonderful. I’ve posted several beet recipes because I love them dearly. (Links at the bottom of this post).

Beets

The freshly picked greens were in abundance, delighting the early members. The offerings included common curly kale, lacinato (dinosaur) kale, mixed greens, arugula, butter lettuce and chard.

GreensShoppers

The rainbow chard was especially spectacular. (I’ll be posting a recipe for rainbow chard in a day or two.)

Rainbow Chard-2

I loaded up my bushel basket with some of all the offerings including salad cucumbers and pickling cucumbers. Then it was on to collect my eggs.

Eggs sign

The eggs come from these free-range chickens.

Chickens horizontalChickens vertical

If you think eggs from free range chickens that roam around eating bugs and weeds aren’t different from standard eggs, just check out this Instagram I took the next day of my breakfast of salad greens and eggs. The yolks vary from bright yellow to deep orange. The taste and nutrition are just on a different level from regular eggs. There’s really no comparison. (And yes, I occasionally eat salad for breakfast. My kids freak out every time they witness this faux pas.)

Egg Instagram

All in all, day one of the twenty weeks of the CSA was a success. Uncle Bill’s Farm is living up to expectations!

Below are links to a few of my recipes that feature some of these veggie ingredients. You may find them helpful if you are looking for ways to enjoy the bounty from your local grocery store, farmer’s market or CSA. All these recipes are paleo which means they are grain and gluten-free, contain no soy or other legumes. The recipes also happen to be (mostly) nut and dairy-free. There are several vegan recipes to choose from as well.

Beets and Cucumbers

Roasted Beet and Cucumber Salad with Yogurt Dressing

Roasted Beets with Blood Oranges

Beet Greens Sauteéd with Garlic and Bacon Fat

Beet and Cabbage Slaw

Kale

Sausage and Kale Saute

Heirloom Tomatoes with Kale and Garlic Scape Dressing

Avocado Massaged Kale Salad

Kale Salad with Warm Andouille Sausage and Mushroom Dressing

Radishes

Endive, Watercress and Radish Salad with Goat Cheese and Walnuts

Chard

Rainbow Chard with Shiitake Mushrooms and Wild Garlic

Stay tuned for the next post “Rainbow Chard with Shiitake Mushrooms and Wild Garlic”.

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