Stacy Cowley is CNNMoney's tech editor. She's in a complicated relationship with her CSA and explores the odd vegetables that show up in her haul in CSI: CSA. Previously, she fended off a stampeding herd of zucchini.
The vegetables I've been writing about this season - the invasive purslane weed, inscrutable kohlrabi and endless bushes of leafy greens - all came from Added Value, an urban farm located on the edge of Brooklyn's Red Hook waterfront neighborhood.
By Monday night, the farm was buried under almost three feet of water. Sandy's storm surge sent a flood of river water, mud and industrial sludge cascading through Red Hook, drowning hundreds of homes and local businesses. The farm lost its fall crops, some of its physical structures, and an estimated $10,000 to $40,000 in equipment.
Stacy Cowley is CNNMoney's tech editor. She's in a complicated relationship with her CSA and explores the odd vegetables that show up in her haul in CSI: CSA. Previously, she fell in love with the weirdness of kohlrabi.
I have a zucchini the size of a baseball bat lurking on my fridge’s bottom shelf. It has a pack of cousins jammed into the veggie drawer, and my freezer is stuffed with roughly seventeen zillion pounds of squash creations.
It’s the problem every CSA subscriber or veggie gardener faces all summer long: The zucchini explosion.
These things are the rabbits of the plant world. During a long, dry July stretch when practically nothing else was coming up at my CSA’s farm, the zucchini merrily ran rampant. We got massive hauls of it each week; the leftover squash took to leaping off the vines and accosting those who wandered past. I’ve known home gardeners who become like drug pushers: “Oh, you have to take some of my zucchini home with you! No really, take some damn zucchini.”
Stacy Cowley is CNNMoney's tech editor. She's in a complicated relationship with her CSA and explores the odd vegetables that show up in her haul in CSI: CSA. Previously, she discovered the weedy joys of purslane.
If you’ve got kohlrabi in your fridge, you’re probably in a CSA. I’ve never met a single person who has procured a kohlrabi in the wild*.
I’d certainly never run across one until my CSA started sticking them in its shares. With most new produce, I can at least take a guess at its likely texture and taste. With kohlrabi, I had absolutely no clue. Its appearance has famously been described by nutritionist Jonny Bowden as “a cross between an octopus and a space capsule."
Lacking any idea where to start, I hit the Internets. First step: Figuring out what to make. Kohlrabi turns out to be obscure but incredibly versatile - you can use it in pretty much anything that works well with root vegetables, but it will also stretch in unusual directions.
Tracie McMillan adapted this essay in part from her reporting for The American Way of Eating: Undercover at Walmart, Applebee’s, Farm Fields and the Dinner Table. She is a Senior Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism and a 2013 Knight-Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan . You can follow her @TMMcMillan.
A few months ago, a small farmer in the Northeast approached me at a conference, intense and red-faced. How could I say that Americans shouldn’t pay more for their food?
She sold lettuce and beets to well-heeled women, their ears dangling gold and fingers sporting diamonds. Yet many of them balked at the prospect of paying an extra dollar per pound. To grow her food without extensive chemicals, and to sell her wares at market, she needed to fetch a higher price. Surely, couldn't these women could pay more?
Well, yes, I conceded, those women could probably afford to pay more. That doesn’t mean we have to. Because it’s not the farmers who get most of the money we spend on food. It’s everyone who's standing past the farm gate.