It’s finally CSA season around these parts! In magical places like California, you can get things like fresh, local produce year-round. Artichokes? Olives? Tomatoes? Check, check, and check. But those of us living in colder parts (aka, the majority of the country) don’t have the luxury of local produce for most of the year. So we like to take advantage of the growing season while we can! We have our own little vegetable garden packed with the things we eat the most (fresh herbs, tomatoes, jalapenos), but to try new things and get stuff I don’t want to bother with at home, we joined a CSA this year.
What’s a CSA you might ask? It stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and basically you buy a share in a local farm to receive fresh produce all summer long! We went with Olden Produce out of Ripon, WI, this year, and we’re excited to see how everything turns out! The challenge with a CSA is what to cook with all of these vegetables and fruits that you don’t normally buy at the grocery store. Or things you buy regularly, but need a new and exciting way to cook them.
I’m going to try and chronicle our CSA adventures this year, creating at least one new recipe a week with something that comes in our weekly produce box. Last week’s box contained snap peas, strawberries, lettuce, and small leeks. The strawberries we pretty much just ate fresh, sliced on cereal and in (coconut) yogurt. Same thing with the lettuce, it went into salads. But I got a little more creative with the snap peas and leeks! I made a really yummy stir fry with chicken, snap peas, leeks, broccoli, and cauliflower…and then forgot to photograph it. But I did remember to photograph the fresh barley salad I made, so that’s what you get! This salad is best served cold, after the flavors have had time to mingle. But I must admit that I ate some right away after mixing it up, and it was good lukewarm too!
Lemon Barley Snap Pea Salad
1/2 c. pearl barley (plus water needed for cooking)
1/2 lb. snap peas, sliced crosswise into small pieces
Juice from half a lemon (about 2 Tbsp)
Zest from half a lemon
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 generous pinches kosher salt
Ground pepper to taste
Cook barley according to package directions. Drain off any excess water, and place in a bowl to cool. Add snap peas and all other ingredients, and stir to combine. Chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour to let the flavors blend.