yes to turnips


The other day our vegetable box from Laguna Farm arrived and there were turnips in it. “Yes, turnips!” I shouted to Scott. I never would have expected to get so excited over turnips, but when you are subscribed to a farm and are eating seasonally, you only have turnips at certain times of the year, and they are fresh out of the ground and flavorful, and I have a really good turnip soup recipe.

For those who don’t know, when you subscribe to a CSA like Laguna Farm in nearby Sebastopol, you are helping a local farmer to grow vegetables without the normal risk of “growing them and just hoping people buy them”. It’s about $15 a week, which is pretty much what I would normally pay for vegetables per week. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and is the answer to the corporate food problem. It is also so much better tasting to eat food right out of the ground from right here, than to eat food shipped long distances in dirty trucks from who-knows-where for who-knows-how-long. When the “spinach scare” happened last year, we didn’t need to worry, because we knew exactly where our spinach was coming from and knew that it was fine. We can go out to the farm anytime to check it out, or help out, or pick up a few extra things at the little farm store. They are solar powered, use tractors that run on veggie oil and everything is beyond organic.

I have always hated turnips but it could be because when I was a kid with a different palette they were always in stew and looked like potatoes so you would expect a potato and then, oh no it’s a turnip! So I have avoided them until they arrived in the box for the first time. I thought oh-no turnips as a knee-jerk reaction. There was an accompanying recipe for turnip soup, so I tried it. Now I can’t wait for the turnips to arrive. These turnips are different. They are absolutely delicious.

We also left some salad greens as a thank you at our friend’s house in SF when we were vacationing there for her to find when she returned the next day and she called us up and said “they were not like the usual bags of greens, they were so delicious!” She seemed a little puzzled that we would leave them there for her instead of gobbling them up–but we had another bag at home…

Of course the summer season for produce is wonderful in the summer but the fall and winter food–the squashes, bok choi and fennel bulbs all coordinate with the weather outside and make you feel all cozy when you cook them. It is a seasonal wonder.

And for those souls who are wondering…

turnip soup
Melt some butter in a dutch oven, add a bunch of diced turnips (like those pictured here) and saute 5 minutes. Add a cup of diced potatoes, add some chives, cook one minute. Add 2 1/2 cups of stock and boil, then lower heat and simmer for 25 minutes. Puree in a blender with 1 1/4 cup of milk (preferably local organic milk) reheat and add a little lemon juice from a nearby lemon tree. Of course the key to this is using the good turnips.

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