The Newbie Chronicles: Week 1.

I was ready.  Bags?  Check.  Smartphone (for the camera)?  Check.  Hat?  Check.  Time for food.


Today was farm pickup day for Week #1 of the CSA.  (I’m writing this on Tuesday, June 2nd).  I’d been planning for this moment for a few weeks.  Ok, maybe planning is the wrong word.  More like taking baby steps when possible.

My fridge has spare space.  I bought a salad spinner.  I’ve been watching for and trying new recipes.  I’ve been reading the CSA blog posts for ideas and Aaron’s updates.  And my digital calendar has a weekly reminder.

What am I supposed to do with Swiss Chard?  Ok, I’m jumping ahead.

The Blandford Farm is a short walk from my house.  I popped in around 4:30pm with bags, smartphone, and hat ready.  Aaron had two tables laid out with chalkboards behind each.  One board was a greeting with notes about today’s selection and a price list if you wanted to buy extra plants.  The second board had the schedule listing quantities allotted for Full Share and Half Share participants.  Aaron confessed today’s selection was a little light.  For a newbie like me, that’s great.  I can ease into things.


Five big leaves of Swiss Chard.  Hmmm.  Never cooked with that.

The produce was picked this morning.  It looked crisp, healthy, and inviting.  I was curious about the red-leafed lettuce.  Aaron gave me the proper name…which I promptly forgot.  The best I can do is remember that it’s a red-tip leafy lettuce.  (My wife suffers through the same problem with me.  She will tell me the names of plants in her garden…which I will promptly forget.  At least she accepts that the information will be lost.)

Amazingly, I did remember the name, “Swiss Chard.”

I filled my bags with my half share allotment, snapped several photos, and hiked back home.  I know we’ll be having salad at least once this week.  I picked up a bunch of rhubarb, which my wife will use to make pie.  Now, I need to figure out what to do with the Swiss Chard.  Time to consult one of my trusty cookbooks, or the web.


I didn’t take much time to chat with the other folks.  I recognized a few faces and am learning a few names.  Others seemed as purpose-driven as me:  grab and go.  Have I missed an opportunity here?  Maybe now that I have a sense of how things work, I can linger a little longer.

Heck, maybe one of the other community members could have told me what I can do with Swiss Chard.  I do think I overheard a comment saying they’ll need to add-in sugar because it can be bitter.  Next time, I’ll feel better about expressing my ignorance…about Swiss Chard.

Time passes.  Problem solved.  While waiting for our dinner last night (pizza and beer at The Mitten), my wife looked for Swiss Chard recipes on her smartphone.  She read off a few to me.  One for Lemon-Garlic Swiss Chard sounded interesting.  Guess I’ll be test driving it shortly.


About the author: Newbie Dave Gillen didn’t want to eat hotdogs for the rest of his life, so he learned to cook. His mother taught him to boil water, fry an egg, and make oatmeal cookies. Dave forgot how to make the cookies, barely remembered how to fry eggs, but is spot on at boiling water. Currently, he divides his days between being wife Lois’ in-house techno geek and personal chef…and walking his greyhounds.




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