Earlier this year we joined one of our local CSAs and I have to say we have really enjoyed it. The thing I was most concerned about – waste – did come to fruition somewhat, but overall I think it was worth the expense and we do plan to do it again next year. One of the nice things about our CSA is that along with the weekly bag, we also have access to extra items, like milk, eggs, yogurt, locally sourced meats and more. This has honestly been one of my favorite things and it’s one of the reasons we’re considering buying a winter share as well.
I’m not sure if many people are aware – or really, why they would be! – just how beautiful Ohio fruit can be. Ohio apples and apple cider are one of the best things about fall in this part of the country, in my opinion; the pears are good too and the batch we got in our CSA bag was actually perfect. Sadly I think most everyone missed out on Ohio peaches this year, again because of the hard winter. No Ohio peach pies or cobblers!
In truth this was sort of an off year for all local fruit. We got a lot of blueberries and some nice early strawberries, some of which I ended up freezing for use during the winter. Now, though, the fall fruits are starting to come in and I decided to make a crisp with the Gala apples and Bartlett pears (and local oats!) from a couple of recent CSA bags.
I based my crisp on a recipe from Ina Garten, but I used much less fruit because that’s what I had on hand. Once you get the basic idea down, a fruit crisp is pretty difficult to mess up. Some flour, sugar and spices to toss with the fruit; some oats, sugar and butter for the topping and you’re basically good to go. Typically when I make an apple crisp I painstakingly core and slice the apples but for this I just chopped them into chunks. They cook down so beautifully that you really don’t need the thin slices. And while citrus juice and zest is most always a good idea in fruit desserts, I didn’t have oranges or lemons so I didn’t use any in mine and frankly, didn’t miss it. As an experiment, I put a drop of orange extract and a drop of lemon extract in a couple tablespoons of water and added that for the liquid; I would just skip the extracts next time because it didn’t really add anything and it’s easy for extracts to be overpowering or taste artificial. As I mentioned, these types of recipes are very forgiving, but it would be a shame to obscure the taste of the fruit.
If you, like me, aren’t wild about pumpkin or pecan pie for Thanksgiving dessert, this would make a great alternative!