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The Boston Globe

Food & dining

CSA crops pass taste tests if not beauty contests

Stalwart Community Supported Agriculture members dedicated to local farms and cooking seasonally year round will find their winter boxes filled with root vegetables and brassicas (think cabbage and company). Deep winter CSAs contain a taste of the region’s cold weather harvest and a test of dedication.

In the Northeast, winter CSA shares consist largely of crops harvested late in the fall for storage. Those include carrots, parsnips, onions, winter squashes, beets, celery root (celeriac), hardy radishes, cabbage, potatoes, and turnips. In the temperature and humidity of a root cellar, where growers keep them, the produce stays fresh. When they’re delivered, many vegetables still retain a coating of root cellar dirt, which is the appealing part for many cooks. Veggies are often large, oddly shaped, and occasionally unattractive, all of which gives pause to even the most dedicated locavore. Nothing here is winning a beauty contest, but what they lack in appearance, the vegetables make up for in remarkably delicious flavor.

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