On a blustery Wednesday in January, the heat was on to find the CSA that reigns supreme and Katchkie Farm was in the running! We had a blast participating in Just Food’s annual CSA Smackdown at The Bell House on January 20. It’s one of our favorite events every year!
Prior to this final competition, Community Supported Agriculture groups all around New York City hosted their own first round cook-offs. CSA members formed teams to compete for culinary creativity, given just half an hour to transform a mystery share into a sustainable feast. Teams earned points for taste, presentation, ingenuity, and the quantity of vegetables used.
This year’s Katchkie Farm team consisted of two Mae Mae CSA members who had never met prior to the first round of cook-offs back in October. Cathy Rought and Silvia Beam came together to form Team Sunday Best, and quickly bonded over their enthusiasm for Just Food and expediently-prepared eats. As the Bell House began to fill with guests, the duo strategized with excited energy, sipping Whistle Pig cocktails and enjoying a number of sustainable snacks. I was feeling much like a boxing coach as I chattered with my Katchkie chefs to get their heads in the game for the fierce competition.
The wonderful Just Food team took to the stage to explain the rules and introduce judges Anne Saxelby, Andrea Beaman, and Sawdayah Brownlee. Each team brought their own pot, pan, knife, and non-electric kitchen equipment and could bring three flavor enhancers. Sunday Best made good use of curry powder and a mandolin, among other additions. All teams had 10 minutes to wash and prep produce, and then they were off - with only 30 minutes to cook! Emcees Jimmy Carbone and Matt Timms punchily narrated the competition as CSA chefs scurried around their tables to get everything cooked and ready before time was called.
The Katchkie Farm team made a gorgeous frittata, mashed butternut squash, and a mustardy kale salad with root vegetable matchsticks. I was smitten with their presentation!
Though Team Sunday Best made a valiant effort, Grand Street CSA came out on top in the end for the second year in a row. Congratulations to all participating CSAs, and we can’t wait for next year’s competition!