If youve joined up, buying a share in a local farmers crop in exchange for a weekly box of produce, how do you get the most out of your membership?
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Another good way to "use up" veggies is to roast them. Works best with dry veggies, such as: broccoli, potatoes, onion, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, even greens. Toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and roast or grill. Serve as a side, add cold to salads, toss into soups and pastas, or just munch on them out of the fridge as a guilt-free snack!
I frequently eat my CSA produce (delivered May-Oct) all 12 months of the year. I freeze extra fruit and use it in smoothies. I blanch and freeze greens (mustard, collard, kale) and cook them in a crock pot in the wintertime. I blanch and freeze beans and peas as well. This morning I made muffins using a sweet potato I'd roasted and frozen because I had too many to deal with in the fall. Other veggies I roast: squashes, eggplant etc get marinated in a vinaigrette, roasted, and pureed with tomatoes to make spaghetti sauce. Slow-roasted tomatoes and roasted garlic cloves also freeze well. Peppers, onions can be sliced, frozen on cookie sheets, and transferred to a container to take out and use in cooked dishes as needed. Cherry tomatoes and lettuce are about the only things I cannot put up.
i joined 2 months ago - just "re-upped" my membership...and with this, i am offering my services as a volunteer because it feels so good to know you're giving out good wholesome produce and its nice to put faces to your little community.
I lovelovelove my CSA. I've been doing it for about 5 years now, and it's just become a part of my life. Now I can't help but think seasonally about my food, and it feels weird to eat something from the wrong season!
If you're just starting out, you might find you get unfamiliar veggies, but with a bit of googling you'll figure out something to do with them.
It's also a good idea to become familiar with a few basic recipes that you can easily switch up depending on what you have around. For instance, I have a veggie quiche recipe that might use spinach and asparagus in spring, peppers and zucchini in summer, and leftover roasted beets in fall. Stir-fries can use broccoli and eggplant in summer, carrots and cabbage in winter.
Freezing is always a great idea too. If you have something you know you won't use in time, just blanch for a minute and then save it for winter!
Google is your friend. I picked up all kinds of vegetables I'd never tried before, googled ways to use them and discovered lots of yummy recipes as a result!
If you are a control freak, keep an eye open for choose-your-own CSA options. Ours uses punch cards at the farmers' market and means I can pick out what I would like from their stand. It also means that when I'm out of town, I don't have to find someone to pick up my share--I can distribute the quantity to weeks when I'm at home.
Our half share fed us well and I'm still working on the veggies I froze to eat in the winter. Having frozen CSA vegetables in winter has been a great boon to our budget and our menu; you wouldn't believe what a difference your own frozen goods make compared to the store-bought items, whether frozen or "freshly" shipped a long distance.
We've belonged to our local CSA for several years. I now plan my weekly menu around what's in the box. I rely on a couple specialty cookbooks that are organized by vegetable family. Often, you can substitute vegetables in recipes. Stir fry's can use up a wide variety. I do traditional oriental- style stir frys and also do a quick saute of vegetables in olive oil and throw in herbs (fresh or dried) or a bit of pesto to finish it off.
One questions we forgot to ask the first time we joined a CSA is what they use for fertilizer. Many organic farmers use fish emulsion, something we do not want in our food. Others use fertilzer that contains bones and animal byproducts. Now, we make sure we use a veganic farm.
My husband and I get a share every other week. It's helped us try new veggies and just plain eat more of them, but it definitely helps to find recipes that include multiple items (soups are great) and with just the two of us, we make a larger dent when we have company for dinner!
I live alone so I found that a full share was too much so I order a half share that I pick up every other week.
I also have a lot of friends that do the CSA share and it is hard at times to finish all of the veggies so we end up doing a lot of potlucks and picnics so that we make sure to finish off our shares.
my husband and i have been CSA members for 5 years. started with a small box biweekly then decided we wanted to eat more greens so now we are weekly subscribers. a few things that have worked for us:
1) we invested in an expensive blender, the Blendtec, to make green smoothies
2) every sunday, our csa posts what is "most likely" to be in the box. we meal plan around that.
3) when we get our box, we go through the checklist/meal plan and make any necessary changes. we do this throughout the week as well.
4) we create a "greens" bag with all the greens that we will put in our smoothies that week. if there is too much, i will blend them up with water, freeze them in a silicone muffin tin, pop them out when frozen, and seal them in a plastic bag for future use.
5) i keep a notebook of our meal plans so i can go back and see what we did with all the... zucchini or tomatoes. i also keep a list of recipe ideas by vegetable.
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