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Local Food | 5 Tips for Making Most Out of Your CSA

 

I joined a CSA (community supported agriculture) two years ago. I split the share with my co-worker, Holly. Every Friday, from May  to November, we get together to divvy up our veggies, let our kids play, and enjoy a little wine and good conversation.

I’m not sure I would have joined our CSA without Holly’s prompting but I’m glad I did. Splitting the share with her takes the sting out of the price tag and keeps me from wasting even more veggies than I already do. This year I’m determined not to let one veggie go to waste.

5 Tips for Making the Most Out of Your CSA

Tip number 1: Prep your veggies as soon as you bring them home.

I rarely feel like washing veggies after enjoying a glass (or two) of wine. But if I don’t clean, chop and otherwise prep our weekly share right away, I get into the bad habit of putting off that chore all weekend. The next thing I know its Sunday night and my lettuce is starting to wilt.

Tip number 2: Plan your meals with your veggies in mind.

I recently read an e-book about menu planning that recommended using perishable food items early in the week so they don’t spoil. Brilliant! I normally start meal planning on Fridays because that’s when the sales change at my grocery store. Now I’ll be factoring in our weekly share from the start.

Related: Dirty Dozen Fruits and Veggies

Tip number 3: Let your veggies be the star of the recipe.

My husband is convinced that a meal is not complete without a serving of meat. However, I have gotten him to eat a completely vegetarian (and sometimes vegan) meal thanks to our CSA. I’m always on the lookout for new recipes to try, especially with the plethora of zucchini we get each summer.

Tip number 4: Save those veggies for later … in your freezer.

This idea occurred to me late in the season last year when we had an abundance of onions. We used frozen chopped onions from the grocery store in the past so why not freeze the ones fresh from the farm. I think they lasted all through the winter.

Tip number 5: Feed the compost bin.

Even if you use up every veggie every week, there will be waste and its better for the earth–and your backyard–if the leaves and stems become compost. I’ll admit, though, that I don’t actually practice this one. We do have a compost bin set up in our yard and a countertop composter at the ready, but we haven’t quite overcome the gross out factor to make this practice a part of our weekly routine.

Do you participate in a CSA? What tips would you add?

Image: prairiebeat

Since becoming a food allergy mom, Shannon Morgan has been inspired to live a healthier lifestyle. She’s not quite there yet but is enjoying the journey. Follow her on Twitter @SLDMorgan or @AStoriedTable.

2 Comments

  1. Shannon

    June 4, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Great tips Katie! I’d love to grown my own veggies. We even have a plot in our yard that is perfect for that. Too bad I have a black thumb.

  2. Katie B. of HousewifeHowTos.com

    June 4, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    Excellent tips! I don’t have a CSA, but I do have a garden. It’s a bit more convenient: veggies are just steps away from the kitchen, and I control the selection up front by only growing things I know we’ll eat. But when there are 16 zucchini, 3 pounds of green beans, a dozen beets and 8 head of lettuce all ready at the same time, it’s a lot like having a box of produce dumped on me.

    Washing and prepping at once is crucial. So is knowing how to whip up a veggie-heavy pasta salad, quiche, casserole and strata so you don’t have to run to the store for exotic ingredients just to get dinner on the table.

    Oh, and make soup out of the leftovers at the end of the week!