Life with a CSA

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A few weeks ago, I posted on Instagram that I had signed up for a CSA subscription.  In case that term is foreign to you, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and is a weekly box of vegetables that are grown in your area.  Most of the time, you pay for a few weeks worth at a time.  It is nice for the farmer, who knows they have customers lined up prior to harvesting, and great for customers who get a large box of organic vegetables once a week for less than they would pay at the farmer's market or grocery store. Downside?  You don't get to pick what goes in your box.   


Currently, our CSA delivers boatloads of winter vegetables (because, Surprise! It's winter)  Winter vegetables can be tricky to work into a regular meal plan.  I often end up with a huge pile of greens (collar greens, chard, and broccoli rabe), lots of weird root vegetables that only taste good with several pounds of cheese (turnip gratin anyone?), and enough herbs to start my own farmer’s market.  That being said, I actually quite like the challenge of using winter vegetables.  Plus, they are gorgeous, and make my fridge look pretty! 


Some of these veggies, I have really struggle to incorporate, and had to get creative, which sometimes works, and sometimes doesn't... For example, we got some broccoli rabe, which I have never gone out and bought on my own.  Big shocker, I know.  

I made a quiche with onions and sautéed broccoli rabe, which turned out pretty well, but you can only pile so many greens into one quiche, so I still had some leftover.  I debated what to do with them, because they are a vegetable that is supposed to be cooked.  Apparently they give you a stomach ache if you eat them raw.  

Finally I decided to sauté them, then bake them and put them on top of a pasta dish.  I had done something similar on a pizza a few nights before and it was a smashing success, so I had high hopes.  

I shouldn’t have been so excited.  The pasta dish ended up being very bland, and the baked broccoli rabe was not delicious.  Seriously, it was like eating dust.  I was very disappointed.  Particularly because I have been making great efforts to not throw food away, and eating it was sort of painful.  Next time I will find a better way to incorporate them in.


Speaking of not throwing food away, a triumph from last week was this amazing carrot, white bean and dill salad that I made from 101 Cookbook.  She has some winner recipes, and this one really worked for me.  I love bean salads and this one had a great dressing and interesting blend of flavors.  We will definitely be making this one again (actually, it is on my schedule for this week). 


We also got some beets last week. If you saw my original Mrs. Meyer’s Instagram submission for the Mrs. Meyer’s maker contest (you should go vote!), you will know I used to hate beets and thought they tasted like dirt (they still do in some things), but then I found a few delicious ways to use them up.  I hadn’t ever used the greens though, and usually ended up throwing them away, because I didn't know what to do with them.  

On Sunday, Adam and I were looking for something to eat with our homemade pizza, and decided to throw together a shake.  It had a beet, beet greens, some orange and a few other things, and it was really good!  The texture was a little weird, because of the greens, I think, but, it was surprisingly tasty!  If anyone is interested, let me know and I will work on perfecting it, and post it here.  


That might be the best part of getting a CSA, is figuring out how to use new things, and being pleasantly surprised with delicious results.  

Overall, the last 3 weeks have been a cooking success.  I have been able to put together some fun, new recipes and eat some old favorites.  Having a CSA is both a delight and a challenge.  It forces us to eat tons of vegetables that are fresh, and local, so I feel like I am doing great things for our bodies and the earth.  I can't wait to see what we get next week, especially as we head into spring!

I would love to hear if any of you have done a CSA subscription before?  What did you think?  





7 comments

  1. Broccoli rabe is delicious blanched and then sautéed with garlic and red pepper flakes! You can make it the star of a grilled cheese on crusty bread with lots of melted mozzarella or put it on some slices of grilled bread, rubbed with garlic, and topped with ricotta!

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  2. I also think beet greens are equally delicious as roasted beets, and oth taste excellent on a pizza with very thinly sliced lemon and caramelized onions!

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  4. I did a CSA for a time but we don't anymore. Beet greens are my favorite. We sauté them with olive oil and season with s&p and onion powder sometimes. Or boil the beets and chop them and mix them with the steamed greens. I remember loving them as a kid only because they were almost always served with mashed potatoes and they turned my potatoes pink. Um, yes please. Ha.

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  5. I did a CSA for a time but we don't anymore. Beet greens are my favorite. We sauté them with olive oil and season with s&p and onion powder sometimes. Or boil the beets and chop them and mix them with the steamed greens. I remember loving them as a kid only because they were almost always served with mashed potatoes and they turned my potatoes pink. Um, yes please. Ha.

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  6. We grow our own garden and had cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli this winter. We live near Austin, and the weather has been fantastic for a garden, besides being dry. My grandma said that when she was growing up they harvested the leaves from those plants ate them as greens. We do this, and it is delicious!

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  7. I haven't done a CSA but am considering doing Hungry Harvest which is a similar concept. I think you should a post each week on what you got and how you used it! I'd love to see that!

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