Our First CSA Pickup

On Tuesday Jesse picked up our very first CSA box of the year. Pictured above is everything that came in our share this week. Look how green everything is! Since our growing season begins relatively late here, we’re only just getting those spring greens that I’d guess many of you have been enjoying for months now. In case it’s not easy to tell from the picture, we received green onions, cilantro, parsley, green lettuce, garlic scapes, diced rhubarb and a TON of spinach.

Room for Improvement

I’m really looking forward to this CSA season. Since this is our third CSA season, however, I know that belonging to a CSA presents some challenges for me that I want to better cope with this year. The main problems that I run into are:

1. Coming up with ways to use abundant veggies that we don’t normally eat a lot of. (Like spinach.) I am often stumped for ways to use up bountiful amounts of certain veggies, with the result that some of the food goes bad before I get to it. I hope to help counter that this year by coming up with some ideas for how to serve the produce when I first get my share.

2. Serving quicker, easier veggies instead of CSA produce. Getting CSA produce ready to eat often requires more work than prepping other vegetables in my fridge or freezer.  (Steaming frozen green beans from Costco, for instance, is way easier than washing and chopping a bunch of dirty spinach.) When pressed for time/energy, I often opt for the quicker veggie over CSA produce. Of course, this tends to cause CSA produce to go bad before I actually get to it. I really just need to bite the bullet on this one and be okay with the fact that prepping veggies is going to take longer when they’re coming straight from the farm.

3. Being realistic about whether we’re going to eat certain foods. While we eat a lot of produce that isn’t on my top list of favorite vegetables, there are a few things that we really just don’t like. (Kohlrabi, for instance.) While I’d like to say that we’ll valiantly eat even hated veggies, that just isn’t reality here. :) If I really don’t think that we’re going to eat something, I should just leave it in the trade box so someone else can benefit from it.

Ideas for Using This Week’s Produce

Here’s what I’ve come up with so far:

Lettuce: side salads

Green onions: soups, peanut sauce stir-fry

Cilantro: juice, ?

Parsley: juice, parsley sauce for fish

Garlic scapes: roasted as in this recipe

Rhubarb: almond flour crisp with frozen cherries, blueberries and strawberries

Spinach: I’m not sure about this one – we got so much! I think we’ll do a little bit in juice, some in sautéed or steamed side dishes, and maybe some added to pasta sauce. Anyone else have any ideas?

This post is part of Fight Back Friday, Fresh Bites Friday, Farmgirl Friday, Fat Tuesday, Scratch Cookin’ Tuesday, Traditional Tuesdays, Simple Lives Thursday, and Your Green Resource.

Are you part of a CSA program this year? If so, how’s it going for you?

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Crazy for Coconut

15 Responses to Our First CSA Pickup

  1. So much green goodness – yum! We love putting spinach into a frittata. Your green onions could go in there too. Fritatta is a quicky and tasty way to use up lots of CSA greens – spinach, chard, kale.
    Victoria @ Green Idea Reviews recently posted..Keeping Butter Soft and Fresh Using a Butter Crock Review – Does It Work?My Profile

    • Meghan says:

      Frittata is a great idea, Victoria. Unfortunately I’m dealing with an egg intolerance at the moment so I’ll have to skip it for now, but definitely something to keep in mind for the future! Thanks.

  2. Cheryl says:

    I enjoy spinach in green smoothies. You can use up a lot of it this way. Put 2 cups water in a blender, loosely fill with spinach, blend, then add fruit…I like grapes, banana, and an apple.

    If you have parsley that you can’t use fresh, dry it and then crumble it and save it for later use.

  3. taryn says:

    you don’t like Kohlrabi? What?! that stuff is the bomb.com! Good for you getting a CSA.

  4. Janis says:

    That cilantro would be great in the stir-fry with peanut sauce!

    • Meghan says:

      Hmm…you’re right, I do remember seeing cilantro in peanut sauce recipes. I don’t think Jesse usually likes them, though. Weirdo. :)

  5. Mom says:

    Megh,

    Be like Aqui, our favorite fresh Mex restaurant, and make cilantro pesto for fish dishes. It is delicious. I’ve made it like basil pesto minus the cheese.

    I usually saute my spinach in a fry pan and then top it with 2 eggs, put on a cover to help cook the eggs sunnyside up, and voila – dinner! For the dairy minded folks, a little graded cheddar on top is a nice addition. But, you are not eating eggs now, so I find that just steaming lots of spinach and covering it with butter and salt is the way to use up large volumes. It cooks down so much. And what about spinach salad?

    • Meghan says:

      Cilantro pesto is a great idea! I just made a parsley sauce the other night and it only came out all right, but I should give cilantro a try. I have hake and wahoo in the freezer and I bet it would go well with either of those.

  6. IllinoisLori says:

    Hi, I found you thru the friday farmgirls bloghop…

    I did a CSA for a couple of years, we had the exact same issues! Now I’m blessed with a raised garden bed in my friend’s backyard, and grow my own tomatoes, green beans, onions, garlic, peppers, etc. But I do miss all the neat veggies we used to get from the CSA!

    As for spinach, no one mentioned spinach lasagna, or other ways to include it with pasta, if you’re able to eat that in any form. Saute spinach in plenty of butter/olive oil, then toss well with hot cooked pasta of your choice, and squeeze a fresh lemon over it. You could add other veggies to the saute pan, mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, etc.

    Another one is to chop the spinach, saute it in olive oil, then toss with cooked ground beef and cooked rice (equal amounts)…add sea salt to taste and some cayenne pepper to make it spicy. You could add chopped onions to this one, too.

    Blessings,
    Lori
    IllinoisLori recently posted..My Journey to Honest Food: Sugar Purge PLUS FFG UpdateMy Profile

    • Meghan says:

      Thanks for those suggestions, Lori! I will keep them in mind. Oh, and your garden sounds great! I hope we’ll be able to have a garden like that some day. Right now we only have a balcony for outdoor space so we’re just doing a few plants in pots. That’s a big step up from my last apartment with no outdoor space, though!

  7. Krissa says:

    I love the idea of a trade box! I wish my CSA did that. I love using cilantro to make homemade salsa or guacamole. And I agree with the other comment–spinach is great in smoothies! Or you could use it in a salad with strawberries, almonds, goat cheese and poppyseed vinaigrette–my favorite!
    Krissa recently posted..How I’m Using My CSA Box {Week of 6.20-6.27}My Profile

  8. Deborah says:

    You can eat is in salads, soups, or freeze for later use.

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