The Daily Beet / The CSA

Do you have a CSA share?  Mine starts on June 3rd! This year I will get both the vegetables from Stoneledge Farm (www.stoneledgefarmny.com), and the fruit that they deliver from surrounding farms in upstate New York. A CSA is short for “community supported agriculture” and who doesn’t want to get on board with that?

I’m pretty busy teaching my canning and preserving classes AND I’m usually cooking for an ever-changing number of people at home. My CSA farm makes it  convenient for me to have the freshest produce available and support the farmers that grow it.  I agree that sometimes it can be  challenging to use the random combinations of veggies at pick up each week, but the contents of my basket with their beautiful colors and earthy goodness seem to beg to be used right away! Sometimes it can feel like pressure…and we don’t want that! If you think that a CSA share may be too much for you, be aware that most farms offer half shares .

To start, I wash everything for the refrigerator very well  under cold running water (especially the lettuces) and store  in produce bags (or a pillowcase) in the crisper drawer. I have  read articles that recommend the reverse (wash just before eating) but judging from the various members of  the natural world that have ended up in my rinse water, I have come to  prefer my method. In addition, there is no hassle with last minute veggie creativity. Even the  kids can join right in if the prewash has already taken place.A washed raw carrot is a beautiful thing.Don’t worry about root veggies and sensitive vine produce, they’ll do great without refrigeration.
I have found that the best technique for CSA survival has been to roast a combination of veggies, sometimes slicing the heartier ones (rutabagas,I’m talking about you) into thin round chips,brushing with olive oil ,and baking in a 400 degree oven until browned and crispy. ANY combination is great, and you’ll them up right away. Make some grains, grill some chicken, and eat your veggies! Oh yes- roasted veggies can be frozen flat in a ziplock bag and used for frittatas,soups,and ratatouille.

Dehydrating is another way to preserve  both fruits AND veggies. There are wonderful recipes for making fruit leathers….and even savory tomato leather . Heres a recipe to try: http://wholefedhomestead.com/preserving-the-harvest-tomato-leather/.Enjoy!