WHAT I WISH SOMEONE WOULD HAVE TOLD ME WHEN I WAS A CSA NEWBIE
Advice from past CSA members.
HELPING CSA-ROOKIES SUCCEED
Expect to make some mistakes! Trial and error is part of how we learn.
Take the tops off your carrots ASAP! Eat the most perishable items first, learn what they are.
Keep your menu simple, meal prep doesn’t have to be fancy to take a long time. Vegetables can be prepped quickly, and they are just as nutritious and tasty when prepared the simple ways with just a few spices.
Storage matters so much. I didn’t store things right, so I lost them.
Try to learn the basic uses of each vegetable.
Eat the most perishable veggies first. This includes things like lettuces, greens and herbs.
Ask yourself “What can we make for dinner?” instead of “What do you want for dinner?”
Learn how to freeze things to use later on in the winter. If you haven’t used it by day 4, I would freeze it.
Act quick when you get home from the pick-up. Store your vegetables properly. Deal with the most perishable items first. Take the tops off your carrots.
Get those green bags, they really extend the life of the veggies once their prepped and cleaned and will lead to less waste in the end.
If you don’t know what to do with something new, you can roast almost anything.
Plan ahead. I changed my meal planning and grocery shopping day till after the newsletter announced what was going into the box that week, so I could plan to use as much as possible of it in my planned meals.
Invest in containers used specifically for storing and extending the life of the vegetables. There are many options on Amazon, but I found ones made by Progressive are excellent.
Process the contents of the box as soon as you get home. Doing this while you’re still excited about the box will help you get over the hurdle of much of the prep work later in the week. You’ll be able to produce your meals that much quicker too.
Read the newsletter so you know what’s coming in your box. You can then start choosing recipes and determine what other things you’ll need. I suggest making your trip to the store the day before or the day after your box pick-up.
Proper storage is the key to longevity and avoiding waste. If not used immediately, roast, bake, blanch or steam whatever possible and freeze for use later in soups or casseroles.
Google is your friends. If you don’t know what to do with a veggie, think of how you would use a similar veggie and do that. Don’t be afraid to try new things or be creative.
Don’t be afraid to use a veggie for breakfast. It’s a great way to use up what you have and start your day off with a mega dose of nutrients.
Print out the guide to using and storing veggies prior to the season and keep it in an easy to reach place in your kitchen so you can access it every week. If necessary, view it each week prior to veggie pick-up so you know exactly what to do with those vegetables when you get home.
Try to clean and prep your veggies the night you get them. It will be a lot easier to incorporate them into meals on busy nights once this is done.
Grill everything! Use marinades, spices, olive oil, balsamic vinegar or whatever else you like to jazz it up.
Look up recipes for veggies you are not sure of to see how you can work them into your meals for the week.
Be willing to do recipe research and experiment with ingredient substitutions. Write down what you did and whether it was successful or not along with suggestions on the recipe page for future use.
The first year was tough. There was just so much food. And we didn’t know what we didn’t know. But you can do it! For it to work, you need to make a commitment. You have to say, “We want to do this.”
You will struggle with using it all. And you’ll feel guilty about wasting food. Realize that you will waste a bit every week, but that you can get to the point where you really feel like you don’t waste much.
It takes time to master the CSA Way. First season you are observing and learning the rhythm of the veggies. Second year you are more prepared.
ARE YOU READY TO JOIN OUR CSA?
Here are the next steps:
- Go to this link to visit our sign-up page. https://dahlinfarm.com/become-a-member/
- Decide what size share will best fit your family.
- Print, sign and mail your form with your payment.