This year, I decided to try out signing up for a CSA for the first time. When you join a CSA (community supported agriculture), a local farmer allows the public to buy a certain number of “shares” of their crop. You can learn more about the advantages of joining a CSA by visiting Local Harvest’s website, but for me, the biggest advantage is knowing that our produce is grown right down the street from us, without a bunch of chemicals and pesticides. We’ve really enjoyed eating fresh, in-season foods that we might not normally purchase from the grocery store.
Our CSA share is with Palovchak’s Produce in Doylestown, PA, which is conveniently on my way home from work. We purchased a half share, as it’s only the two of us. Every Wednesday afternoon, from May through October, we get to pick up our weekly share of produce. The selection changes week to week, depending on what’s in-season. Here’s a picture of their little farm stand that I grabbed from their page on the Local Harvest site:
The owners of Palovchak’s are so nice! They will usually recommend recipes or tell you how to prepare whatever it is that you’re picking up, if you’ve never tried it before. They post how many of each item to pick up on a little blackboard.
I’ve learned a lot from my experience joining a CSA this year – here are a few tips!
1. Don’t be afraid to try something new! Ever tried kohlrabi? Garlic scapes? Pea shoots? Squash blossoms? Chocolate mint? I can say I have :) Use the weekly produce selection as a way to branch out and give some new recipes a try, too. Here are a few recipes I’ve tried recently:
2. Prep the veggies right away when you get home. I learned the hard way that if I didn’t make it easy to eat all of this produce, I’d let it sit in my fridge for too long. When I come home from picking up my delivery, I immediately fill the sink with a bunch of cold water to wash my greens, then wrap them in a paper towel and store in a plastic bag. I also learned a neat trick for storing fresh corn: dampen a paper bag, store the corn in the bag, and place that bag inside another plastic bag and keep in the fridge.
3. Stay organized. Again – learned this one the hard way. I’ve found it helpful to keep a little dry erase board on the fridge, listing each thing we have for the week. That way, I’m much more likely to use the produce in a recipe, and can reference the list when I’m meal planning for the week.
I hope you find these tips helpful! Have you ever joined a CSA? What did you think? (oh, and happy Friday :) )