CSA Week 1

CSA Week 1

I’ve wanted to join a CSA for years, but I had always put it off. If you’re not familiar, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and is a program that allows you to pay a farm a certain amount of money at the beginning of a season (typically summer), and you get a box of fruits and vegetables (and depending on the CSA, sometimes eggs and other items) either weekly or bi-weekly.

I loved the idea of supporting a local farm, but I was nervous that I would be overwhelmed by the amount of produce you get each week. I knew it required a certain amount of money upfront, which in my earlier years I didn’t always have. I also felt unsure about the fact that I wouldn’t get to pick what produce I was getting each week – but at the same time, the thought of getting lots of new-to-me produce and being forced to be creative and cook outside of my comfort zone excited me.  Each passing summer, I decided not to get one (it didn’t help that for the last few years I’ve taken a big trip each summer, which mean I would have to figure out what to do with my CSA haul for two weeks).

This year, towards the end of my trip to Greece, I started thinking about joining a CSA again. I had just bought the domain and set up the backend of madisonsdish.com, and I knew this would be the push I needed to get comfortable with all that fresh produce. So, I did a little research, and found a CSA that I could join late (it was already mid-July at this point). The pickup location was only two blocks from my apartment, and the CSA only had drop-offs every other week (unlike most CSAs, which do every week). I decided to take the plunge!

Here is what was included in my first CSA haul:

  • Eggplant
  • Green cabbage
  • Kale
  • Spring onion 
  • Garlic
  • 3 cucumbers 
  • Carrots
  • Scallions
  • Fennel
  • 1 yellow squash 
  • 1 zucchini 

And here is what I made…

My office is always cold, so I decided to make this carrot, potato, and cabbage soup to bring for lunch every day. This was a solid vegetable soup that is very forgiving – you can modify the recipe a lot and still get great results! I ended up transferring the soup to my Vitamix to puree it, and also added a splash of apple cider vinegar to each portion.

I loved these zucchini fritters! They reminded me of a healthier version of potato pancakes. If you like them crispy like I do, make sure to push the banner down and make them think when you put the mixture into the frying pan so there is more surface area to crisp up.

I love having baba ganoush at restaurants, but I’ve never attempted to make it myself. I made this recipe which came out tasty, but I think I over mixed the dip, as it was really thin. I also had access to a grill, so I charred the eggplant that way instead of broiling it in the oven. Next time I’ll make sure to leave it on the chunkier side, and add a drizzle of olive on top as well. Overall though, I loved the flavor and the short ingredient list!

I also made simple kale chips using the kale I received. Just remove the leaves from the stems, add a thin coat of olive oil and salt, and roast at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes, until crispy. Make sure to watch the chips carefully as they burn quickly!

I love a good zucchini noodle, so I spiralized some zucchini and yellow squash for dinner one night and added my favorite Rao’s marinara sauce. When making zoodles, I always make sure to squeeze out as much water as possible before quick sautéing the noodles (for about 3 minutes) so they don’t taste totally raw. That being said, no matter how I add the tomato sauce (either adding it to the pan or heating it separately), once it joins with the zoodles they always seem to release more water! If you have any tips for me, leave them in the comments below.

Confession time: I do not like carrots. I’m fine eating them in a soup, but eating them raw as a zip or even roasted is just not for me. Luckily, my husband Matt (who barely eats any veggies at all) loved to snack on raw carrots, so he cleaned and peeled the rest of them for himself and has been enjoying them throughout the day.

And that about covers it! Have you ever joined a CSA? I would love to hear what you do with all your fresh produce!

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