It’s CSA Time!

If you aren’t familiar with the term CSA, it stands for Community Supported Agriculture, and is basically a way for an individual to buy a ‘share’ in a farm and in return receive local, fresh produce weekly from that farm. It’s a great way to support a local business and really get to know where your food comes from.

Our CSA officially started the first week of June and was I ever so happy for the fresh produce! Did you know that lettuce actually has flavor? I know that I for one forget about how good fresh food actually tastes after eating tasteless produce, shipped in from who knows where all winter long.

Early in the CSA season greens dominate and we’re suddenly thrust into eating salads every day, at least once (sometimes twice) and spinach, kale and chard are thrown in just about everything. It makes me feel better just thinking about eating all that green stuff! At the same time if you’re not used to eating that many greens (which most of us, myself included, are not) then it can be pretty overwhelming to figure out what to do with everything and not have your compost pile turn into an outdoor salad bowl.

The most basic way to use your greens is salads, and I’m not talking about ice burg lettuce with some cheddar cheese and ranch dressing. Get creative.

  • Try lots of different types of lettuce and greens. Even though some of them look like they were picked out of the weed pile in the back yard, they add flavor and texture to basics like romaine and spinach.
  • Try different cheeses. Feta is a favorite around here, goat cheese, chunks of parmesan, and mozzarella all make for great additions.
  • Throw in whatever fruits and veggies are in season (or look good at the grocery store) Berries are great, along with apples or citrus fruit. Dried cherries, raisins, nuts, and seeds are all easy to keep on hand and really enhance the variety and texture of salads.
  • And lastly the dressing. Don’t be stuck in the pre-made dressing rut. A simple vinaigrette is an easy way to keep the salad as the main attraction and not just turn it into a ranch-drenched creamy mess.

Simple Vinaigrette

2 parts Olive Oil
1 part acid of your choice (vinegar or citrus juice)
1-2 tsp dijon mustard (works as an emulsifier to keep dressing together)
salt and pepper to taste
Whisk the olive oil into the vinegar and mustard until it comes together. Add salt and pepper to taste.
This is a basic recipe and can be adapted in many different ways, from using different acids to adding in fresh herbs, garlic, shallots, etc.

Use your imagination and change things up. This will keep you and your family eating those greens and enjoying it all summer long!

Check back as we eat our way through CSA season and hopefully get our kids to eat some veggies too!

How many of you participate in a CSA program? What are your favorite ways to eat the multitude of greens?