It’s no secret I’ve got a teeny tiny competitive streak.
Also ‘teeny tiny’ is code for sizeable, meaning I’ll tackle and take a brother down in order to win, especially if I get to employ my sneaky ninja techniques. Those are my favorites. I’d tell you about them, but then I’d have to kill you, and that could make things awkward between us. You understand.
The point is my scrappy nature is one of the many reasons I enjoy my CSA so much. It challenges me and forces me to think outside the box. It also allows me to have weekly face offs with my farm share veggies, which I of course dominate, because I’m stubborn and slightly neurotic.
Case in point, I have full blown conversations with my produce. They go something like this.
After receiving a sideways glance from the zucchini (you know the kind of look I’m talking about):
“What? Did you say something? Who do you think you’re talking to? Oh hell no. You’re going dooooown. I’ll shred you ass” she says while cracking knuckles aggressively.
To the boatload of beets in my fridge:
“I’m not looking. Nope, no way, you can’t make me. If I don’t see you slowly withering away in the crisper drawer, you don’t exist and therefore I win.”
To the bounty of bell peppers:
“First I’m gonna cut ya. Then I’m gonna stuff ya. After that I’m gonna bake ya, and eventually I’m gonna eat ya. How ya like dem apples?”
Clearly, my CSA is not be the best thing for my mental health.
That being said, I’ve gotten pretty adept at managing all my produce, which means today I’m sharing my knowledge, alongside a dash of crazy, with all of you. You’re welcome.
Tips to Manage CSA and Farm Share Produce
- Make a plan for the items you get in your share. Clear intentions lead to action, although strict adherence is not mandatory. If an alternate plan arises, be wild, throw caution and your cucumbers to the wind.
- Tackle the most perishable items first. The first week in, our Bok Choy was hearty and firm, while the Swiss Chard was limping along, so she got eaten. Only the strong survive.
- Prep your lettuce. Get those greens ready by washing, drying and storing them. If they’re in your fridge raring to go, the odds of you eating a salad are 93% higher. Confession: I made that percentage up; my advice is still sound though.
- Speaking of, be prepared to eat lots of salads. Salads are like froyo; they’re only as good as the toppings so liven them up a little. I often include bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, hardboiled eggs, nuts, onions, radishes, tomatoes, and of course my beloved cheese.
- Feed a crowd. Go to a cook out, bring a dish, and use those veggies, especially the ones in abundance. I’m certain I get invited to parties because they really want the pleasure of my farm share produce. Well that and my killer dance moves; obviously.
- Water is good. As important as it is for us to stay hydrated, the same can be said for your veggies. Soaking carrots and greens in a giant vat of cool water will bring them back to life, making you a Veggie God. You have the power to resurrect spinach from the dead. Talk about badass.
- The Internet is your friend. Clearly, since you found me. Search for new recipes. Try new things. I found fantastic vegan muffins made out of radishes and raisins. Go figure.
- Get the most bang for your buck. If you have a dozen peppers floating around, adding them to a salad might not cut it. Instead, try stuffing them. Bake them all at once and enjoy them all week long. Apply this tip to all your produce.
- This one’s my favorite. Take stock and let the ingredients speak to you. Your produce is a chatty mofo if you’re willing to listen. Case in point:
I see Chili.
I see Ratatouille.
I see Beet Juice.
I see a cheesy breakfast omelet with ramps and English Muffin Bread.
- When all else fails, roast it or toast it (on a Panini).
- Or toss in on a pizza or add it to a pot of soup. Anything smothered in cheese is bound to be a hit. This little number is carrots, green beans and Bok Choy.
- Remember, the freezer is your friend. I made a mountain of Spinach Ramp Pesto which is now safely and happily tucked away in my freezer, next to a bag of Hungarian peppers from last Fall. Mental note: I need to eat those soon.
- Last but certainly not least, do not panic. Alright fine, you can panic for a minute but then step back, take a deep breath, grab a glass of wine, toss on some tunes and tackle your produce. Bonus points for ninja moves.
Do your veggies speak to you? What are you go to tips and techniques for managing your farm share or CSA produce?