Eating the Box

“Exciting and intimidating. . .as a cook I love that CSAs connect me on a much deeper level to the farm and to what is coming out of the field. . .

I have to respond which makes me a more creative and inventive cook.”

Beth Dooley on Appetites from Minnesota Public Radio. 

strawberries
Strawberries harvested late-June 2015 by Jason, Madeline, and Laura at Steady Hand Farm.

A friend of mine recently commented, “I’m celebrating a victory today. I successfully used all the vegetables from my CSA box last week before picking up the next.” No doubt that it can certainly be both exciting and daunting to open the weekly onslaught from your loving CSA farmer. Jason and I face the challenge ourselves. Each winter we purchase a winter share from Foxtail Farm, which is full of fresh and frozen vegetables, along with additional food produced on farm in their commerical kitchen: breads, granola, sauces, spreads, and pies. Yes, pies!

As your farmers, we hope to provide you with a healthy, abundance of in-season vegetables. Figuring out whether the half or full share is the right option for your household is an important, strategic decision when looking forward to your 18-weeks of produce.

We hope these resources will help energize you to approach your box in creative and exciting ways.  Cooking is work. But it is imensley rewarding – in terms of sharing food in community with those we love and for our health (personal and collective).

Feel free to email or contact us with your own recipes or approach to using particular vegetables in your meals.

The Practical Matters. When your box arrives. 

  • Unpack box to put vegetables in the fridge.  Most of what we grow does better with cold storage.  Some exceptions are tomatoes, summer squash, basil and cucumbers.  We’ll try to provide recomendations in the newsletter when appropriate.
  • Plan to eat more perishable items first. Your salad greens, lettuces, spinach, tomatoes, strawberries are all examples of items you will want to eat in the first few days after getting your box.
  • Pack in plastic bags prior to refrigerating. Adding a dry papertowel (or some other absorbent) to your salad mix, can give it a few extras days of life.

The Creative Side. Approaching your box for delicious meals.

  • Mark Bittman. For many years in my twenties, I referenced How to Cook Everything on a daily basis. Lucky for anyone with an internet connection, Mark now publishes short, practical videos of his recipes. He often focuses on vegetables, as he’s grown his awareness of the adverse impact of industrial meat production and over consumption on global climate change and ecological health. Videos can be found here at The Minimalist.
  • Bryant Terry. I can’t make you buy this man’s cook books, but I can try. Bryant Terry is most famous for his work Vegan Soul Kitchen, plus his activism around food justice and food access. Bryant is, “on a mission to teach people how to eat healthier.”
  • Moosewood Cafe is located in Ithaca, NY. Pioneers in the work of collectively run (non-heirarchical: flat, fluid and functional) restaurants they publish their recipes online. Vegetable-centric, these folks are a staple for those of us looking to combine multiple flavors and textures well. Their vegetarian cookbooks are well worth your use in the kitchen.
  • Jason’s favorite is Alice Waters, particularly her book, The Art of Simple Food, which you can purchase from Moon Palace Books (support your local, independent book store!). You can also find some of her recipies and approach to food online with a simple search. Here is her salt & sugar pickle recipe.
  • I don’t mean to oversimplify, but when in doubt, pair your vegetables with really high quality, flavorful (and local!) cheese or meat. We prefer the feta, ricotta, fontina, and so on from Cosmic Wheel Creamery which is mutual effort coming out of Turnip Rock Farm. We also suggest getting your meat direct from Whetstone Farm which raises chickens, turkeys, geese, rabbits, lamb, and pigs.

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