Eating in Season: Keeping it Simple

The number one reason members do not stick with a CSA is what I call food guilt – there’s too much stuff and they don’t get through it all.  I’ve found that folks feel quite differntly about produce that comes through a CSA than they get at the grocery store.  We always have a portion of produce form the store go bad, but we still keep buying stuff there – for example, we’ve maybe eaten about 50% of the avocados we’ve puchased at the store in our lifetime before they went bad.

At the farm, to minimize this sitution where members may find themselves overwhelmed with produce they can’t eat in time, we carefully think through the box each week.  We try to give a variety in good-sized proportions – enough of each crop so you can use it in a recipe, but not so much that it’s a burden.  On variety we also try to do about 80% of staple crops like onions and tomatoes and only 20% “different” things like fennel or Asian greens.  Part of the excitement of the CSA is receive something you haven’t eaten before, but too much bok choy makes somes members think this whole CSA deal is crazy.  It’s always hard to know which crops will push people over the edge.  I’ve had members ask for about ten times the amount of fennel is a season and others give me a look like “are you kidding me…I eat this bulb which smells like licorice?”  A tough balancing act at times.

The real key to making CSA work, however, is getting into the groove of eating in season and being a flexible cook.  Everybody cooks differently, sure, but if you’re searching for a magic recipe which uses a bunch of the crops in the box, you could drive yourself nuts.  Instead, I always go off script and think of ways of preparing the veggie as simply as possible.  Especially in the summer, dressing veggies with vinegar and oil to eat raw or grilling/sauteeing veggies with just salt and pepper seasoning makes for great grazing in the evening.

In the box:

  • Melon: Most get a canteloupe, but I had to substitute in a watermelon in some boxes. 
  • Yellow Onions: These are not sweet like we’ve done in the box to date, but cooking onions.
  • Italian Eggplant: See eggplant stacks recipe below
  • Hakurai Summer Turnips: Yes, they look like racquet-ball sized radishes, but these are turnips.  Really sweet and smooth.  Simply peel and slice these and eat with some salt.  You could shred with carrots or cabbage and make a slaw – add sugar and rice vinegar. 
  • Roma Tomatoes 
  • Jalapeno Peppers
  • Red and Green Peppers
  • Cucumber 
  • Celery 
  • Red Cherry Tomatoes 
  • A Little Basil: I included this if you want to do the eggplan recipe in the video.
Epplant Stacks
There are a bunch of recipes like this.  We find this a verstatile dish which lends itself to combining the eggplant with a lot of other veggies in season.  
Eggplant: sliced in rounds 
Panko crumbs or breadcrumbs
3 eggs 
Fresh Mozzarella
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).
  2. Sprinkle both sides of eggplant rounds generously with salt; place on baking sheet for 15 minutes to draw out moisture. Use paper towels to blot moisture from each side of the eggplant slices. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
  3. Whisk eggs in a shallow bowl. Place panko bread crumbs in a second bowl. Dip each side of the eggplant slices in the whisked eggs, then press into the panko crumbs to coat each side. Place slices on a cooling rack on a baking sheet.
  4. Spray the tops of eggplant generously with cooking spray. Bake 8 minutes in preheated oven. Turn each slice, and spray the other side with cooking spray. Bake an additional 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly.
  5. Make stacks by putting slice of mozzarella and leaf of basil between eggplant.  You can put a slice of tomato in your stack too, or cover with spaghetti sauce and top with some olive oil…whatever you’re in the mood for.  We typically serve a stack with three eggplant slices for each person. 

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