As the Community Supported Agriculture movement continues to grow, the question of how to prepare and eat the weekly produce looms large. CSAs can be a wonderful and rewarding experience, but with a CSA share comes a sense of responsibility.
Members may find themselves breaking their normal food buying habits. Instead of planning meals ahead, sketching a shopping list, and hitting up the grocery store before the work week begins, a CSA member does the opposite. They start planning meals around their fresh, weekly produce, which can be challenging enough as they break their grocery shopping habits, but on top of that, members are bound to receive some unfamiliar produce in their weekly box.
It’s easy to get discouraged when you look into your CSA share and see two beets and a handful of garlic scapes and haven’t the slightest idea how to prepare them. Before you panic, push the produce in the back of your fridge and forget all about it, remember: the CSA newsletter that accompanies every box from Earth Dance Farm is your friend! Take a minute to read all about the produce in your box and scan through the recipes until you find one of interest. Then get cooking and enjoy the fresh produce from your CSA.
Here are a few recipes from past CSA boxes that will help you make the most of your fresh produce.
Beet Salad with Dill
Prep time: 15 mins | Total time: 15 mins | Serves: 4
- 4 medium beets
- 2 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon or brown mustard
- 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh dill, minced
- Wash vegetables and peel beets, cutting off stems or dangling roots.
- Shred beets using a food processor with shredding disk or box grater with large holes.
Transfer to a medium serving bowl.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper to taste.
- Whisk in olive oil. Add dill, taste and adjust seasonings as you see fit.
- Drizzle the dressing over the shredded beets and toss to coat. Serve immediately.
Quinoa Chowder with Spinach, Feta, and Scallions
Cook time: 45 mins | Total time: 45 mins | Serves: 5
- 3/4 cup quinoa, any color or variety
- 8 cups (2 quarts) water, plus more as needed
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium garlic clove, finely chopped
(or 2 garlic scapes, finely chopped)
- 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
- 1/2 pound Yukon Gold potatoes
(about 1 large potato), peeled and diced
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
(white and light green parts only)
- 3 cups thinly sliced spinach leaves
(from about 1 bunch)
- 4 ounces feta cheese (about 1 cup)
- 1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 hard boiled egg, peeled and finely chopped
- Rinse the quinoa in a strainer under cold water until the water runs clear.
- Bring the quinoa and the 8 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer until the white outer casings on the quinoa have popped, revealing translucent little beads, about 10 to 15 minutes.
- Strain the quinoa through a fine-mesh strainer set over a large heatproof bowl. Measure the quinoa cooking liquid and add water as needed to make 6 cups; set the quinoa and cooking liquid aside.
- Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the garlic and jalapeño and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the potatoes, cumin, and measured salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until the potatoes begin to soften, adjusting the heat as necessary so the garlic doesn’t brown, about 3 minutes.
- Add the reserved cooking liquid and half of the scallions and simmer until the potatoes are tender, about 12 minutes.
- Add the cooked quinoa, spinach and remaining scallions and simmer until the spinach just begins to wilt, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the feta and cilantro. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Top with the chopped egg and serve.