Summer Week #9: Wednesday, August 6th– Group A EOs
The number one reason people stop doing a CSA is because the veggies they get go to waste.
As your farmers, we are always trying to strike a good balance between giving you good value, yet not overwhelming you. But Mike and I can’t help it – you usually get a lot of items in your box compared to other CSAs. And while it sounds awesome to get so much, it can also backfire and turn many folks away in the long run. If your food goes to waste because you don’t use it all, then suddenly the feeling of good value disappears.
Mike and I are always trying to figure out ways to help you use your food. In our household we cook with vegetable abandon. With 2 adults and 2 wee ones, we easily plow through a CSA box in under a week. But we know this is not so in other households. There is so much learning to be done. CSA membership can represent a fundamental shift in the kitchen.
As, Kristin Kimball, from her book The Dirty Life, describes: “The central question in the kitchen [changes] from What do I want? To What is available? The time spent in the kitchen – in planning, preparing, in cooking – [jumps] exponentially. Moreover, our frost-free growing season is only about a hundred days. To eat perishable food out of season, you have to make the time to can or freeze it while it is fresh and abundant. Those projects are fun and satisfying if you have the time for them, but if you’re working a full-time job while trying to satisfy the needs of your children, they begin to seem sweaty and tedious. Maybe most important, farm food itself is totally different from what most people now think of as food: none of those colorful boxes and bagged products, precut, parboiled, ready to eat, and engineered to appeal to our basest desires. We [are] selling the opposite: naked, unprocessed food, two steps from the dirt.”
Over the years we have been playing around a little with how to help you use your food. Our core effort has been that of sharing relevant recipes. We offer cookbooks for sale at a discount. For years we have been collecting and indexing recipes on our website. It’s a great resource, so try it out! Just type in the veggies you are hoping to cook with and some great recipes will pop up for you.
While our website is a great resource, we wanted to try to offer you even more assistance with your recipes. We were very intrigued by with a local upstart, called Local Thyme. This is the third year we have been working with Local Thyme in some capacity. The first year, it offered specialized menu planning that members could opt to pay for. Then last year, we brokered a deal that provided that same menu planning to all of our members. The deal was very expensive. And through our end of season survey, we learned a surprisingly small number of members were actually using the service. So we downgraded to a more affordable service, with just a couple of recipes each week. And we’re not sure how we feel about the service… whether it offers more than our own website. (feedback is welcomed!)
In a recent discussion with a CSA member about this issue of how to help other members use their food, she suggested I share how I find recipes and what I cooked for the week. So in the name of helping you use your food, here goes:
For recipes, I check our website and sometimes check Local Thyme’s. Often, I just list the handful of vegetables I want to cook with in a google search and see what comes up. Recipes I cook and love, I then save in a wonderful free app (either for desktop or phone) called Pepper Plate. Having a way to save recipes you love is so important! Each year I do less and less recipe hunting, as I am slowly building up my own personal archive of favorites. When looking at recipes, I adapt a lot based on what I have on hand. Learning to loosen the reigns of rigid recipe following has improved and freed my cooking immensely. Last week’s menu:
We are going to continue to try and help you find ways to use all of your veggies efficiently. Please email us with any questions or suggestions or favorite recipes. We’d love to hear from you!
Enjoy your veggies!
Cassie and family