CSA is a great way to get farm fresh food without maintaining your own garden. A CSA program provides members with fresh seasonal food throughout the season. You can feel good about what you eat and know that you are supporting local, not to mention, keeping small local agriculture alive and strong. We need our farmers! At the same time, CSA can take some life style changes, or at the very least, some time commitment that not all of us feel like we have. Here are 5 quick CSA hacks that will help make sure that you avoid the crisper drawer guilt and actually use your delicious food.
- Choose a CSA with a SWAP option: LotFotL Community Farm sends a SWAP box to each pick up site so that members can swap out veggies that they won’t eat for items they are more interested in. Let’s face it, if you don’t like the food, you won’t eat it. You may also know a friend or neighbor that will trade veggies with you.
- Make an EAT list for on the fridge: A good old fashioned magnetic white board works great for this. If you do a quick update of this when you bring your box home each week, it will help you to prioritize what needs eating so you have less waste. You can keep track of left overs that still need to be eaten, veggies left from the week before, and items that have a shorter shelf life from your new box (greens, zucchini, cucumber, lettuce, etc.). Check out Eat By Date and see how to store your veggies and how long they last.
- Make a grocery list and go shopping: If you can figure out how you want to use your fresh veggies and what you will need to do that, you empower yourself to actually use the food with no excuses. If you are more of a fly by the seat of your pants kind of cook, like me, you should make sure that you keep a good supply of staple foods on hand so that when you decide to fly, the seat of your pants won’t let you down. Staples for me are things like, rice, soy sauce, olive oil, vinegar, cheese, flour, spices, noodles, etc.
- Clean and prep items that you will be using soon: If you have more time, say on a Sunday or something, use that day to set yourself up for the week. Go ahead and clean and prep the veggies that you will be using in the next couple of days. After a busy day, knowing your onions and carrots are chopped and ready to go and the broccoli is cleaned and washed already, can make quick work of a stir-fry. It could just be the difference between frozen pizza and a home cooked meal with fresh ingredients. Good storage containers can also help prolong your foods shelf life, an herb container is great, as is good veggie containers.
- Make a batch of rice and keep it in the fridge: I make a batch of rice each week and keep it in the fridge so that I have the foundation for rice bowls, fried rice, and stir-fry type foods at my finger types. Can you tell I am a fan of Asian style foods? They lend themselves so well to quick, delicious food, made with fresh ingredients. Fried rice is fast and versatile, you can make it with so many different food combinations once you understand the basic method. It is also a great way to use gobs of greens all at once, ever use your napa cabbage in a Chinese noodle dish?