CSA Management

I started a subscription with a CSA in January when I went back to work–i.e. no more trolling around the Farmer’s Market on Tuesdays for this lady.  I’d been talking to a lot of people about FFTY before I joined, and the feedback everyone seemed to share is that it was fun until a few weeks in, when they realized they were drowning in bok choi/kale/zucchini.

(N.B. There is good news for baby foodies in this: That which you cannot cook within ten days, puree and freeze.  Even though Babyman has long since finished with purees on their own, I find that ice cubes of veggie puree are an easy way to boost the nutritional value of store-bought marinara, pancake or biscuit mix, and so on.)

Anyway, for anyone thinking of taking the CSA plunge, here are my working mom’s Tips for CSA Management:


  • If your CSA has a website where you can preview the week’s delivery, check it out on Sunday before you do your grocery shopping for the week.  THIS WILL SAVE YOU MONEY: i.e., if you know you are getting two heads of lettuce, don’t buy more.
  • Get a cookbook or bookmark a couple of websites devoted to cooking obscure vegetables.  Once you’ve previewed your delivery, spend 20 minutes looking up the more challenging items you will receive (leeks, anyone?).  Add necessary ingredients to your shopping list.
  • Start keeping smoked salmon, prosciutto, sausage, and good nuts (walnuts or pine nuts) on hand at all times.  All three can be added to super greens and pasta for an instant weeknight dinner.

While my husband covers bath & bedtime, I pour a glass of wine and go through the entire box:

  • Wash all lettuce, peel and chop carrots into manageable chunks, rinse fruit, trim leeks and beets (save the greens!), and so on.
  • Assess what you already have.  If you still haven’t used last week’s zucchini, then this week’s goes straight into the steamer and food processor for freezing.  No reason to let anything pile up.
  • Try to use at least one item in the shipment in your dinner that same night.  If nothing else, this minimizes what you are cramming into your crisper.

This process takes about 30 minutes.  TIME WELL SPENT!  I get my delivery on Wednesday evenings, and to be honest, it would really suck to come home on Thursday to a fridge full of dirty produce that I have no idea how to cook.  Who wants to wash carrots every time you fancy a healthy snack?  By 8pm Wednesday, the hard work is done, and I can get on with the cooking!

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