The Seasonal Challenge: CSA Summer ’14 – Week #1
Last Thursday I felt triumphant in the kitchen. In one day, in two meals, I used: 1/2 pound of spinach, 1 head bok choy, 1 bunch mustard greens, & 2 bunches of kale. (The spinach went into a smoothie for breakfast, and all the other greens disappeared in a wonderful dish called Gumbo Z Herbs from Local Thyme, our recipe service.)
If there was a pin, button, or medal I could wear announcing just how awesome it felt to use all those greens, I would have worn it proudly. My pride was not only in the healthy eating, but also for the accomplishment of efficiently using what’s available from the fields to feed my family – deliciously.
Truly eating with the seasons requires a different game plan in the kitchen. It requires creativity with the same ingredients for chunks of time, only for those ingredients to either gradually or abruptly change to a new set. Winter requires the most ingenuity. From November through April, I pretty much have the same ingredients to work with fruit & veggie-wise in the kitchen: onions, garlic, carrots, beets, potato, cabbage, celeriac, rutabaga, sweet potato, parsnip and then whatever I canned or froze – usually tomatoes, pickles, apple sauce, as well as frozen corn, red peppers, blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries. And as the calendar turns, these ingredients become fewer and their quality lessens, so that by April I am constantly dreaming of kale and fresh salads.
And then… poof! Suddenly I have more leafy greens than I can comprehend! It’s fantastic. A whole new repertoire, specific just to May and early June opens up. My remaining carrots, beets, and potatoes in storage get incorporated into a whole different set of recipes as kale and spinach take center stage in my kitchen.
And thus begins the growing season’s cycle of ingredient spurts. Greens will dominate now, but soon other crops will sneak in and those leafy greens will disappear from your boxes only to return in the fall. The first zucchini will be a delight…. the 14th? A fun challenge. Just when you think there’s no way you can eat another zucchini, the killing frost will come and they’ll be gone (at least locally) for the next 9 months. Oh how I miss zucchini in February…
Seasonal eating is wonderful in so many dimensions, but perhaps the one I love the most is how it brings the cycle of seasons into my kitchen and literally onto my dinner plate.
So whether you are a veteran CSA member or a first timer, embrace the reflection of the seasons you see in your box. And remember – don’t freak out! With the right recipes, in just one day my family can use up 1/2 of your entire week’s share. With 7 (or 14 ) days to use it, you have plenty of time.
You also have plenty of resources readily available to you to help find those recipes. Our website has hundreds of archived, seasonal recipes. We’re also partnered with Local Thyme, a recipe service that focuses exclusively on seasonal eating. It provides a wonderful website – and cool too, because once you sign in, it keeps you signed in… you don’t have to keep entering a username or password.. phew! Click here for directions for linking to Local Thyme.
Cheers – let the bounty begin!
the Noltnerwyss family (Mike, Cassie, Zea & Edie)
In the Box:
- Bok Choy
- Head Lettuce
- Kale, Red Russian
- Salad Mix
- Salad Turnip
Summer Week #1: Wednesday, June 11th” Group A EOs