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50 CSA Cooking and Storage Tips

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As a CSA member of Taproot Farms, I'm so glad I stumbled upon the cooking and food storage tips list below. Learning how to better cook and store the foods from my CSA box, that I've never used before, has made it easier and more exciting for our household. Learning how to cook new foods is my favourite part of being a CSA member. Every Friday, I still feel like it's Christmas when I open up our CSA box, even though I know what's inside.

In my role as Food Community Builder here at HarvestHand, I recently learned that there are three reasons most CSA members tend to leave CSAs

  1. Too much produce
  2. Too little produce
  3. Not the right product mix or lifestyle conflict (they don't really have a habit of cooking or are unable to build one)

Being curious about CSA's and why members leave or how to ensure members stay (ie. CSA member retention), I asked a number of farms with who have over 80% CSA member retention rate, what they do to retain members. What they said and what I learned in a Practical Farmers webinar on CSA retention was consistent, retaining CSA members is all about managing expectations and providing support:

  1. Provide recipes and or storage tips with every delivery (by email typically, in some cases just reminding member's where to find these tips)
  2. Provide a list of the items in the CSA share or box a few days to a week prior to delivery (often by email and on Facebook)
  3. Clearly communicate to potential CSA members that CSA's are for people who like to cook (at sign-up-online and in person)

#1 is Cooking and Storage tips, so here's the most comprehensive store and cooking resource I could find for farms with CSA's in the northern hemisphere. 

Thank you to our new friends Jody and Jean-Paul at Roxbury Farm for allowing us to share this list with our HarvestHand community.

CSA Cooking and Storage Tips

ARUGULA

Arugula is known for its sharp taste.  Small, tender greens can be eaten raw and larger greens can be sautéd.

Storage Tips

  • Wash and spin dry before placing in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
  • Best if used within 1 week.

Culinary Tips

  • Add small tender greens to lettuce for a spicy addition to salad
  • Make an arugula salad by adding a soft cheese, dried fruits, grated carrots, and walnuts tossed in your favorite vinaigrette.
  • Add to sandwiches and omelettes.
  • Quickly braise or sauté and add to your pasta with grated parmesan.
  • Add cooked arugula to quiche and lasagna.

 BEETS

In the spring and early summer we harvest beets in bunches with their leafy tops. They are small, tender and come with wonderful edible greens. During the fall & winter you will receive larger beets without tops in your share for storage.

Storage Tips

  • Cut off stems one inch from the crown
  • Refrigerate the unwashed beet roots
  • Summer beets will stay in good condition for 2-3 weeks
  • Wash and spin greens and place in a plastic bag in the refrigerator
  • Greens are best when eaten within 3 days

Culinary Tips

  • Raw beets can be grated into a salad
  • Scrub the beet clean, no need to peel
  • Bake the beets to enhance their natural sweetness.  Slice the washed and unpeeled beets into ¼ inch thick slices.  Arrange slices on a lightly oiled baking pan and season with thyme or tarragon.  Add a small amount of water or apple juice and cover with foil.  Put in 350° oven for 25 minutes until fork-tender
  • Beets can also steamed and boiled.  Scrub beets clean but leave skins on until after cooking to minimize color and flavor loss.  Run whole, cooked beets under cold water and rub off the skins.  1 ½ inch beets take 30 minutes to cook in steam and 15-20 minutes in boiling water.  Serve whole, sliced or grated. 
  • Toss grated beets with grated carrots, apples, oil and vinegar dressing.  A touch of plain yogurt makes for a wonderful color transformation.
  • The greens can be steamed, sautéd, and mixed with pasta with cheese.

BOK CHOI

Bok Choi is a very mild Asian cooking green.  It can also be called bak choi or pac choi.  It is a cool weather crop and is grown in the spring and fall.

Storage Tips

  • Wrap Bok Choi is a damp towel or put it in a plastic bag and store in the hydrator drawer of the refrigerator.
  • Store for up to one week.  Leaves will wilt if allowed to dry out

Cooking Tips

  • Separate stalks from main stem and rinse leaves and stem.  Pat dry.
  • For stir-frying separate green leaves from the white stalk.  Chop stalks into 1 inch wide diagonal chunks.  Cut leaves into small pieces. 
  • The stem needs to be cooked a few minutes longer than the leaves. 
  • Bok Choi makes a great stir-fry.  First sauté onions until they begin to soften.  Then add the Bok Choi stems, tofu chunks, soy sauce, and grated ginger root.  Add the bok choi leaves last.  Serve with rice or noodles.
  • Sauté or steam bok choi and toss with a favorite marinade. 
  • Toss cooked bok choi with a light coating of toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, and rice vinegar

BROCCOLI RABE

 An unusual, medium-sharp flavored green widely grown in Italy. It has edible stems, green leaves, and small broccoli-like buds that open up to yellow flowers.  We usually harvest the leaves when they are young & tender before the plant forms the buds.

Storage Tips

  • Spin dry or pat dry greens and place in a plastic bag and refrigerate
  • Greens will hold their flavor for up to a week

Culinary Tips

  • Rinse leaves and pat dry
  • Remove greens from the larger stems and chop
  • Chop stems, some people like to pound the stems to make them more tender
  • 2-3 inch pieces take about 5 minutes to steam
  • Sauté chopped garlic in olive oil for a few minutes and then add the chopped stems and continue to sauté for a few more minutes.  Then add the chopped greens and a few tablespoons of water and cover.  Cook for 3-5 minutes until greens turn dark green and tender but not mushy.
  • Mixed steamed or braised broccoli rabe with pasta and serve with grated parmesan cheese.

BROCCOLI

 Storage Tips

  • Keep unwashed, trimming only the large leaves
  • Store in a perforated, plastic bag in the refrigerator
  • It will keep fresh for several days

Culinary Tips

  • First rinse the broccoli
  • If necessary, soak upside down in cold, salted water
  • Broccoli will take 8-15 minutes to steam, 4-8 to blanch.  Test for doneness by piercing the stalks with a knife point.  The knife will pierce easily, but the broccoli should remain crunchy.  If you plan to use it later cool by plunging immediately in cold water.  Drain and pat dry.
  • Steam or blanch broccoli before sautéing or stir-frying
  • The stalks and stems of the broccoli are edible, too.  They cook in the same amount of time if you peel the outer skin.  Insert a paring knife blade under the skin at the base and pull up.  The skin pulls off easily, breaking off at the buds.  Cut stalks into think julienne strips or diagonal slices for soups or sautés.
  • Combine cooked broccoli with garlic and olive oil, sprinkle with cheese
  • Add to pizza, quiche, and pasta dishes.

BRUSSEL SPROUTS

These plants are a real sight to see in the garden.  The mini cabbage heads develop above every leaf node on the single stalk.  When eaten fresh (within a few days of the harvest)  the taste is that of a refined cabbage. We’ve discovered that the leaves, which are pulled off as the sprouts reach maturity, are quite a delicious cooking green on their own.  As with many of the fall crops, the flavor of brussel sprouts improves with the first frost.

Storage Tips           

  • Keep Brussel Sprouts unwashed in a plastic bag (keep longer on the stalk)                                                                                                         
  • Best if eaten fresh but will last up to one week

Culinary Tips           

  • Remove any damaged out leaves, trim the base & cut a crosshatch in the core to allow for even cooking.                                                                                                                                             
  • For steaming, the smaller sprouts will take 5-8 min. & the large ones 8-10 min.  Test with the point of a knife, they should be tender but retain a slight crunch.  If steamed too long the sprouts will turn grey.                                                                                                                                                                                     
  • If you are not eating the cooked sprouts right away, cool them off immediately to preserve their color & texture.                                                                                                                                                              
  • Season the steamed sprouts with lemon juice, butter, pepper, or parsley       
  • Sprouts can be steamed until barely tender & then halved lenghtwise & sautéd
  • Leftover sprouts are a nice addition to stir-fries.                                                                      

CABBAGE

You will receive 4 types of cabbage in your share.  Early in the season you will receive arrowhead & baby green cabbage. Mid-season you will receive red cabbage.  In the late season we will distribute green cabbage for winter storage.   We ship the cabbage with the outer leaves to protect the head from bruising.

Storage Tips  

  • Refrigerate cabbage in a hydrator drawer.  Do not remove the outer leaves before storage.          
  • Once the cabbage has been cut store in a plastic bag.                                               

Culinary Tips 

  • Trim off outer wilted leaves & quarter the head.  Then remove the core.                                     
  • For salad or coleslaw thinly slice the cabbage & toss with a vinaigrette or make a creamy dressing with plain yogurt, vinegar, honey, dill, & salt.  Add grated carrots or other veggies. 
  • For steaming cut wider slices & cook for 5-6 min.  Top with butter or grated cheese.           
  • Sliced cabbage sautes & stir-fries well.  Adding sliced onions or apples helps reduce the gaseous      
  • qualities of cabbage.                                                                                       
  • Finely shredded red cabbage is a colorful addition to green salads.                                             
  • Boil cabbage for 5 min with chopped onion & add to mashed potatoes                      

barbara's carrotsCARROTS

The early carrots are a smaller, more tender variety and are harvested in bunches with their tops. The late fall and winter carrots are varieties especially chosen for their ability to hold moisture and retain sweetness even after months in cold storage.

Storage Tips           

  • Twist off tops & refrigerate carrots in a plastic bag.                                             
  • For long term storage, pack carrots with moist sand & store in a cool (but not freezing) location.

Culinary Tips 

  • Scrub carrots under running water.  Peeling removes the nutrients located just under the skin. 
  • Eat carrots raw to receive the most nutrients, cut into sticks or grate into many types of salads
  • Slice & steam for 5-10 min or saute in butter, top with honey for a sweet dish.
  • Add to soups, stir-fries, stews, & casseroles.
  • Steam & puree carrots add cream, onions, leeks, freshly grated ginger, or soy sauce for a simple soup.                                                                            
  • To roast carrots, cut in large chunks, dot with butter & place in an oven-proof dish. Cover & bake in a 350° oven for 40 min. 
  • You can also simmer the carrots in a stock instead of butter.

CAULIFLOWER

Storage Tips

  • Cauliflower does not store well.  It can take on a strong odor and flavor.
  • Refrigerate in a plastic bag.  It will keep for about one week.

Culinary Tips

  • Soak head in cold, salted water for a few minutes and then rinse
  • Remove tough outer leaves and cut out core for even cooking.  The head can be left whole or cut into pieces
  • Steam the whole head for 15-20 minutes or 5-10 minutes for florets.  Cook until tender but not soft.  Stop the cooking process by running under cold water. 
  • Cut up raw florets and serve with dip
  • Marinate steamed cauliflower in a favorite dressing along or with other veggies.  Serve chilled.
  • Top with a lemon butter sauce or sprinkle with grated cheese.
  • Use cauliflower puree for a creamy soup base or soup thickener.

 CELERIAC (aka celery root

A softball-sized root with a concentrated celery flavor.  Celeriac is an excellent storage crop.  It is high in carbohydrates, vitamin C, phosphorus, and potassium.  It’s hairy, tough exterior hides a delicious and verstile vegetable.

 Storage Tips

  • Do not wash celeriac before storing.  Place in hydrator drawer in a plastic bag for up to one month.    
  • Celeriac will store for 6-8 months under proper root cellar conditions.

Cooking Tips

  • Make a flat cut at both ends to remove roots & top.  Then cut down the sides from top to bottom with a sharp knife or peel with a vegetable peeler. 
  • Place peeled celeriac into water or toss with lemon juice to prevent darkening of the flesh.
  • Add celeriac cubes to soups & stews.
  • Try raw celeriac strips tossed in your favorite ceramy dressing or use it for dipping.
  • Grate it raw into salads.
  • Boil & mash with potatoes
  • Cut into ¼” slices, lightly coat with oil in a baking pan.  Sprinkle with thyme & salt.  Add a quarter cup of water or apple juice. Cover with foil & bake at 350° for 25 min. or until tender.         

barbara's chardCHARD

 Chard is harvested as a green, leafy vegetable.  Chard is in the spinach family but contains no oxalic acid which makes it easier for us to absorb the nutrients from the chard.  These greens are high in vitamins A, E, & C and the minerals iron & calcium. 

 Storage Tips

  • Place chard in a plastic bag in the hydrator drawer of the refridgerator.
  • Chard is best if eaten within 5 days.                                                                            

Cooking Tips

  • If leaves are large & mature, remove the stem to cook separately.     
  • If the greens are young, cook whole.       
  • Use in place of spinach in most recipes.
  • Saute the leaves in garlic butter or olive oil & garlic.                                    
  • Steam large stem pieces for 8-10 min. & leaves for 4-6 min.                       
  • Raw baby leaves are great in green salads.
  • Toss steamed leaves with olive oil, lemon juice, salt & pepper. OR with seasame oil, rice vinegar or soy sauce.

 

COLLARD GREENS

Collards contain 8 times as much Vitamin A as cabbage & twice as much as broccoli.  There is more vitamin C in a serving of Collards than in a glass of orange juice.  Collard greens become sweet after frost.  Kale and collards can be interchanged in recipes.  

Storage Tips

  • Store in a plastic bag in the hydrator drawer in your fridge.         
  • Will keep well for up to 2 weeks, but best when fresh.

Culinary Tips                

  • Slice out the main rib & slice it into chunks.  Slice the leaves into strips.                   
  • Saute garlic in olive oil, add sliced collards with a bit of water, cover & braise until collards become bright green, about 10 min.  Top with tamari, balsamic vinegar, or toasted sesame oil.  
  • Add collards to stir fries.

CUCUMBERS

Cucumbers are mainly water and once they are harvested they tend to shrivel very fast (for this reason, most commercial cucumbers are sold waxed).   Cucumbers help replenish the fluids & minerals we lose during the hot summer months.  Cucumbers can be an effective skin conditioner because they are high in vitamin E.  Try rubbing an end slice or a peeling to your face for a refreshing experience.

Storage Tips                

  • Store cucumbers in the hydrator drawer of your fridge for up to 1 week.             
  • Sliced cucumbers deteriorate very quickly.                                                        

Culinary Tips

  • Add cucumber slices to a sandwich.                                                                             
  • Use grated cucumbers in raita dressing.                                                            
  • Toss sliced cucumbers with plain yogurt or mayo, fresh dill or dried & salt & pepper.
  • Toss sliced cucumbers with your favorite vinaigrette dressing.   

barbara's eggplant EGGPLANT

One of the nightshade, or Solanacea, family of vegetables which also includes peppers, tomatoes and potatoes.  These plants like to grow in warm conditions and for this reason we plant them out in a bed prepared with black plastic which traps and holds the warmth in the soil.

Storage Tips

  • Eggplant is best eaten fresh.  Best is stored at a cool room temp. & not in the fridge.    

Culinary Tips                

  • Eggplant can be peeled but isn’t necessary, especially with the skinny Asian varieties.                    
  • Slice eggplant & lightly salt.  Let sit for 10-15 min. the squeeze out excess liquid.  This reduces the amount of oil needed to cook the eggplant.   
  • Top pasta with sauteed eggplant.          
  • Grill slices of eggplant with other vegetables.                                                    
  • Dip chunks of eggplant in flour or in eggs & seasoned breadcrumbs.  Saute in hot oil until lightly brown.  Season with herbs, garlic, grated cheese, etc.
  • Add to stir fries or pasta sauce.

 GARLIC AND GARLIC SCAPES

Garlic scapes form out of the top of the garlic plant in early June.  If left on the plant they form small purple bulbils at the tips.  Garlic bulbs are harvested in the middle of July and  can be stored for use all winter. 

Storage Tips

  • Store garlic scapes in a bag in the refrigerator for 1-2 weeks.
  • Garlic bulbs should be stored in a cool, dry, and dark place for quite a few months.
  • Do not store bulbs in the refrigerator.

Culinary Tips

  • Garlic scapes can be chopped up and used just like bulb garlic in any recipe
  • Use garlic scapes instead of garlic in Basil Pesto
  • One medium clove of garlic is equal to 1 teaspoon of minced garlic.
  • Roasting garlic produces a mellower flavor.  Cut of tops of garlic bulbs to expose the cloves, brush with olive oil and bake for 1 hour at 350°.  Squeeze garlic out of the skins and spread on a good bread.
  • For garlic butter use ½ cup of softened butter mashed with four minced cloves of garlic
  • Sauté garlic only until translucent as it will burn quickly and produce a bitter flavor.

GREEN BEANS

Storage   

  • Store unwashed in a perforated plastic bag in the refrigerator
  • Best when eaten within a week

Culinary Tips

  • To prepare, break off the top of the bean at the stem end
  • Best when blanched or steam for 5-10 min
  • Beans are done when the color begins to brighten & become tender (not soft or mushy)
  • If you serving the beans cold in a salad, cook them less so they stay crisp
  • Flavor with butter, lemon juice, sauted onions, or herbed vinaigrette

 

HERBS

 We deliver basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, thyme, oregano, sage, mint, and lemon balm in your share.

 Basil

  • Use it in Italian and other Mediterranean dishes
  • It goes well in soups and sauces, egg dishes, and with spinach, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant, broccoli, peas, and green beans
  • Use your extra basil to make pesto sauce
  • Goes well with tomato-based soups

 Cilantro

  • Adds the extra boost to your fresh summer salsas
  • The strong pungent flavor goes will with beans or beef

 Dill

  • Can be used in salads, soups, fish dishes, sauces, dips, dressings, egg dishes and with many vegetables
  • Use in potato or onion soups.
  • Add near the end of cooking to retain flavor
  • Goes well in breads

Parsley

  • One teaspoon of dried parsley is equal to one tablespoon of fresh parsley
  • Use it in dips, salad dressings, stuffings, sauces, gravies, butters

Thyme

  • Use it in soups, chowders, stuffings, fish dishes, tomato juice, in cheeses, with carrots, celery, mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes, and beets.
  • Add a small amount of thyme to your favorite bread and biscuit doughs
  • Good with vegetable and rice soups

Oregano

  • Use it in pizza and other tomato dishes, omelettes, gravies, beef stew, and lamb dishes

Sage

  • Use it with pork dishes and sausage
  • It is also good in salad dressings, chowder, stuffings, fish dishes, cheeses, and seasoning blends

Mint

  • Use it in desserts and sweet dishes
  • Makes a great hot or iced tea

Lemon Balm

  • Use it to make a hot tea or a refreshing iced tea in the summer

 Other Uses for Herbs

 Herbal Teas: Add boiling water to the whole fresh herb (leaves and stem), let it steep for 10-15 minutes and then strain out.  Try mint and lemon balm iced for a cool summer drink.

 Herbed Oil or Vinegar: over the time the oil or vinegar will take up the qualities for the herb

 Herbed Butter: Mix fresh, finely chopped herbs into softened butter, press into a butter dish, refrigerate until it hardens and use as desired.  Especially good are parsley and garlic or thyme.

 

How to Match your Herbs

Beans: parsley, sage, thyme

Breads: basil, dill, oregano, sage, thyme

Cheese: basil, dill, mint, parsley, sage, thyme

Eggs: basil, dill, oregano, parsley, sage, thyme

Beef: basil, cilantro, oregano, parsley, sage, thyme

Chicken: basil, dill, sage

Lamb: basil, dill, mint, parsley, thyme

Fish: basil, dill, mint, oregano, parsley, thyme

Potatoes: basil, dill, oregano, parsley, thyme

Salad dressing: basil, dill, oregano, parsley, thyme

Soup: basil, dill, parsley, sage, thyme

Sweets: mint, lemon balm

Tomatoes: basil, oregano, parsley, thyme

 Storing Herbs

 Freezing Herbs

 Single Leaf Method

  • Wash and dry herbs completely
  • Place on a cookie sheet in one layer and make sure no leaves are touching.  Cover with aluminum foil and freeze until frozen.
  • Slide the leaves into a freezer bag. 
  • When you need the herbs take a pinch or a handful from the bag and throw them into soups, stews, or sauces

 Ice-cube Tray Method

  • Wash and dry herbs completely
  • Remove leaves from the stem
  • Pack into ice-cube trays leaving a little bit of space at the top.
  • Fill the trays with water and cover with aluminum foil
  • Place in the freezer until frozen
  • Remove frozen herb cubes from tray and put into a plastic freezer bag
  • Add ice cube to soups, stews, or sauces.

 Drying Herbs

  • Wash and dry the herbs completely
  • Bundle the stems of the herbs together and tie with twine or rubber bands
  • If you leave the herbs to dry for a couple of weeks you will want to cover it with a paper bag with lots of little holes in it.  The bag will prevent dust from landing on your herbs.
  • Hang the herbs upside down in a warm, dry, and dark place.
  • Herbs are dry when they crumble easily.  Make sure they are completely dry to avoid mold growth.  If you have an electric drying machine you can put the herbs in the machine for extra drying right before storage.
  • Place dried herbs in an airtight container and store away from light in a cupboard or pantry.

 KALE

Kale is extremely hardy and will take us through the coldest days of fall and early winter.  It develops a slight sweet flavor when it goes through a frost.   It is a very nutritious veggie, high in vitamins A, C, & the mineral calcium.  Kale has the highest protein content of all the cultivated vegetables. 

Storage Tips     

  • Store in a plastic bag in the fridge for up to a week

Culinary Tips    

  • Be sure to wash leaves well as soil sticks in the nooks  & crannies on the leaves            
  • Cut out the tough mid-rib
  • Chopped kale leaves take about 7-10 min to steam & slightly longer to sauté                  
  • Toss steamed kale with sautéed garlic & tamari.
  • Add sautéed kale to mashed potatoes, omelets, quiches, & casseroles.

 LEEKS

Leeks differ from onions in developing more of a layered stalk versus a round bulb.  They are milder in flavor and tougher in texture than the onion.

 Storage Tips

  • Refrigerate leek unwashed with roots attached fro up to two weeks.  Wrap tightly in plastic so the flavor isn’t absorbed by other foods.

barbara's lettuceLETTUCE

We grow a wide variety of head lettuce and salad mix.

Storage Tips

  • Place the lettuce in a bath of cold water and swish it around and then spin dry before storing.
  • Store the lettuce in a plastic bag in the fridge.  Storing the lettuce with a paper towel will often keep the lettuce from becoming soggy.

Culinary Tips

  • Cut leek almost in half length wise.  Dirt collects between the layers so run the leek under lukewarm water to rinse out the dirt.  Be sure to move the layers and check for dirt.
  • Strip off any damaged outer leaves and trim off the roots.
  • You can use most of the green leaves just trim off the very tips.
  • Lightly sauté leeks alone or with other veggies.
  • Add leeks to quiches, egg dishes, casseroles, stews, stocks, and stir-fries.
  • Add cooked leek to mashed potatoes.
  • Puree cooked leeks for a soup base.

ONIONS

Because of the long growing season required for onions, they are the first seeds to be started in the greenhouse in late February.  We harvest one variety as fresh green onions.  These onions will not store well  By late August or September we will have the other two varieties pulled up and sun-curing for a few warm, dry days out in the field, before bringing them in to the greenhouse for the final cure.  Then they are put in large bins and stored in the barn for distribution.  Alisa Craig is the white onion we grow for fresh use.  Mercury is a red, storage variety and Gunnison is the firm, yellow-skinned onions we will grow for winter use.

Storage Tips

  • Keep the fresh onions in a plastic bag in the fridge.  The green leaves can also be used like scallions.
  • Ideal conditions for storage onions are 40-50F and low humidity, otherwise, if onions are stored with warmth or moisture they will tend to sprout.

 Culinary Tips

  • For ease in cutting onions, cut a bit off of both ends and cut onions in half from top to bottom.  If necessary, cut out the core from the base.  Peel skin off with the edge of your knife and lay the cut surface down on the cutting board.  Keep the onion intact while you make length-wise slices from one side of the curved onion half to the other.  Then rotate the onion a quarter turn and make crosswise slices.  If you can manage to hold the form intact you will end up with a uniformly chopped onion.
  • Many and varied are the dishes seasoned with onions: quiche, soup, stew, grain-based casseroles, and vegetable stir-fry
  • Save onion skins for the stock pot
  • Cut a whole onion into quarters and then half the quarters to make wedges.  Bake these on an oiled baking pan with a bit of liquid (water, vegetable stock, apple juice) added to prevent sticking.  Season with dried thyme or rosemary, cover with foil and bake at 350-400 F for 30 minutes.  Alongside the onion wedges, prepare other root vegetables (carrots, potatoes, parsnips, rutabaga, sweet potatoes) and bake these together.

PARSNIP

Parsnips are one of the umbelifers, the family that includes carrots, parsley, dill, fennel, celery, and Queen Anne’s Lace.  Parsnips are notably less dense than carrots and develop their full sweetness after they have gone through a frost.  Parsnips contain more vitamin C than a carrot and are high in potassium and vegetable protein.

Storage Tips

  • Trim off tops and refrigerate unwashed in a plastic bag for up to two weeks.

 Culinary Tips

  • Scrub parsnips with a vegetable brush, peeling isn’t necessary.
  • Cut parsnips into uniform pieces for even cooking.
  • Boil 1-inch chunks for 8-10 minutes
  • Mash cooked parsnips and serve with butter
  • Combine potatoes, carrots, and parsnips for a root mash
  • Grate parsnips raw into salads
  • Curry powder is often used to season parsnips
  • Roast with other sliced root vegetables
  • Sauté thin strips with butter
  • Add to soups and stews

barbara's peppers PEPPERS

All green peppers are unripe red or other colored peppers.  We grow green to red bell peppers and “Italia” peppers, which are long and thin.  This variety turns red and sweet quickly and is great for roasting.  Peppers are high in iron and vitamins A,C, and E.

 Storage Tips

  • Ripe peppers spoil faster than green peppers.
  • Store in the fridge for up to a week, unwashed

 Culinary Tips

  • For greatest nutrient retention eat peppers raw
  • Add raw strips to salads and sandwiches, eat strips with your favorite dip
  • Roast peppers, place red pepper over hot coals or an open flame on your grill.  Toast it, turning often, until the skin is evenly blackened.  Place pepper in a brown bag for 10 min. to steam.  Skin will peel off easily with a knife.
  • Marinate and grill peppers.

POTATOES

Potatoes are one of our most popular crops.  If eaten with the skin on potatoes are high in potassium.  If combined with meat, dairy, or grains they will form a complete protein.  Potatoes are a good source of complex carbohydrates.

Storage Tips

  • Refrigerate baby new potatoes if not used within 2-3 days
  • Most potatoes will hold at room temperature for up to two weeks.
  • Store potatoes out of the light or skin will turn green.
  • For long storage, keep potatoes at 45-50 degrees F in a dark, humid place

RADISHES

This is the first root vegetable of the season, offering bright color to your first share.  Radishes are in the brassica family (broccoli, cabbage family) having that familiar mustardy bite.

Storage Tips

  • Store radishes for up to 2 weeks in a plastic bag for damp cloth in the fridge.

Culinary Tips

  • Slice or grate raw into salads
  • Do not peel, just scrub clean
  • Use in soups or stews
  • Steam radishes for 8-12 minutes until tender but not mushy.  Roll in butter and salt and pepper
  • Use radish green like any other cooking green
  • Add radishes to stir fries

RUTABAGA

Rutabagas are a sweet addition to fall crops.  They are high in vitamins A, C, and calcium.  It is believed to be a cross between a turnip and a cabbage.

Storage Tips

  • Will store at room temperature for up to a week
  • Store in the fridge for up to a month

Culinary Tips

  • Scrub rutabagas with a vegetable brush and trim off the tops and roots
  • Peel off the rough outer skin
  • Grate raw into salads
  • Make a winter coleslaw with grated rutabaga, celeriac, carrot, diakon, and an apple with chopped parsley and a lemon/oil dressing.
  • Steam 1-inch chunks for 30 min.  Serve with butter and salt and pepper.
  • Mash with potatoes
  • Roast with other root vegetables

SCALLIONS

Scallions are a nice addition to the early shares in the spring.  They can be eaten raw or added at the last minute to cooked dishes.  They have a much milder flavor than onions.

Storage Tips

  • Pat dry and store in a plastic bag in the refrigerator

Culinary Tips

  • The white and green parts of the stem are both edible.
  • Cut off the root tips and discard.
  • Chop into fine pieces and add to salads, dips, and salad dressings
  • Sprinkle onto finished stir-fries or soups
  • Add to omelets and quiches.

 SPINACH

Spinach is a nutritious green, although the nutrients are hard to absorb due to the oxalic acid found in the green.  It is high in vitamins A and C.  Vitamins are best retained with little or no cooking.

Storage Tips

  • Dunk spinach in a cold water bath and then spin dry
  • Store in a damp towel in a plastic bag for up to 1 week.

 Culinary Tips

  • Steam spinach for 5-8 minutes
  • 2-3 lbs of spinach cooks down to 2 cups
  • Toss with olive oil, lemon juice, diced garlic, fresh basil leaves, and feta cheese for a salad
  • Toss tender raw leaves into pasta
  • Add spinach to quiche, lasagna, or other baked dishes
  • Substitute spinach for chard in other recipes

 SUGAR SNAP PEAS

Eat these peas in the pods.  They are best just after they are harvested before the sugars turn into starch.  They are a good source of vitamins A, C, K, and the B’s, along with being high in vegetable protein, carbohydrates, and fiber.

Storage Tips

  • Use as soon as possible.  Refrigerate in a plastic bag for 3-4 days.  Storing peas will cause them to lose some of their sweetness and crispness.

Culinary Tips

  • Snap peas need stringing.  Snap of the stem tip and pull downward to remove the string
  • Cook quickly, no more than 2 minutes.  Add butter or serve plain.
  • Add to stir fries or chilled marinated vinaigrette style salads.

barbara's zucchiniSUMMER SQUASH:  ZUCCHINI AND YELLOW SQUASH

Tastiest when fresh and relatively small sized.  They dehydrate rapidly.  Summer squash is easily digested, nourishing and cooling, perfect for July and August.  They are also a good source of vitamins and calcium. 

Storage Tips

  • Summer squash dehydrates quickly.  Store in the hydrator drawer of your fridge for a few days.

Culinary Tips

  • Try raw summer squash cut into stick with your favorite dip or in salads.
  • Cut into chunks add to summer soups and pasta sauce.
  • Grill thick slices for 3-4 minutes over hot coals, then 5-8 minutes on the side of the grill. Baste with marinade.
  • Sauté onions in butter or oil, add summer squash and sugar snap peas.  Then top with parmesan cheese and serve over pasta.
  • Stuff patty pan squash with buttered fresh bread crumbs sautéed with garlic and fresh herbs.  Heat through and serve.
  • To remove excess water and prevent soggy, cooked dishes: Lightly salt the grated or thinly sliced squash.  Place in a colander and let stand for 30 minutes.  Some water will exude during the resting period.  Much more will come out when squeezed or patted with paper towels.  If you wish, rinse to remove the salt.

 SWEET CORN

Sweet corn is best the day you pick it up.  If you wait a few days it becomes starchy and less sweet.  Corn combined with most beans or dairy forms a complete protein.

Storage Tips

  • Refrigerate immediately with the husks on.  Use as soon as possible.

Culinary Tips

  • You might find a worm or two in your ears.  Just cut out the damaged parts, the rest of the ear is still good.
  • Steam corn in 1-2 inches of water for 6-10 minutes or drop ears into boiling water for 4-7 minutes.
  • Roast unhusked corn ears in the oven or grill for about 20 minutes.  Soak corn in water before grilling.
  • Older corn can be cut off the ear and used in chowders, salads, baked dishes, etc.
  • Mix corn kernels with red peppers and sweet onions.  Toss with lemon juice, oil, and your favorite fresh herbs.  Marinate for one hour before serving.

 SWEET POTATOES

We cure our sweet potatoes in the greenhouse for a few weeks to improve their sweet flavor and their ability to store.

Storage Tips

  • Store in a cool dark place for about a month
  • Do not wash until just before you use them

Culinary Tips

  • Scrub well before cooking
  • The skin is edible so you don’t need to peel them
  • Bake sweet potatoes whole at 350° until soft when pricked with a fork.  Split open and add a pat of butter
  • Slice sweet potatoes into chunks and toss with olive oil, thyme, salt, and pepper. Roast at 350° for about 45 minutes.  Add chunks of potatoes and carrots for a winter root bake.
  • Chop sweet potatoes into very small cubes.  Heat butter in a sauté pan and add sweet potatoes.  Add cinnamon and ginger and sauté until soft and tender.  Serve with rice. 
  • Sweet potatoes go well with butter, cinnamon, orange, ginger, brown sugar, maple syrup, pecans, and walnuts.

TATSOI

Tatsoi is a very mild Asian green that can be eaten in salads or sautéd.  It is a nice replacement for spinach as it doesn’t have that sharp bite like spinach.  We have found it to be a favorite with kids because of its mild flavor.

Storage Tips

  • Wash and spin dry before storing in a plastic bag in the refrigerator
  • Best if used with-in one week.

Culinary Tips

  • Small, tender leaves can be added to salad mix for extra flavor
  • Add to your sandwich, burrito, or omelette.
  • Sauté with garlic for 2-5 minutes and add to pasta with grated cheese.
  • Add at the last couple of minutes to your stir-fry
  • To braise sauté garlic for 2-3 minutes then add tatsoi and a few tablespoons of water.  Cover and cook for 2-5 minutes.  Watch for the green color to brighten.  If cooked much longer the greens will be mushy.
  • Toss braised or sautéd tatsoi with sesame oil, rice vinegar, and soy sauce.  Srinkle with toasted sesame seeds. 

TOMATOES

Tomatoes are second in popularity only to potatoes in the United States.  We grow small salad tomatoes, cherry, plum, and heirloom varieties. 

Storage Tips

  • Hold tomatoes at room temperature for up to 1 week
  • Cut tomatoes deteriorate quickly
  • Not fully ripe tomatoes will continue to ripen stored out of the sun at room temperature
  • Make sauces, salsas, and purees for winter eating.

Culinary Tips

  • Sauté, bake, broil, grill, or eat them raw
  • Slice tomatoes and arrange on a plate.  Drizzle with olive oil or a vinaigrette, chopped fresh basil or parsley and salt and pepper.
  • Add tomato chunks to summer soups and pasta sauces
  • Sauté plum tomatoes and add to an omelet
  • Hollow-out partially, stuff and bake or grill
  • Roast halved tomatoes on a lightly oiled baking pan in a 250„a oven for 3 hours (season with minced garlic and fresh, chopped basil before you pop them in the oven)

 SPRING (BABY) TURNIPS

Turnips are in the brassica (cabbage) family.  They are one of the most ancient and globally used vegetables.  The baby turnips in the spring are sweet and their greens are tender and delicious.  Both the root and the greens are good sources of vitamins and minerals.

Storage Tips

  • Store turnips unwashed in plastic bag in the fridge for 1-2 weeks
  • Store the greens separately in a damp cloth or a plastic bag.  Use as soon as possible

Culinary Tips

  • Scrub turnips with a vegetable brush.  No need to peel
  • Grate raw into salads and slaws
  • Steam 1-inch slices for 12-15 minutes
  • Bake turnips for 30-45 minutes at 350 degrees F basted with butter
  • Roast along with roasting meats
  • Saute garlic in olive oil, then add thin slices or turnips, when the turnips are almost done, add the turnip greens.  Saute until greens are bright green but not mushy.  Serve with tamari.
  • Dice turnips and add to soups or stews or stir-fry
  • Mash turnips like potatoes
  • Use turnip greens as you would other cooking greens

barbara's butternutWINTER SQUASH

Winter squash has 10 times more vitamin A than summer squash.  Winter squash varieties are mostly interchangeable in recipes.  Although the many different types of winter squash look quite different on the outside, their flesh is quite similar.

Storage Tips

  • Winter squash will store at room temperature for at least a month
  • Store for several months in a cool (50-55 degrees) and dry location

Culinary Tips

  • 1 lb of trimmed raw squash equals 2 cups cooked squash
  • Boil or steam 1-2 cubes for 15-20 minutes.  You can peel before or after cooking, but let it cool first.
  • Mash cooked squash with butter
  • Add chunks to stews and soups
  • Cut in half carefully lengthwise, scoop out the seeds.  Place flesh down in a baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30- 60 minutes depending on size.
  • Butternut squash are a good substitute for pumpkins in pie
  • Add butter and maple syrup or brown sugar to bake squash
  • Cook squash chunks along side roasting meats.

Image source: https://www.fix.com/blog/farm-to-table/



How to Eat Well on $4 per Day

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One of many the reasons I joined a Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) (besides better taste, quality, convenience, reduced emissions, eating better, supporting a farm, my work here at HarvestHand etc.) was to get affordable organic produce. I'm a proud CSA member of Taproot Farms.

Earlier this week I was delighted to discover The Good and Cheap- Eat Well on $4/Day book. It's an awesome and free 89 page book created by Leanne Brown as her final Master's Thesis Project for Food Studies at New York University. The book has been distributed to over 71,500 communities around the world and includes recipes are easy to make and delicious.

I particularly love page 5:

Tips for Eating and Shopping Well

  1. Buy Foods that Can Be Use for Multiple Meals
  2. Buy Food in Bulk
  3. Start Building a Pantry
  4. Think Weekly
  5. Think Seasonally
  6. More Vegetables Means More Flavour"

Here are a few snapshots from the Eat Well on $4/ Day book:

Eat Well on $4 per day good and cheap

Brussel Sprouts Hash CSA recipe

Kale Salad


Download Eat Good and Cheap


 

 

 



What if Nova Scotia had a local currency

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I just received this awesome press release (see below) about iconic CSA farmer Robyn Van En and the local currency called "Berkshares" from the Schumacher Institute. Susan Witt, Executive Director, and Alice Maggio, Local Currency Program Director (awesome title right?), of the Schumacher Institute, both spoke at the Local Prosperity Conference in Annapolis Royal about sustainable models for local prosperous economies. In my opinion, these models are far more exciting and "with the times" than the models discussed in the One Nova Scotia Now or Never Report

At the Local Prosperity conference, Susan Witt talked about building a new prosperous and responsible economy without growth. She suggested that the Community Supported/Shared Agriculture CSA model should be expanded to create a new model called Community Supported Industry. While it's not a new idea to have community supported industry, building a community supported or shared economy today requires new branding, local first promotion strategies, and financial and regulatory structures (policy, investment, currency etc.) to make it work. Witt suggests that building a prosperous local economy starts with something very simple, "dusting off" the local business plans of successful small town businesses and kick-starting them with new branding and community investment. Witt says that in Massachussetts, their successful model for responsible local prosperity started with local promissory notes or bonds, the Community Supported/Shared Agriculture (CSA) model, and local currency (Bershares). Since Nova Scotia already has CSA Community Economic Development Investment Funds (CEDIF's) and Crowdfunding as models for community investment, maybe it's time Nova Scotia gets its own local currency.

We've already seen examples of farmers market dollars (Wolfville Farmers Market), farm dollars (Wild Rose FarmTruro Dollars, Let's Antigonish....what if we had Blue Nose Dollars? (open to name suggestions :-) )

Sidebar: I would be happy to connect anyone who reads this article and is working on a re-localization strategy with Susan or Alice. There are other's in the province who have explored different local currency models, why not have them come a present to your local business or community association? 

The Awesome Press Release about the Berkshare Local Currency that inspired this post.

AFTER NINE YEARS, THE U.S. TREASURY FINALLY CATCHES UP WITH BERKSHARES, PLANS TO FEATURE A WOMAN ON THE TEN SPOT
 
Dear Duncan Ebata,

Following the example set by BerkShares, Inc., the U.S. Treasury announced last Wednesday that a woman would appear on the 10-dollar bill beginning in 2020. The announcement comes nine years after BerkShares, Inc. issued BerkShares, a local currency that features a woman.
f268b23e-23d3-4dd5-8761-31e667d7c009.jpgRobyn Van En, who graces the front of the 10-BerkShare note, was the organic farmer who founded the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) movement in the United States and applied the CSA concept at her farm in South Egremont, Massachusetts, Indian Line Farm. In the 30 years since Indian Line Farm was founded, CSAs have become understood and adopted by thousands of communities around the world, but when Robyn Van En was pioneering the model in the mid-1980s, it was revolutionary.
Photo by Clemens Kalischer
In a CSA, a consumer pre-purchases a share of a farm’s production for the whole growing season. This gives the farmer access to much-needed capital at the beginning of the season and cuts down on marketing costs. It allows the customer to share the risk of farming and use their buying power to support the local food producers that they wish to see thrive.
 
Robyn Van En died tragically young in 1997, but her work lives on at Indian Line Farm, which continues to produce abundantly for residents of the Southern Berkshires. The land is now owned by the Community Land Trust in the Southern Berkshires and leased on a 98-year basis to organic farmers Elizabeth Keen and Alexander Thorp, who own the farm business, the farm house, and all improvements on the land. The Nature Conservancy holds the conservation easement on the property. Learn more about this ownership arrangement on our website.
Photo by Jason Houston
BerkShares were issued by BerkShares, Inc. in September of 2006 in partnership with community banks and locally owned businesses. Because the currency was created to encourage and allow for community support of the Berkshire economy, its design celebrates the region’s landscape and the accomplishments of its people.
 
Van En takes her place on the 10-BerkShare note among four other figures from the Berkshire Region of Western Massachusetts who made their mark nationally in the realms of politics, culture, social change, and environmental activism. The 1-BerkShare note features a Stockbridge Mohican, representative of the first people of the region. The 5-BerkShare note boasts W.E.B. DuBois, the civil rights activist and founder of the NAACP, who grew up in Great Barrington. The 20-BerkShare note displays a portrait of Herman Melville, the writer and environmentalist. Norman Rockwell, beloved illustrator of 20th-century American life, appears on the 50 BerkShare note.

4c2b744f-759d-4767-8622-dece682ef1b1.jpg
 
The back of each BerkShare note features the work of a different highly regarded contemporary artist living and working in the Berkshires. Observers frequently comment on the beauty of the bills. “What could be better than money that has history on the front and artwork on the back? I mean, really! They’re not only beautiful, but the idea is beautiful,” remarked Van Shields, executive director of the Berkshire Museum, in a recent interview. The paintings by Bart Elsbach, Morgan Bulkeley, Jr., Janet Rickus, Warner Friedman, and Joan Griswold and the woodcut by Michael McCurdy represent different aspects of life in the Berkshires, from the mountains to Main Street.

dfb35d31-9cdb-4fc8-9844-5e54f7808c57.jpg
 
“What’s so nice about BerkShares is that they’re telling stories about the community through the currency,” said Beryl Jolly, executive director of the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center in Great Barrington, an arts organization that accepts BerkShares.
 
1bbffd26-c497-47e9-b927-c0e397e3e122.jpg
The announcement that a woman will appear on the 10-dollar bill in 2020 comes on the heels of an online campaign to replace Andrew Jackson’s portrait on the 20-dollar bill with the portrait of Harriet Tubman. Although Secretary of the Treasury Jack Lew will ultimately decide whose portrait will appear on the 10-dollar bill, he has welcomed input from the American people about who they would like to see.
 
One community in Massachusetts has already chosen to put the heroes, the artwork, and the images that best represent their values on their currency. It remains to be seen whether the U.S. Treasury’s next redesign of the dollar will follow suit!

Best wishes,

The Schumacher Center Staff

 



Slow Fish: Know Your Fisherman” Documentary

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Canada, June 17, 2015 – Slow Fish Canada, part of the nation’s Slow Food movement, aims to protect and celebrate our diverse seafood from Coast to Coast. To this end, it has just released a new documentary called “Know Your Fisherman” that invites all Canadians to engage in finding local solutions to support a better management of our freshwater and marine resources.

The documentary - that can be found below - is built by a series of short stories told from the Pacific to the Atlantic, including an inland fishery success story in the Okanagan and an urban piece from Toronto. “Every single story expresses a desire to manage this largely wild food source in an ecologically sustainable way, by strengthening the bonds the people consuming these foods have with both the resource and the people harvesting that resource”, explains Kevin Kossowan, director of the movie.

SLOW FISH - KNOW YOUR FISHERMAN from Kevin Kossowan on Vimeo.

“We need to start connecting with our fisherman, enjoying wild Canadian seafood, and taking back our coastlines, lakes and rivers before they are lost forever”, adds Brooke Fader, founding member of Slow Fish Canada and leader of the Slow Food Vancouver Island and Gulf Islands convivium. “This film is not only an attempt to highlight some of the challenges our fishers are facing, but it also means to show Canadians that we have a vibrant fishing heritage in this country that we are losing.”

Steelhead Trout

Steelhead Trout

Overview of Slow Fish

The Slow Food movement is based on three core values: good, clean and fair food, in this case, fish. Fishing is a particularly critical issue nowadays, given the privatization of the people's wild food resources, the lack of access to local fish, the pollution of the oceans and its impact on the livelihood of small-scale fishing communities. Among others, Slow Fish recommends to follow these basic guidelines to switch to a more responsible fish and seafood consumption:

  • Choose fresh and traceable seafood
  • Support local fishing communities and processors
  • Seek out seafood that has been sustainably harvested
  • Broaden your seafood tastes: consider lesser known and undervalued species
  • Eat seafood that is in season and is mature of size

As a general rule, support low volume, high value fisheries, not high volume, low value ones. People who are interested in knowing more can follow Slow Fish on their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SlowFishCanada

Canadian Fisherman Slow Fish

Fader concludes: “Our true natural resources are our wild foods – we need protect and celebrate them and the people who are stewards of these lands and waters. Traceability in our food is the most powerful and genuine tool we have.”

Slow Food in Canada and Slow Food Youth Canada

Slow Food in Canada is a collaborative team comprised of Slow Food networks from coast to coast. I (Duncan) believe that Slow Food in Canada and especially Slow Food Youth does and will continue to help support and foster the Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) movement through building good, clean, and fair food culture. I believe this so passionately, that I've joined the Slow Food Canada Board and I am a founding member of Slow Food Youth Network Canada and Slow Food Youth Annapolis Valley. For more information: www.slowfood.ca

Slow Food Youth Canada

About the Slow Food movement

Slow Food is an international non-profit organization funded by its members in 150 countries with over 100,000 members in 1500 convivia. Its cultural, environmental and social mission is the recognition of the central role of good, clean and fair food. For more information: www.slowfood.com

- 30 -

Contact:

Brooke Fader

Founding member of Slow Fish Canada

brooklyn.f@gmail.com

 

Caroline Cloutier

Slow Food in Canada Communications Coordinator

caroline@slowfood.ca



Story Map of Farming Inventions Through the Ages

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Here's a wonderful example a new media project that tells a story with a map. I can imagine that this could bring an agriculture region's story alive in a whole new way. 

As you can see, these story maps can be embedded in any website page. Cool, right?

I started making my own about the story of our HarvestHand CSA Software and was surprised how easy it was. Mine's not ready yet, but here's a sneak peek.

Fun fact: Story Map is a Northwestern University Project and it's free!


Make your own and view more stories at: https://storymap.knightlab.com


Big thanks Sinead at Farmers Journal for creating this map and sending it to us.