Hi CSA Members!
Make sure to whip out your Italian cookbooks or your fave Italian recipes for this share. We’ll be packing it with a lot of tasty ingredients used in Italian cuisine! (And generally speaking, this is going to be a very big share. Hope you enjoy!)
Just a heads up: CSA delivery will be taking place on Wednesday evening this week rather than Tuesday (tomorrow). Be sure to leave your empty cooler out with ice packs then!
What you’ll be getting:
- Shiitake Mushrooms
- Red Round Slicer Tomato
- Large Heirloom Tomato
- Bunch Sweet Italian Basil (Genovese Basil)
- Bunch Oregano
- Lacinato Kale Bunch
- Head Lettuce
- Green Zucchini
- Yellow Crookneck Summer Squash
- Patty Pan Squash
- Green Beans
- Rainbow Baby Beets
- Sweet Onion
Tomatoes and basil are considered a “holy grail” pairing, one that is especially revered (and featured in) Italian cooking. Oregano is another great one (it helps round out tomatoes and basil in tomato sauces and Italian gravies, for example), while Lacinato kale (also known as Tuscan kale, from Tuscany, Italy) is the star green for Italian cuisine and our share (and a favorite variety of kale among chefs – very tender, flavorful, and nutrient-dense!)
Can’t forget zucchini of course, a notable Italian vegetable (with a very Italian name).
Don’t want to cook Italian with all these ingredients? No problem. Cucumbers, sweet onion, baby beets, lettuce, and shiitake mushrooms in this week’s share will allow you to explore plenty of other avenues, too!
So Many Items in My CSA Share! Here’s How To Make Them Go The Distance
One thing we’ve heard many people say about CSA’s in general (whether they’re in one or considering one): you get too much food, you get overwhelmed, and then it all goes bad. It’s true this can happen: this is a tendency in some CSA’s (though not all of them, but you can run into this possibility depending on the farm or the farmer).
Part of the whole deal with a CSA is that you are signing up for both the “Risk and Rewards” of supporting your farmer with a whole share. You get whatever they have available on the farm.
But part of this is that you might get a lot of what a farmer happens to have, and sometimes that is something quite perishable (in the springtime, this might be greens, like kale) or something you might not be too excited about.
Not only might it be quite the task to keep up with cooking it all in one week (and in new, creative, appetizing ways that keep you excited), but you might also get a little exhausted of getting it over, and over, and over… and coming up with new ways to eat it (or even finding time to figure out how to eat it, for that matter).
So, to get the most out of the cost of your CSA share and ensure nothing goes to waste, here’s what we recommend for certain items:
- You don’t have to eat those root vegetables right away.
Store them in a cool, dry place (the crisper drawer of your fridge is alright) at a temperature of between 32 and 40 degrees Fahrenheit, optimally (according to Modern Farmer). That immediately makes things like beets, potatoes, and even that enormous turnip in your share less daunting, and you don’t have to feel the pressure of using it right away. You can actually even wait a few weeks (sometimes months, depending on the root vegetable) before you even use it.
This goes for winter squash, too. As for onions, if you get sweet onions in your share, be sure to use them up before any storage type onions you get. Owing to their higher sugar content, sweet onions will go bad before your storage bulbs – while the latter you can keep just like other root veggies up to a few months in some cases.
- Can’t eat all those greens? Blanch and freeze them.
It’s actually pretty quick and easy and takes almost no time, and I’ve done it many times in the autumn as our kale slows down production and dies back – I harvest any leftover leaves, blanch, and then freeze them. The Spruce has a good little tutorial on how to do it. It’s worth it.
Now you have greens with plenty of nutrients left in them still for the winter. It’s a great method to do with any excess kale, collard greens, swiss chard, arugula, and spinach you just can’t seem to get through (sadly, it doesn’t work so great for lettuce).
These frozen greens can then be cooked, added to sauces/pastas/soups, and they’re still tasty enough to throw into a smoothie or into the juicer. For that matter, a lot of other produce can be blanched and frozen, not just greens: like summer squash, green beans, sugar snap peas, and lots more.
- Make sure to store your tomatoes outside of the fridge.
This is a big one. We tend not to try to overload our members with tomatoes (although we know that they’re probably the most exciting item to people in the summer), but simply “not being in the mood” for tomatoes (or getting sick of tomatoes in summer) is a very, very, very real thing.
So, make sure to avoid storing your tomatoes in the fridge if you don’t want to get to them right away. They keep much, much longer at room temperature, anyway (and you’ll notice them going bad much sooner than when you leave them out of sight and out of mind in your crisper drawer).
- Keep mushrooms refrigerated in paper, not plastic.
Can’t get to your shiitake mushrooms right away (or oyster mushrooms, or lion’s mane mushrooms, which CSA members might get in the future from our farm)?
You’ll get your shiitakes delivered to you in your share in a small plastic bag, but if you can’t cook them within a few days to a week, move them to be stored in something like a brown paper bag. This will definitely extend their shelf life to over one week, sometimes even two weeks, because it helps “wick” excess moisture away while still keeping some of it in to prevent your mushrooms from drying out too much.
If some brown spots form on mushroom gills, don’t worry – that is just oxidation, your mushrooms are still edible! It just makes them look a little ugly.
It can be a chore to stay on top of all your CSA share produce (especially if you get a lot of certain items at once). This is one of the reasons why our CSA is set up a little differently: we start in July (when we are at the peak in our produce variety) and end our subscription with Fall produce that includes what is available not only in Autumn, but ALSO what’s available in Spring (so you get it all!)
Have any questions about your CSA share and what’s in it?
Never hesitate to ask! Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Adrian & Will | Jupiter Ridge Farm