Cooking Adventures with Community Supported Agriculture

CSA Haul from 1 week in September: Okra, tomatoes, onion, yellow squash, zucchini, cucumber, eggs, watermelon, butternut squash, and orange bell peppers

One more year of our Berry Creek Farm CSA has come to an end. (Learn about their CSA here, or see my previous posts about it here)   This is my second year with the CSA and I’ve learned a lot. I was amazed at the different types of produce we got from the CSA this year than last year! With the kinder weather and whatever the farmer was doing differently, we had a wider variety of produce types throughout the season, and several different types of veggies and fruits in each bag (along with our fantastic eggs).

I have found this experience to be far different from grocery shopping. And I think this CSA, more than anything else (ever), has made me comfortable in the kitchen. Because not only did I have to eat things I’d never tried before, I had to learn to make dishes with them. Even more – if I made, say one eggplant dish I didn’t like, instead of giving up on eggplant, I would have to keep trying different recipes until I FOUND a way to like it! Because like it or not, we would keep getting that same vegetable each week as long as it was in season, so I had to learn how to eat and enjoy them all.

If there was something we already liked (for example, cucumber), I still had to find new ways to prepare it because after a looooong robust cucumber season we were starting to get tired of the usual ways of munching it. Along similar lines, I had to learn what would freeze well and what would not. Some things freeze, but just aren’t as good thawed, or when thawed should only be cooked a certain way (boiled into soup, pureed, diced into a baked dish or sauce) to disguise texture changes.

I also had to learn how to improvise in the kitchen for meals. This is something I could already do to an extent, but doing it with items that I’m less familiar with (like eggplant) took a lot more thinking! (I can tell you that stir frying eggplant was not a good idea, but doing the same with okra, if done with care, can come out ok).

This week I’m going to post some of our favorite CSA produce-using recipes. Some are healthier than others – we are fine lovers of things rich and cheesy, and some of our favorites reflect that. I hope you enjoy it!

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