Have you seen this post? It’s called I Can’t Handle My Farm Share. A hilarious blogger I follow, shared it on social media with the quote, “I don’t know what I’m feeding my kids tomorrow, but I know Bok Choy isn’t the answer.”
Here’s the gist: frazzled, stressed, hilarious mom blogger comes clean about how she hates her CSA.
There’s too much food!
Her husband doesn’t like vegetables!
She hates Bok Choy!
And, where are the berries, damn it?!
It’s actually pretty funny.
As you may know, I love my CSA.
I. Love. It.
I look forward to it. I plan around it. I am certain that it’s the best way to enjoy farm fresh local food. It’s a tiny way that I can use my food dollars to invest in my local economy and feed my family wholesome food. It connects me with the family farm I purchase my share from. It connects me with my neighbors whose porch I visit weekly, to retrieve my box of goodies. And best of all, it practically implores me to prepare delicious healthy veggies at every meal.
It’s frigging win/win.
But, ya. I get it.
Getting your produce this way can be kind of overwhelming. It does take some getting used to. The produce in the CSA I subscribe to, isn’t washed. I have take it out of the bags it comes in and clean it myself. That can be challenging on weeknights when all of the things are going on.
And let me just tell you, the first time I took a head of lettuce out of my fridge and a bug crawled out, I thought I would die.
But listen, I didn’t die. It just didn’t happen and now I wash my greens before I put them away.
And I get that it can be overwhelming to handle giant boxes of veggies week after week. But, contrary to what this post would have you believe, the kale and Bok Choy heavy boxes don’t last forever.
That’s only the first few weeks, I swear.
As the growing season progresses, the boxes get more interesting, with tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and even later with apples, pumpkins and squash.
And listen, it’s worth it. I’m not going to sit here and claim my kid begs for veggies. But since I’ve started cooking with my CSA, making a point to put vegetables in front of him at every meal, my kid eats salad, tomatoes, peppers, even radishes on the regular. I can even sometimes get him to eat kale, if I fix it with bacon and top it with Parmesan cheese and nag him about it a little.
That in itself is a damn victory.
That my kid eats kale.
So, you can do this CSA thing.
You really can.
Here’s a few tips for managing your share and feeling good about it.
1. If you can, prep everything. If you’re able to, wash and prep everything, before you put it away. Now, this method only works for me, if I’m off on the first couple of days after CSA pick up. But it works, well. It gives me time to think about what my meals for the week are gonna look like. This was what my share looked like last week.
Here’s how I prepped it: I blanched and froze the leafy beet greens and kale. I cleaned and chopped the beets and green onions for salad. I washed and dried the lettuce and put it into ziplock bags. I just tossed the rhurbarb and mint into the fridge for use later in the week. And I used the zucchini and apple cider right away. Prep took about an hour total.
And by the time I was done I already figured out we’d have braised kale and beet greens with our fried chicken on the 4th.
2. Roast and top veggies with Parmesan cheese. This is one of my favorite ways to prepare veggies for maximum flavor. This is how I get Damien to try new foods. It’s easy and really, you can almost roast anything. Too much kale? Roast it and make you some kale chips. Top them with shaved hard cheese and enjoy. It works with squash, zucchini, broccoli, eggplant, cauliflower, even tomatoes and peppers. I’m hard pressed to think of a veggie that isn’t made even more delicious by roasting. And it’s a mostly hands off process, so you can help your littles with their homework while dinner is rendering in the oven. If you prepped your produce earlier in the week, then it takes mere minutes to get into the oven.
3. Sauté greens in chicken stock and balsamic vinegar OR veggie stock and rice wine vinegar. These two easy combos always save me on hectic weeknights. This method works great on any number of veggies. When I clean my kale or collards I always save and freeze the veiny stem part, to use later for vegetable stock. So, I often have it on hand. My favorite way to prepare Bok Choy or Chinese cabbage is to sauté it in olive oil, with some garlic or green onion then simmer it in veggie stock. I add a splash of rice wine vinegar, near the end of the cooking process, to brighten up the flavor. It’s always delicious quick and easy. I love the combo of eggs and cabbage for a delicious and quick vegetarian meal.
4. Even if you don’t think they’ll eat it, put veggies front of your kid. Eventually you will wear them down and they’ll try it. And of course, just because they try it, doesn’t mean they’ll love it. But, my kid knows that there’s always veggies at dinner and that he’s required to at least try the new foods in front of him. This is how I got him eating salad and tomatoes and greens, when for the longest time he would refuse. And I’m pretty sure if your kid sees you eating Bok Choy and enjoying it, he’ll eventually try it, too. And when your kid eats veggies, you feel like you’re winning at parenting. Amiright?
5. Remember it’s not all or nothing. Yes, the point is not to waste food. But you’re not in a competition with yourself to finish everything in your share and love it, every single week. Don’t like beets? You don’t have to eat them.
I’m not sure how you could dislike beets, but whatever.
You’re not winning any virtue contests by sucking it up and eating foods you don’t like. You don’t null all the benefits of subscribing to a CSA because you let some parsley or collards go bad or because you passed on the escarole for the 3rd week in row. And if your share is really too big, try splitting it with another family. Or donating some of it to the food bank. Or freeze it. But whatever you do, don’t get stressed out because you had to throw something away or because something went bad. You’re not a bad person. And doing a CSA is like anything else in life; it’s about balance. We just sort of try to balance the things we’d like to do with the things we’re able to do. And that’s it.
I really think that subscribing to a CSA is one of the best things you can do because it really gets you thinking and caring about your relationship with your food.
Happy Eating. 🍴