Recipes and Ideas for Using CSA Greens

Oh. My. Is anyone else simultaneously thrilled and overwhelmed by these generous shares of GREEN we’re getting? I thought about taking a photo of the first couple shares and wimped out because I couldn’t figure out how to style so much green. (Although, a number of you totally rocked shots of the haul on Instagram! If you share a CSA-related image, don’t forget to tag it #sunsetparkcsa so other members can find it; we’ll be sharing some member photos in the main feed as well.)

By the end of the first week, I found myself a little behind in consuming the produce. One date night out, a couple meals put together too hastily, and we hadn’t finished our first share to make room for the next. I felt a little panicked that beautiful produce might go to waste. That first week was a great reminder of the lessons I’ve learned over my years participating in CSAs. Below, I’m sharing some of my favorite tips for managing your bounty so you get to enjoy the superior flavor and nutrition of this farm fresh produce.

kale chips

 

Tips to Keep Up

Some weeks we find it so easy to keep up with the abundance; other weeks we get to Tuesday and aren’t nearly through. Here are some of the ways we’ve learned we can best manage the haul – and by “manage” I mean make sure we’re enjoying the taste and nourishment of these fresh vegetables.

  • Prep ahead of time. The more you can wash and chop produce in advance, the more likely you’ll be able to quickly incorporate it into your next meal.
  • Make a commitment to eating in. For us, the most common culprit for getting behind is dining out. You can’t use your produce if you’re not cooking at home.
  • If you order takeout, add your own vegetable side. A lot of restaurant delivery is lacking in produce anyway, so save yourself some time by ordering most of your meal, but throw in a homemade side salad or some quickly sauteed vegetables to round out the meal.
  • Add vegetables every meal. Don’t limit your vegetable consumption to dinner. Try throwing some greens into your scrambled eggs. Pack a salad for lunch or layer some vegetables onto your next sandwich. Slice up radishes or roast kale chips for a snack.
  • Embrace unconventional combinations. Sometimes, I find myself challenged with what to make for dinner because the vegetables I have left either don’t go together or don’t go with whatever protein or starch we have on hand. I just have to let go and decide even if the meal isn’t cohesive that each component is enjoyable on its own. See above: scrambled egg tacos with a side of kale chips.
  • Smoothies! During the CSA season, I find myself drinking more smoothies and fresh juices made from these sweet local veggies.

And When You Don’t Keep Up?

When Wednesday is fast-approaching and you’ve barely made a dent in your share, these ideas will keep your produce from snowballing and make room for the next round. For the beginning of the season, let’s focus on greens.

  • Freeze it. Blanch or saute your washed greens and then throw them in the freezer to deal with later (as additions to casseroles, soups, and pastas). Alternately, you can freeze the greens raw (a huge time saver) to throw into smoothies.
  • Pesto it. Greens + garlic + olive oil and blend.  A pinch of salt or handful Parmigiano-Reggiano is nice too. I’ve included some pesto recipes below for your inspiration. Pesto can also be frozen.
  • Invite over some friends! Anytime I feel overwhelmed by my fridge, I try to take a step back and realize how very lucky I am to be burdened with the “problem” of excess food. What makes that feeling of gratitude even better is to share the abundance with my neighbors. Invite over some friends to share a meal brimming with wholesome, vibrant vegetables.

Recipes for Greens

A few recipe ideas for the mustard greens, beet greens, mizuna, and kale that are so plentiful this time of year. Remember that, in most cases, different dark leafy greens can be swapped for one another.

Turnip Greens Tart (works with any dark, leafy green!)

Grilled Kale Caesar

Indian Style Creamed Spinach (shared by member Rosa)

Swiss Chard and Rice Casserole (shared by member Rosa)

Pesto It:

Chard and Roasted Garlic Pesto

Pistachio Kale Pesto with Zucchini Noodles and Cherries

Kale Pesto Shells and Cheese

Oven Risotto with Tuscan Kale Pesto

Yam Gnocchi with Spinach-Chive Pesto

Fritter It:

Millet Cakes with Carrots and Spinach

Spinach Quinoa Patties

Swiss Chard and Quinoa Cakes with Garlic Yogurt

What did I miss? I’d love to hear your tips and best recipes for enjoying CSA produce. Feel free to reach out on Instagram or comment on the Facebook page with your suggestions.

Sarah

Chive Dressing

chive blossom vinegar

I’ve been anxiously awaiting June’s arrival, knowing it would then feel like turning a corner to find the CSA’s start in sight. The onset of spring itself isn’t enough – It’s that scheduled dose of local produce that finally pries winter’s pinky finger grasp from my shoulder.

chive dressing

That’s not to say the anticipation hasn’t been fun – recalling some of our favorite weeks from last year, guessing which vegetables will make an appearance in our first share, and of course brainstorming all the ways we’ll put the bounty to delicious use.

It’s the lettuce I’m coveting most, and I spend more time than I should daydreaming of the crisp and colorful salads we will be enjoying in just days.

chive dressing-2

It’s those thoughts that finally pushed me to find a purpose for the chives languishing in our backyard. I’m normally a chives enthusiast, applying generous handfuls to most any dinner and even serving sour cream and onion waffles, but for some reason this year they flew under my culinary radar.

I remembered reading somewhere about chive vinegar, and that seemed like a way I might be able to use the lot in one recipe until I searched around to find everyone using chive blossoms instead. My neglected plant had but two sorry flowers, but I happened upon some beautiful bouquets at the greenmarket to fulfill my vinegar vision. I used a chive blossom vinegar recipe from Food in Jars and now have a stunning lilac-hued vinegar working away in a dark pantry. I’ll be sure to report back on its flavor when the lettuces arrive.

hemp chive dressing

But, this still left me with an untouched pot of chives. While I’m sure I’ll be throwing plenty of chopped herbs into our upcoming salads, I couldn’t shake the thought of a dressing using their mild onion flavor. I fell back on a recipe I’ve used time and again, Edible Perspective’s hemp seed dressing. It calls for a small handful of basil or parsley, but I tend to play up the herbaceous side of things with more like an overflowing handful, changing up which season it’s giving a nod by swapping in whatever fresh herbs are having their moment. Using about half a cup of loosely packed chives, this creamy spring dressing is the perfect mate for local lettuce.

Tell me, what produce are you looking forward to most in this year’s CSA?

-Sarah C

PS – Did you know the Sunset Park CSA is on Facebook? Like our page to get updates, photos, and links to our latest blog posts!

Sign-up extended until May 29!

It’s not too late to get your fresh fruits, veggies, eggs and coffee! Sign-up has been extended until May 29 to fill up our remaining slots. Click here to sign up.

Welcome to the 2015 Season!!

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Peace everyone and welcome to the 2015 Sunset Park CSA season!!
We have an amazing season lined up for you and without further ado here are all the details:

We are super excited to continue to provide you with weekly and every other week vegetable shares from Mimomex Farm and egg shares from Tello’s Farm. If you are new to the CSA, please look at the Farmers section of the website for more information.

We are thrilled to have joined forces with a new fruit farmer this year, Hepworth Farms (www.hepworthfarms.com). Hepworth Farms has a diversified selection of fruit and uses an integrated pest management model for growing their fruit. The fruit share will be 22 weeks long and could include various berries, peaches, plums, pears, apples, cherries and possibly grapes. Fruit is priced at $1.00-$2.00 per pound.

Our end of the season coffee share last year was such a success that we will be offering it again and are so happy to continue working with Lofted Coffee. They offer high quality beans that are sustainably sourced, and they ensure the grower receives a fair wage. We will be offering weekly, every other week and monthly shares. The coffee you receive will be a rotation of different beans giving you the opportunity to try different flavor profiles. For more information about Lofted Coffee please see their website www.loftedcoffee.com

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We are sad to report that Milk Not Jails will no longer be servicing CSA’s this year so we won’t be able to have a dairy share. We researched other possibilities for cheese and yogurt but were not able to find a match that worked. We could not find any other farmer who works with CSA’s to deliver milk. There are some buying clubs who drop off in Brooklyn. If any member would like more details, please email us and we will be happy to share what we learned.

This year our season will run from June 10 – November 4, 2015. Distribution will continue to be on Wednesdays from 5:30-7:30 pm in the rectory of St. Michael’s Church on 42nd Street between 3rd and 4th Avenues.

For 2015, the cost of a weekly share was increased $1.00 per share each week. The increase will allow Mimomex to pay their workers a living wage and compensate them well for all of their hard work and effort to grow, harvest and distribute the vegetables. We have offset some of the cost to the members by lowering the administrative fee paid yearly.

We continue to be committed to keeping the CSA open to all members of the Sunset Park community. Every full priced share includes a small contribution to our subsidy fund which enables us to offer subsidized prices to members who have lower household incomes. In addition to the fund created by share costs, we have also grown our subsidy fund through grant funding, particularly from the organization Wholesome Wave. This year, Wholesome Wave will not be offering CSA’s grant funding as they are focusing more on farmer’s markets. This leaves us with significantly less money in our subsidy fund. As you complete your sign up, please consider making an additional donation to our subsidy fund so that we can continue to offer subsidies at the same level as in previous years. Further, if you have any ideas for fundraising, we would love to hear them.

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Upcoming CSA Events:

We will be having our Annual Spring Member Potluck on Sunday, April 19 at 2:00 pm at St. Michael’s Church in the rectory where we have our distribution. Mimomex Farm and Hepworth Farms will join us to talk about what’s in store for this season and Lofted Coffee will be on hand to provide a coffee tasting. This is a great opportunity to reconnect with each other and get rare time with the farmers to ask them all you ever wanted to know about farming.

Our first Farm Trip of the season will be on Sunday, May 3. If you have not been to Mimomex Farm, we can vouch that it is a special experience!

Please email us at sunsetparkcsa@gmail.com to RSVP for one or both events. More details will follow soon!

Please see the link below to sign up and to get more details on pricing and the membership agreement: (Sign ups end May 15th and will fill up fast!)

https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ZwKNYmrarVbvxiwTNaiAMUNqbgYlr4vR-xiY2wQ2z_0/viewform?c=0&w=1

(we now accept QuickPay for folks banking with Chase)

If you have any questions, please contact us at sunsetparkcsa@gmail.com

We are looking forward to another great season with all of you!