New to the CSA? Make the most of it. Get my best CSA tips & recipe ideas + 8 healthy vegetable salad recipes ready in under 30 minutes.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) works like this: Farm shares are purchased in advance from people like me and you, which financially supports local farms for the season.
In return, they supply you with weekly deliveries of exciting, seasonal produce. It’s an excellent way to shop and eat local- the freshness and variety is beyond incredible.
FIGURING IT OUT.
During the first few weeks, you’ll be inspired to make all the things with your weekly goodies.
But then, after a few months in, managing the sheer influx of produce (the greens! the prep! the recipe ideas!) becomes utterly overwhelming. It’s a lot.
Is there an effective way to manage it all?
CSA TIPS & RECIPE IDEAS
Absolutely. Read on for my top tips & recipe ideas (ready in under 30 minutes!) to make the most of your CSA box this season.
PS: I’ve been a CSA member for almost 10 years- it’s 100% doable with a plan.
- Get a good salad spinner. This is a non-negotiable for leafy greens and herbs (i.e. kale, swiss chard, parsley, turnip greens etc). I highly recommend OXO Good Grips. It comes in two sizes; we have the smaller one to save space.
- Get a good vegetable peeler. You need a strong one. I have two peelers: here and here. Consider a julienne peeler to easily shred carrots for salads like this one.
- Wash & prep produce. If your produce is prepped and ready to go, you’re more likely to use it. No waste. I wash salad leaves, chard, kale and collard greens in advance. Tender greens like arugula I wash on demand instead (the leaves are more delicate and can bruise easily). To extend the life of radishes, salad turnips and beets store the leaves and bulbs separately.
- Get smart about storage. So many options. Reuse your own plastic bags, compostable bags, and even cloth bags. Tip: I save the rubber bands that come in my CSA box too. You’ll end up with quite the collection!
- Meal Plan (or not). Personally, I don’t do this. I’m notorious for ignoring my own advice. I prefer the flexibility of prepped components instead (see point 3 above). This allows me to make whatever I want, whenever I want, without getting bogged down by food prep.
- Freeze your greens. Make soups and smoothies all year long. Your body will thank you mid-January when you’re craving something nutritious!
- Tired of soup? Make curry. It’s an excellent “clean out the fridge strategy.” Here’s my go-to recipe: Sauté chopped leeks, garlic, shredded collard greens, broccoli, and diced red bell pepper in olive oil. Simmer with coconut cream/milk, a splash of stock and a dash of curry powder (about 1/2 tsp). Finish with fresh lemon juice. Serve with rice.
- Tired of Salads? Make lettuce wraps. We made this PF Chang’s copycat recipe recently. It was delicious!
- Don’t stress. CSA season is supposed to be fun. Share your extra veggies with a friend or neighbor, learn to compost and most of all: be kind to yourself.
8 CSA Vegetable Salad Recipes (ready in under 30 minutes!)
So tell me: what are your favorite CSA & farmers market tips & recipes? Comment below!
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With just 4 ingredients and a quick vinaigrette, this simple fresh corn and tomato salad recipe will be your go-to summer side dish. I love it served chilled with grilled chicken or shrimp and sourdough bread. Recipe adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Cookbook.
- 5 ears of fresh corn, shucked
- 2 cups sun gold tomatoes (or super ripe cherry tomatoes), halved
- 1/4 cup very small-diced red onion
- 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
- 1 tbsp. olive oil
- salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
Notes & Substitutions
- It’s important to dice the red onion into very small pieces (large chunks will taste too strong). Alternatively, use sweet Vidalia onions or scallions instead.
- Ripe red cherry or grape tomatoes can be used instead of sun gold tomatoes. However, sun golds are exceptionally sweet!
- Fill a shallow pan such as a 9×13- inch brownie pan (or something similar), halfway with cold water and a few handfuls of ice. This is your ice bath for the corn.
- In a pot of boiling salted water, cook the corn for 3 minutes. You are not cooking it all the way through; just blanching it to remove some of the natural starch. With tongs, transfer the corn into the ice bath to stop the cooking and to keep the color bright yellow. Once cool, remove to a cutting board and pat dry.
- Using a large knife, slice off one side of the corn while it’s still on the board. Use the tip of the knife for guidance. Roll the cob over (flat side should be facing down now) and slice off the next side. Keep going until you’ve cut all all sides.
- Add the corn to a large bowl with the tomatoes, red onion, vinegar, and olive oil. Sprinkle with a good amount of salt and pepper, to taste.
- Just before serving, toss in the fresh basil. Taste again for seasonings (add more salt if necessary!) and serve cold or at room temperature.
Keywords: Ina Garten, best corn recipes, corn salad, fresh corn, csa recipe, how to cut corn, sun gold tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, Barefoot Contessa, easy corn salad recipe