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CSA Box Week 12: Tips, Tricks and Ideas

Posted 9/4/2018 4:34am by Jenna Untiedt.

Welcome to September! Happy 1st day of school for many! Whether you have kids in school or not, fall seems to represent a time for change and new beginnings. It’s that time of year where we can regroup after a crazy summer of weekends away, late nights, and adventures that we still long for, but realize that we need to refocus our energy. I love fall. Not only is the weather usually perfect, but it’s football season, crockpot season is upon us, and just everything about fall is great….except the season that follows, but I try not to think about that.

While there are still strong signs of summer in our CSA shares, signs of fall will begin to appear soon in the way of more apples, squash, and sweet potatoes. This share is packed mighty full. Just so you all know, I usually receive a group text from Farmer Jerry on Fridays with his ideas on what we can put in the share. First of all, I despise group texts. Secondly, this text has a lot of options, but what Jerry often forgets about is the size of the box. Others are included on this text such as Paul who oversees much the growing and Megan, who is my counterpart in the office. I received the text this past Saturday afternoon with a list of about 12 items. 12! I read through it and it sounded great, absolutely wonderful actually….but only if we sent everything out in 3+boxes to everyone. I kindly replied to the text and said the list looks great, but we have to remember we only have 1 box and the box is only so big. The response I always receive back is: “We will figure it out.” What that really means is that I will figure out what can ACTUALLY fit in the box on Monday morning.

This week’s share was tough. The cauliflower all ripened at one time, so we if we wanted to use it, both purple and cheddar needed to be included. Then it is a geometry lesson in order to include as much as we can in the remaining space of the box. We sit and arrange and rearrange the box several times in order to get as much as we can for you. There are arguments on what should be included or not included. You see, Farmer Jerry plants items for specific weeks, but this season those plans have all gone out the window because of the warmer than normal temperatures and crops ripening sooner. So, each Monday morning we sit in the office, bicker back and forth and hopefully come up with the best share we can for you all.

Let’s break it down for this week:

Purple and Cheddar Cauliflower: Vikings colors for you all this week. You can eat this raw, roasted, or turn it into soup. What a fun way to encourage your kids to try a new vegetable. The purple does hold its color while you roast it, along with the cheddar color. I am going to be adventurous and try making the purple into soup. I can’t guarantee what color it is going to end up, but in my mind a purple soup might be kind of fun. To get the most life out of the cauliflower, slice it into florets and store in a ziploc bag in your fridge.  

Zucchini: Zoodles, chips, bread, the opportunities are endless. Enjoy zucchini while you can, as the season is almost over and the return of store bought zucchini makes me very sad.  

Grape Tomatoes: Add to stir fry, pack for an afternoon snack, or use on top of your weekly salads. They have such a wonderful, sweet flavor that will be missed in the winter months.  

SweeTango Apples: Store in the fridge and enjoy for an afternoon snack. They are hard, crisp, and so so sweet. I love these in the afternoon with a bit of peanut butter….give it a try!  

Jicama: Don’t let the cracks fool you, they are still 100% edible. These have been growing since February. February! Peel and cut into matchstick slices. They are great as snacks, added to stir fry, or as an addition to any salad. These are not traditionally able to be grown in MN, but we have been able to make it work and this year’s crop was great.  

Shockwave Melon: A bit firmer than your typical cantaloupe, but wonderful flavor nonetheless. I like to slice mine up right away and stick it in the fridge for an easy addition to breakfast or a quick afternoon snack. Drizzle a bit of lime juice and a dash of salt and you have yourself a fantastic dessert option as well.  

Mini Bell Peppers: An assortment of colors to be added to a weekly stir fry, used on top of salads, or just eaten plain. They are so sweet and crunchy, they truly make a wonderful snack.  

Tomatoes: Red slicing tomatoes for that final burger of the summer, or that sandwich that needs a little something extra to make it more enjoyable. If you can’t get to all your tomatoes, just slice them up and put them in a freezer bag or container in the freezer. You can easily add tomatoes to soups and stews in the winter, and these add a great pop of flavor.  

There you have it, Week 12 of the CSA program. 5 weeks remain and you are in for some of the best things of the season. Enjoy the first week of September, and hopefully you all are able to find some time to enjoy the bounty that you are receiving this week. Enjoy!