I just finished my second summer of having a CSA. It was a lot of fun to see what came in each week, but I also learned several lessons about myself through the experience. I thought others might benefit from my realizations too!
NOTE: if you’re unfamiliar, CSA stands for community supported agriculture. It’s where members of the community buy a “share” in a farm for the growing season and receive a share of the produce as it’s grown. You get a box or a bag of produce each week as long as the growing season lasts for that particular farm. This year, I’m getting organic produce, free range eggs, and beef, poultry, pork, and lamb.
- I’m more creative when presented with a bag of random items and told to make something out of them (whether that’s food or something else). In fact, one definition I’ve read of creativity said, “it’s the finding of random connections between seemingly unconnected things.” When you never know what you’ll get, you’re forced to be creative on the spot.
- I’m not very creative when I’m stressed – and summers are a very stressful time for me at work. That means when I get home to a fridge of miscellaneous produce, I feel lost, overwhelmed, and tempted to eat an entire box of macaroni and cheese in one sitting, without any sides. While the kale rots slowly in the fridge. No bandwidth left for creativity. This means that while summers are so stressful for me, I may need to head to the farmers market instead of a CSA.
- Grace is ok. Figuring out that I don’t like eggplant and the friend I’m splitting my CSA with doesn’t like okra ultimately helps us use our produce without waste, rather than choking down veggies we don’t like.
- Hiding vegetables in your food is absolutely an acceptable way of working foods you wouldn’t normally eat into your life. You don’t have to be esoteric and “experience the pure flavor of the food” with each new thing you add to your diet. Mask that flavor and eat those nutrients! You can grow to appreciate it slowly. On that note, a favorite hidden vegetables recipe for you:
Zucchini Crockpot Lasagna (gluten-free, nut-free, yeast-free)
(adapted from this regular lasagna recipe)
spaghetti sauce (I make mine by diluting a can of tomato paste with a little water, and heating it with a touch of sugar, and garlic salt, Italian seasoning, and cayenne pepper to taste, but you could cook and puree tomatoes if you have an abundance of them from the garden or a CSA.)
1 large zucchini
16 oz. cottage cheese
Optional: add ground beef and other pureed vegetables to the sauce to amp up the protein and nutrients factors.
1. Grease crockpot.
2. Slice zucchini down the middle, then slice into wide lasagna shaped noodles.
3. Layer sauce, zucchini noodles, cottage cheese until the crockpot is nearly full.
4. Cover the whole thing with parmesan cheese, cook on low for 5-6 hours.