What to Do With Your CSA Bounty

My friend Doug sent me a great article from Slate the other day, written by Catherine Price. The article, entitled The Locavore's Dilemma, describes a few of the joys of joining - and re-joining - a CSA, localfood1including strawberry festivals, free gifts, and the world's best tomatoes, but it also takes a fun, practical look at the foods people tend to be less excited about: the kale, turnips, parsley, and even the unending garlic (my friend Greg told me he just used up the garlic his CSA provided last summer). Here's an excerpt:

After three years of practice, I've figured out simple ways to deal with most of these problem vegetables: I braise the turnips in butter and white wine; I sauté the kale and collards with olive oil and sea salt; I wait until the parsley shrivels and then throw it out. The abundance of roughage is overwhelming. It's a problem that affects anyone who tries to eat seasonally or consume a wider variety of vegetables, as an increasing number of Michael Pollan-ated Americans are trying to do.

But it becomes especially acute when you're faced with a new delivery each week, whether you're ready for it or not. One friend confessed "utter panic" at the sight of tomatillos. When I asked another what he did with his mustard greens, he responded, straight-faced, "I take them home, put them in my refrigerator, and wait until they rot." Cabbage, kohlrabi, collards, bok choy—everyone, it seems, has their problem vegetables. And, like me, many feel guilty about it. When our farm's CSA manager, an enthusiastic woman who has been known to use the words tasty and rutabaga in the same sentence, revealed that her problem vegetable was the radish, she immediately asked for forgiveness: "I know I should embrace it more and am getting better."

As I've written before, I'm just approaching my first spring of CSA-provided foods. I cannot wait to figure out what to do with the endless bounty, to figure out which vegetables we'll braise in butter and wine and which ones we'll keep - wondering how to make use of them day after day - until they rot. I'm convinced that we'll find more and better ways to use most of it before the summer's over.