Your CSA Box: Curing End-of-Season Fatigue

When I opened my most recent CSA (community supported agriculture) box, an adapted version of the old Sesame Street song went through my head:

Each of these things is not like the others
Each of these things just doesn't belong...

Here's what I got: turnips, radishes (both with their greens), spinach, broccoli, garlic, squash, lettuce mix, a few raggedy tomatoes, jalapeno peppers, potatoes (just a few this week, not like last time), and onions.

As I stared at my vegetables, and they stared back at me, I felt dread creeping in. Would I have to make separate dishes for all these ingredients? Calm down, I told myself. Take a few deep breaths. Walk away.

That's exactly what I did. I put the items that needed to be refrigerated into my vegetable bin without even prepping them and left them for a few days, until I felt brave enough to look at them again. As you may be able to tell, I was suffering from End-of-Season CSA Fatigue, when even the thought of washing, peeling and cutting the vegetables makes me feel exhausted.

I knew I had options. I could freeze the vegetables or give them away. But I eventually worked up the gumption to confront my produce again and decided -- in the words of fashion guru Tim Gunn -- to "Make It Work!"

I wanted to make as few dishes as I could. After I made a quick salsa to put my tomatoes out of their misery, I did some online recipe searching. I could not find a soup anywhere on the internet that combined turnips, broccoli, and squash. In fact, some sites advised avoiding turnips and broccoli in soups altogether. I decided not to let that stop me. I sorted the items into two piles: one for soup and one for salad.

In the soup pile were turnips, greens (turnip, radish and spinach), broccoli, garlic, squash, potatoes, and onions. In the salad pile were radishes, lettuce, and one lone potato.

First came the soup. I had vegetables; why not make my own stock? Again, I didn't have a recipe to match my ingredients, so I improvised.

Simple Vegetable Stock

(makes 6 to 8 cups)

1 Tablespoon olive oil

1 onion, roughly chopped

2 garlic cloves, peeled

1 potato, cut into chunks

1 chopped-off head of a squash

3 quarts water

2 bay leaves


1. Heat oil in heavy sauce pan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic clove, and potato; saute until golden brown, about 5 minutes.

2. Pour water into the pot, scraping up any brown bits from the bottom. Add the squash top and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Cook for about 45 minutes. Strain and discard vegetable pieces -- all their flavor has migrated to the broth. You can use, refrigerate, or freeze the broth.

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While the broth was cooking, I fired up the oven to roast the vegetables. Scrub the veggies to avoid peeling, then cut them into same-sized pieces. If they're too small, they'll burn. 

Autumn Vegetable Roast (for Roasted Autumn Vegetable Chowder)

(makes a lot!)

3 medium turnips, scrubbed and peeled

2 heads broccoli, rinsed and cut into medium florets

garlic cloves

1 acorn quash, cut in half

6 potatoes, scrubbed and chunked

2 onions, skin removed but root intact, rinsed and quartered

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried sage

1/2 teaspoon coriander powder

large pinch of kosher salt

fresh ground black pepper


1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place all vegetables on a rimmed baking sheet or in roasting pan. In a small bowl, stir olive oil, herbs, and spices until combined. Drizzle over vegetables and toss by hand until everything is coated.

2. Place in the oven, stirring periodically over 45 minutes to an hour. When the vegetables are tender, remove them from the oven and let them cool. Remove the squash and garlic skins along with onion roots.

Bonus: when your hands are covered with olive oil and salt, rub them together for a minute or so. This is exfoliating and moisturizing! When you're finished, simply brush off the salt and blot any excess oil with a kitchen towel.

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My plans for that other potato involved making that already-400-degree-oven do double duty.

Potato "Croutons"

(makes about 1 cup)

1 medium to large Yukon Gold potato, scrubbed and cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1/2 to 1 Tablespoon olive oil


1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place potato cubes on a small rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss by hand until evenly coated. Roast until tender inside and crisp outside, shaking the pan periodically, about 30 minutes total.

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Now it was time to make my use-it-all-up soup:

Roasted Autumn Vegetable Chowder, adapted from Pinch My Salt

(serves 8 to 10)

1 Batch Autumn Vegetable Roast (see above)

6 to 8 cups Simple Vegetable Stock (see above)

(Optional: parmesan cheese rind)

1 cup milk

1 cup frozen corn kernels

4 cups spinach, turnip and radish greens, cleaned, spun dry and roughly chopped

Optional: hot sauce and grated local parmesan or cheddar cheese for garnish


1. In a large soup pan, place the roasted vegetables and stock (and the cheese rind tied up in cheesecloth if you're using it). Bring to a simmer, then puree with an immersion blender, leaving it just a bit chunky. (You can also puree in batches in a regular blender. Be careful with hot liquid, and don't puree the entire amount at once.)

2. Add one cup of milk, one cup of frozen corn, and the chopped greens and heat through. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste. Pass hot sauce and cheese at the table.

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While the soup came to a simmer, I assembled the salad:

Green Salad

(serves 4)

4 cups mixed greens, washed and spun dry

4 radishes, scrubbed tops and tails removed, sliced thin

1/2 cup dried cranberries

2 to 4 Tablespoons dressing of your choice

1 cup Potato "Croutons" (see above)

1/2 cup sunflower seeds, toasted

optional: 1/2 cup any cheese you have in your refrigerator: cheddar, parmesan, blue, etc.


1. Place greens, radishes, and cranberries in large bowl. Toss with the desired amount of dressing. Ideally each leaf will be covered with a light slick of dressing, and there will be no dressing pools at the bottom.

2. Distribute on plates. Garnish with potatoes, sunflower seeds, and cheese. Pass extra dressing at the table.


Fortunately, I had a potluck to attend, with an appreciative and hungry audience for the healthful soup and salad. With my salsa, soup and salad, I overcame my CSA box fatigue and used every item, even inventing some combinations (turnips, broccoli and squash) outside of the norm. Don't be afraid to experiment.

Once again, I achieved my goal: to get to the bottom of the box!



Kristin Boldon is a frequent contributor for Simple, Good and Tasty, who also writes for the Eastside Food Cooperative's newsletter on health and wellness, and for her own blog Girl Detective. Her last post for us was "Your CSA Box: Local Potatoes, Global Flavors."