Make the Most of Your CSA Box

By Michelle, Gardenista

I loved having a box of organic vegetables delivered to the doorstep every week. Until about the third week.

“Oh look, kale again,” my husband said, peering over my shoulder at the contents, which included kale, kale, a head of cabbage, and kale.

I started delivery for the usual reasons: to support farmers, to connect the food on the plate to the field where it grew, and to force my children to eat more vegetables (or any vegetables, for that matter).

With a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) box, you’re buying a share in one farm’s seasonal harvest. But it’s not like going to a farmer’s market (or even a good grocery), where a glorious universe awaits. The box is at the whim of the elements. Drought, pestilence, wind storms, wild fires, and even raccoons can affect the harvest, making every week a surprise.

To help deal with the challenge of putting your weekly bounty to full use, we rounded up some ideas for what to make for dinner after you open the box.

Above: Carrots and snap peas and turnips and … mystery greens. What to do with tough greens? Braise them. For a recipe, see Nourished Kitchen.

Above: Sprouts and strawberries and beets and purple carrots. For dinner: Sweet Roasted Roots With Carrot Top Gremolata; for a recipe, see Food 52. Image by Suzie’s Farm, via Flickr.

Above: Asparagus and onions and parsnips. For easy roasted parsnips, preheat oven to 375 degrees. Peel and dice into one-inch cubes. Toss with olive oil and your favorite chopped herb (I like rosemary on parsnips) and salt and pepper to taste. Spread in one layer on a low-sided baking sheet and roast until crispy. Image by Bill Roehl, via Flickr.

Above: Rainbow chard and tomatoes and a small, sweet watermelon. To make a Rainbow Chard Salad with Raisins and Walnuts, go to The Kitchn. And for dessert, chill the watermelon and slice; arrange on a platter and sprinkle with chopped mint. Image by Noelle Renee Markee, via Flickr.

Above: Notice the blueberries? Julie, editor-in-chief of Remodelista, makes New England Instant Blueberry Pudding. Here’s her recipe: Cube five handfuls of white bread. In a deep sauce pan, melt a stick of butter. Saute the bread cubes until golden. Stir in in half a handful of sugar and then add two handfuls of blueberries, which will essentially melt immediately. Voila. Image by Heisler, via Flickr.

Above: And now for something completely kale. I had an excellent curly kale salad the other day at Tremont on Bank Street in New York City — a mound of glossy dark green ribbons dressed simply in olive oil, lemon juice, and salt. To replicate, remove the tough center stems. Then chop the kale leaves finely. Toss with dressing and a light dusting of freshly grated parmiagano reggiano cheese. Serve on a platter. To get fancy, sprinkle some toasted pine nuts or walnuts — whatever’s in the cupboard — on top. Image by Suzie’s Farm, via Flickr.

Looking for more farm-to-table inspiration? Visit Gardenista for recipes, tips and sources for living a cultivated life.

5 Tips for CSA Cooking
How I Learned to Eat My Vegetables
Are You Right for a CSA?


Sheri P.
Sheri P5 years ago

every week is definitely a surprise! during zucchini season i ate so much zucchini i never want to see it again!

Phillipa W.
Phillipa W5 years ago

thanks for this. and the links

Brenda Towers
Brenda Towers5 years ago

Great idea.

Kathleen Cazander

Love, love, love kale...but three bunches in a week....not so much.

Laurie Mcrae
Laurie Mcrae5 years ago

I started w/a CSA last month; have had 2 deliveries! Without question, the best tasting veggies/fruits I've had since I was a child, when I pulled carrots out of the ground & picked berries off the bushes & wash them w/the garden hose! I'm so impressed with the quality & variety...but would LOVE to find Kale in my box sometime!

Laurie D.
Laurie D5 years ago

Mmmm. Roasted parsnips sound SO good!

Angie B.
Angela B5 years ago

Here in Ontario Canada, we call it the Good Food box but it is the same idea....a box of assorted organic vegetables from my local farmer. When my kids were young, I thought it was a great way to incorporate vegetables into their diets. Each month we would collectively decide how we were going to prepare each vegetable when the time came to cook it.

Kamryn M.
Kay M5 years ago


Christine C.
Chandra C5 years ago


Terry Vanderbush
Terry V5 years ago