CSA Hack
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Seasonal Eating: Embracing the Bounty of Each Month

Discover the delightful world of seasonal eating! Learn how embracing the rhythm of nature’s harvest benefits both our well-being and the planet.
April 4, 2024

Imagine stepping into a world where each month whispers a new culinary tale. Spring unfurls tender spinach leaves, while squash blossoms begin to open. Summer reigns supreme, gracing us with juicy melons, heirloom tomatoes, and zesty peppers. Fall’s crisp air brings fresh garlic, crisp apples, and colorful cabbage. And in winter, frost-kissed mornings yield kale, hearty root vegetables, and farm-fresh eggs. It’s a symphony of flavors, a dance with the seasons—a feast for the senses.

Eating seasonally isn’t just about culinary trends; it’s a mindful choice that nourishes both body and planet. Eating seasonally means consuming produce at its peak freshness. Fruits and vegetables harvested in their natural season are more nutrient-dense. They haven’t traveled long distances or spent weeks in storage, which can lead to nutrient loss. For example, a juicy summer peach contains more vitamins and antioxidants than an out-of-season peach shipped from across the globe.

Eating seasonally is also an eco-friendly choice. When we buy local, seasonal produce, we reduce the carbon footprint associated with transportation. Imagine a tomato grown in your region versus one flown in from another continent. By supporting local farmers like us, you’re promoting sustainable agriculture practices.

Now that we’ve covered the why of seasonal eating, let’s take a look at the how. Here’s a few tips to help you embrace the seasonal eating movement with your CSA boxes.

Tips for Savoring the Seasons with CSA

Cook with the Calendar

The first step to cooking seasonally is to know what’s actually in season and when. After all, nothing’s more disappointing than getting your heart set on whipping up a batch of romesco sauce in April, only to realize that you won’t have access to in-season tomatoes and peppers for another 3 months.

This is where our Produce Profile pages come in handy! They’ll show you when to expect each of our veggies in your CSA boxes.

Get Curious

CSA boxes are like treasure chests, revealing exotic gems we might otherwise overlook. Have you ever encountered kohlrabi, its pale green bulb resembling an alien spaceship? Slice it thin and savor its crisp, slightly sweet flavor. And then there’s rainbow chard, its vibrant stems boasting hues from sunset orange to deep magenta. Sauté it with garlic and olive oil for a feast of colors.

The beauty lies in the unexpected—the odd-shaped, the knobbly, and the leafy. These veggies have stories to tell, whispered by the soil and sun. Who knows what delicious secrets await?

Green kohlrabi; an example of the types of unusual produce you can find in your CSA box, farmed at Green Heart Garden

Swap Recipes

CSAs go beyond a mere source of fresh, local produce; they’re also about building a community. And your fellow CSAs members are a great source of recipe inspiration! You can join our Facebook page to share your own recipes and get inspired by others. Have a surplus of zucchinis? Swap ideas for zucchini bread, zoodles, or even zucchini chocolate cake (yes, it’s a thing!).

And don’t forget about our Recipe section right here on the Green Heart Garden website. We’ll keep sharing recipes from our own kitchen as well as from our members. You can filter the recipes by produce type to quickly find just what you need to make use of your spring greens and fall roots.

Think Beyond Salads

When faced with a mountain of fresh veggies, many people’s minds may go straight to salads. And yes, salads are fantastic, but seasonal eating goes beyond leafy greens.

Look for inventive ways to prepare your CSA bounty to prevent salad burnout. Roast winter squash with cinnamon and nutmeg, sauté string beans with garlic, or try tossing some beet slices onto the grill.

Grilled seasonal vegetables; another way to enjoy your CSA produce that isn't just a salad

Put Veggies in the Spotlight

In the grand theater of American meals, the protein often takes center stage. We’ve all witnessed the star of the show—the juicy steak, the crispy fried chicken, or the flaky salmon. Meanwhile, the veggies linger in the wings, relegated to supporting roles as mere side dishes. But what if we flipped the script and let the veggies steal the spotlight?

When we make veggies the stars, we embrace seasonal eating with open arms. Suddenly, our meals align with the rhythm of the earth. Think spicy curried lentils and spinach in spring, a classic eggplant parmesan in summer, and a hearty salad of roasted beets and farro in the fall.

Preserve the Bounty

Cooking seasonally doesn’t necessarily mean eating seasonally. When summer’s tomatoes and peppers overflow, consider canning, pickling, or even freezing them. Homemade tomato sauce or pickled jalapeños will brighten up winter meals.

As we savor each bite of sun-ripened tomato and sizzle farm-fresh zucchini in olive oil, we’re not just feeding ourselves. We’re supporting local farmers, reducing food miles, and treading lightly on the planet. So, my fellow food adventurers, let’s raise our forks to seasonal eating—the freshest way to nourish body, soul, and soil.

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