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The night you pick up your CSA share consider establishing pizza night. The idea is that you plan on supper being a hands-off, household favorite that everyone enjoys. Your pizza night could be as simple as a frozen pizza. You could go out to your favorite Tex-Mex place. Pick up barbecue sandwiches. Or order in Chinese food.

Here’s the reasoning behind this cunning plan.

First, it’s Pavlovian. If members of your household are ambivalent or even hostile towards the CSA idea, it can’t hurt to have them associate the arrival of your share with a favorite meal. (more…)

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For the ultimate in fine cooking, you would wait to prep all of your ingredients until just before cooking. But, let’s face it, if we were dealing with the ultimate in fine cooking, someone else would be prepping your ingredients.

By prepping, I mean things like washing, peeling, dicing, and the like.

washed beet greens, diced beet stems for stir-fries, and washed baby greens to add to salad (not pictured, beet roots for roasting)

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CSA tip: Start in the spring

Considering joining Farmers Fresh CSA or another Atlanta CSA program? Now’s the time. Spring is the best season to get used to preparing local produce for one reason:

Salad. (more…)

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Sometimes, you just can’t swing a CSA subscription.

If this is you, consider a different kind of commitment to a local farm and yourself – buying market credit. You can think of market credits as gift certificates you buy for yourself from a farmer. (more…)

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CSA program turnover is a problem: people get excited about the idea but don’t really know what’s required. So let’s look at the ideal CSA subscriber and see how close you get.

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One way to get more out of your CSA subscription and keep your CSA kitchen sustainable is to collect dishes that are flexible, easy, and veggie-intensive. It’s not hard to do – dishes like this exist in every food culture and have the following characteristics:

  • high vegetable to meat ratio (perhaps infinite)
  • infinitely variable in amounts and ingredients (with a few seasonal restraints)
  • can serve as one-dish meals
  • don’t call for a lot of additional ingredients
  • don’t require too much attention or time once you get the idea down

Veggie lo mein!

Here’s a quick list of possibilities. (Our two current favorites – lo mein and cottage pie – are discussed in more detail below.)

  • vegetable soup or stew (pretty much everywhere)
  • cottage pie (Britain)
  • ratatouille (France)
  • briami (Greece)
  • lo mein, fried rice (China)
  • yaksoba (Japan)
  • pad thai (Thailand)
  • gado gado (Indonesia)
  • curries of all sorts (India)

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Sustainability doesn’t stop at the farm. Joining a CSA is neither sprint nor short-run performance – it’s a lifestyle change. (You’re not doing it just because it’s trendy, right?) Check your dreams of instant local food bliss at the door. There’s simply too much work to be done.

Is your operation sustainable?

It’s a good idea to prepare for this long-term effort by dreaming up and adopting sustainable practices for you and your household. By sustainable, I don’t mean environmentally sound. I’m talking about  careful stewardship of your household’s most valuable resource: your sanity.

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