Spring always tricks me. Once the weather turns nice I immediately start craving all the wonderful vegetables of summer. I feel like they should be ready to eat right now, and if the food magazines at the grocery store are any indication, I am not the only person who feels this way. Unfortunately for me, it is still April, and just like every year, we must wait until June for our first vegetables. (And if you are new to a CSA then you can take my word for it that nothing tastes quite as wonderful as the first bite of fresh June lettuce from your share.)
But the waiting is hard. What are we salad craving CSA members supposed to do for the next two months? Here are a few of my suggestions for getting your household ready for the joys of CSA eating.
Start Getting Your Family Excited for Plants
Take walks in your neighborhood and point out all the flowers and little leaves and unidentifiable sprouts popping out of the ground. Buy a houseplant. Visit a green house or farmers’ market and look at the all the baby vegetable plants. Plant an herb garden. Start talking about how much you are longing for the sweet crisp taste of fresh vegetables. Let your kids try to grow something.
Read Some Books About Plants and Farming
I suggest The Botany of Desire by Michael Pollan, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, the poetry of Wendell Berry, or Missouri Ruralist articles by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
Take Nature Walks
While you are out looking at plants and dreaming of lettuce, go on some nature walks at Blandford. Check out the wild animals, the nest building birds, and take a look at the farm to see what Aaron et al. are up to.
Go through your freezer and pantry
Use up the vegetables you have stocked away from winter. Dig down deep to the bottom or back of that freezer and make sure you aren’t missing a tiny bag of peppers or a stash of blueberries from last summer.
Look Through Your Summer Cookbooks
Do you have a great seasonal cookbook that needs to be dusted off for summer? Please tell us about it in the comments!
My summer favorites include:
From Asparagus to Zucchini: a guide to cooking farm fresh seasonal produce by FairShare CSA Coalition,
Farmer John’s Cookbook: The Real Dirt on Vegetables by John Peterson, and
Fresh and Easy: What to Cook and How to Cook It by Jane Hornby
A great online collection of recipes is Mark Bittman’s “101 Simple Salads for the Season” which was published in the New York Times in 2009. I print it out and hang it on my refrigerator every summer.
Those are my tips. What are you all looking forward to this season? Do you have your own tips for cultivating patience before the growing season starts? Let us know!
About the author: Rachel is a seasoned CSA veteran going into her 8th year of vegetable onslaught (4th year at Blandford). She’d like you to think that means she’s figured out how to use the weekly vegetables in an efficient way, but that would probably be a lie. She has a two year old daughter and another baby girl due to be born smack dab in the middle of the growing season. When she is not corralling vegetables and toddlers, you can find Rachel moonlighting as an adjunct professor at a local university.