3 years ago, my husband Brian and I signed up for our first winter CSA. We’ve renewed our winter (and summer) Community Shared Agriculture membership every year since then and picking up fresh, local, organic produce has become part of our regular weekend routine. As much as I enjoy our summer CSA, I think the fact that our farm provides winter shares as well is really special. It’s pretty easy to find fresh and local produce in the warmer seasons, but it takes more work in the winter. Knowing that we’ve already paid for a months of pickups makes eating well all winter long that much easier.
It’s no secret that I’m a planner. I plan my menus, my shopping lists and what I’ll pick up as part of my CSA share. But as good as my intentions are, life can get busy. So sometimes when pickup day rolls around, I don’t know what I’ll need that week. Sometimes I only have a partial menu planned. Sometimes I know we’ll be travelling for part of the following week or so and I need to get items I’ll be able to use beyond the given week. Our farm’s winter pick ups are every two weeks which means we get a lot of items at once, so sometimes I have shares left beyond what my menu requires. In those cases, I turn to my default list of items I know I’ll make use of regardless of my plans (or lack there of). If I was shopping at a winter farmers’ market instead of picking up at my CSA, where it’s even harder to predict what might be available, I’d feel safe picking up these items.
I was going to list uses for each of the ingredients below, but the uses don’t really vary much. These are the items I rely on for roasting, winter salads, soups, stir fry, and serving in or with eggs. They make great sides and entrees. Best of all, they generally (with the exception of the spinach) keep for weeks, meaning that if I don’t use them immediately I don’t have to worry much. I can just roll over their use to the following week.