Farm Fresh Produce

CSA box

My family and I have been enjoying fresh produce all summer long.  We are participating in a local CSA (Consumer Supported Agriculture) where we have a share of a local farm’s crops all season.  This has been a great way to enjoy high quality, locally grown produce.  The farm is Nichols Farm and Orchard in Marengo and the pick up location for my weekly box of produce is Marcel’s in Glen Ellyn, both in Illinois.

Just last night for dinner, we enjoyed corn on the cob, green peppers, cucumbers, onions and tomatoes all from this week’s box (and all very delicious!).

Whether you are participating in a CSA or frequent farm stands and farmer’s markets for fresh produce, here are a few tips for enjoying these seasonal treasures:

  • All produce, including potatoes and onions, should be refrigerated.  This will extend the life of the produce and retain nutrients and flavor.  I typically keep my onions and potatoes in the pantry, but this is not the place to store them during warm summer months.
  • Leafy greens should be washed in cold water and drained.  A salad spinner is the best way to drain leafy greens.  The greens should then be sealed in a plastic bag and stored in the refrigerator until ready to use.  I have found that these greens will stay fresh for at least a week if I take the time to properly care for them when received.
  • For carrots, beets, turnips, radishes, or anything with green stemmy leaves, cut off the leaves at the base of the stem.  If the leaves are not removed, they can dehydrate the vegetable when stored.  These leaves can then be cleaned and used as you would other green leafy vegetables.  Many can be delicious ingredients in salads, green smoothies, or vegetable sautés.
  • Finally, it makes sense to use greens and ripe produce first, since squash and root vegetables last longer.
  •  Most importantly, ENJOY!

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