News From the Farm | May 25, 2020

Cooking Out of the Box

One of the common reasons that people become members of a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program is because they want to have access to healthy, fresh, organic produce.  I’ve always loved the beginning paragraph from the 1964 edition of the Joy of Cooking because it links good food and good health so well:

“We enjoy the cynical story of the old-fashioned doctor who insisted first on going straight to the kitchen of the afflicted household.  Not until he had effusively thanked the cook for giving him a new patient did he dash upstairs to see how he could relieve the cook’s victim.  The fact is that everyone who runs a kitchen can, in the choice and preparation of food, decisively influence family health and happiness.”

We agree with the Joy authors that healthy food (to be had by getting into a CSA program) is beneficial to health and happiness.  Other reasons – some of which may develop over time – that people stay with their veggie box program – include the opportunity to have a relationship with the place that your food comes from, the opportunity to support businesses that practice environmental sustainability, or the creative satisfaction that comes with preparing meals from whatever arrives in the box rather than cooking with preset recipes and menus in mind.

Cooking from the box doesn’t work for everyone.  Sometimes there are vegetables that you aren’t fond of that seem to be on automatic repeat, in your box every time.  What to do?  Rest assured, they will be gone soon and maybe, like so many of our CSA members before you, you will find that given the right preparation, you actually DO like that item after all.  In fact, be forewarned, we may be in for a major reset. With a week of unusually hot weather predicted, many of our spring crops will surely wilt and disappear until next Fall when cooler weather returns.

My approach to cooking from the box has always included cookbooks and recipes, but living out in the boonies, the weeknight cooking also usually involves a healthy dose of substitution, creative license and a tendency to simplify.  Our CSA program at the moment has many new members, the bulk of whom probably share the common reasons outlined here for joining, but also have a (thankfully) UNCOMMON reason as well: a pandemic.  Y’all know who your are — the CSA Pandemic Cohort.  We are watching you, we welcome you, we want to nurture your membership, we want to woo you into staying longer than you thought you would!

Thank you to our CSA members and all of our customers.  Our hearts go out to those around the world, many in countries with limited infrastructure, who are suffering from COVID. Blessings to all of you and blessings on your meals.

—Judith Redmond

P.S. Above, when I described my approach to cooking, I should have mentioned that the real cook in my household is my husband.  He is one of those people who cooks intuitively and everything he makes always tastes like it came from a professional chef, so I have life pretty easy when it comes to dinnertime.