Preparing for your CSA ahead of your first pickup can make everything run smoother during the season. Here’s what you can do to be ready:
1. Clean out your fridge (and plan to do so periodically throughout the season)
Before your first pickup, get rid of any expired condiments, reorganize, and clean your fridge. Your share can take up a lot of space in your fridge, so make room. Your produce won’t generally come to you in bags or containers, so it’s a good idea to have clean shelves and drawers ready. You are going to want to thoroughly clean your fridge at least a few more times during the season because what you get will not look like what you get at the grocery store – shiny and clean. Your fridge will get dirty with actual dirt. My quick cleaning technique is to first do a pass with the crevice tool of my vacuum cleaner (the long attachment that comes to a point to fit into corners) followed by a quick wipe down with dilute white vinegar.
2. Get a few reusable grocery totes
Your share will be given to you in a box, which is awkward to carry. And if you bring the box home, you have to remember to bring it back (and, I don’t know about you, but I never remember to do that) because the farm probably reuses those box week to week. A better option is to bring a few reusable shopping totes.For our share, meant to feed 2-4 people for a week, I bring three totes. It could fit in two, but I like the third bag for delicate items, like tomatoes or peaches. The Envirosax brand is my favorite – they’re big, durable (I’ve had mine for at least 8 years), washable, easily foldable, and come in all sorts of pretty patterns.
3. Save produce bags from grocery store throughout the year
Your produce will come to you mostly unpackaged. Things like green beans might come in a bag, but others, like kale or carrots, might come loose or bound with a rubber band. When I get home after pickup, I immediately sort and put some items in plastic produce bags. It helps keep them fresher and makes managing space in my fridge easier. To reuse, just turn the bags inside out to dry.
4. Get a salad spinner
You are probably going to get greens, be it collards or lettuce greens, that are dirty. I spent my fair share of time eating somewhat gritty greens (and was fine with it!), but then I bought a $6 IKEA strainer. What a difference! It is really nice to have clean greens. Four years and the spinner is still going strong!
If you’re not into IKEA or sadly don’t live near one, the OXO salad spinner is supposed to be top of the line. It even has a brake to keep from over-drying greens!
Have more tips on preparing for your CSA? Leave a comment below and help others get ready for the season.