Maximize your CSA Share

by | Jun 23, 2015 | CSA Member Updates

Thank you to those that made it out to our first Harvest Event during our Father’s Day Tractor Show this past weekend!  It was fun catching up with returning shareholders and great meeting some of the new CSA members sharing in the harvest this season.  If you missed the seminar, no worries, we’ve got you covered.

There are many ways to maximize your CSA share and it is important to use all of the options available in order to keep your fruits and vegetables fresh.  Preservation methods can also be an added bonus for consumption when things are not in peak season.  We will discuss canning and freezing for winter months enjoyment in further detail at our Summer Harvest Event.

Storing Produce:
It’s important to remember that different vegetables and fruits require different storing conditions and it is essential to store them properly for maximum longevity. After receiving your share box, unpack the contents as soon as possible and assess the storage needs of your produce.  Following proper storage recommendations will extend the life of your produce.  If you are unsure of how an item should be stored we would be happy to answer any questions.  Otherwise, you can find some great resources on the internet with plenty of information on proper food storage.

Our goal is to make sure our CSA members get the most out of their farm share while keeping you and your families happy and healthy with delicious fresh produce!  We consider the most important factors in food storage to be temperature and humidity.  As a general rule, following these guidelines should get you started in the right direction.

Fruits: Cold Storage (refrigerate at or around 38 degrees)
Apples, Berries, Melons
Tip – wrap cut fruits to retain moisture and prevent flavor transfer

Room Temperature Storage
Tomatoes, Peaches
Tip – ripen at room temp away from sunlight, store in refrigerator when ripened

Vegetables: Cold Storage (refrigerate at or around 38 degrees)
Asparagus, Green Beans, Carrots, Beets, Sweet Corn, Lettuces, Spinach
Tip – storing rinsed greens with a paper towel will absorb excess moisture and promote crisping

Cool Storage (cool, dry location – cupboard or pantry)
Garlic, Onions, Potatoes
Tip – do not store in plastic bags, air circulation promotes a longer shelf life  

Dehydrating and Juicing

Dehydrating fruits and vegetables is a great way to preserve your produce. You can dehydrate any fruit or vegetable and it is fairly easy to do. The process takes 9-12 hours, depending on the fruit or vegetable you are dehydrating, and it then becomes a delicious treat. Take dehydrated fruits and vegetables on hikes, camping, or even for those yard work days. It’s an excellent way to help prolong great tasting home grown vegetables and also gives members a fun new way to consume the CSA veggies every week, eliminating excess waste!

If you would like to purchase a dehydrator through Pahl’s to be delivered with your share box please follow this link to purchase online, Dehydrator Order Form.  The price of the dehydrator is $39, including tax and delivery.  We will be accepting orders for dehydrators until June 29th.  The dehydrator comes with cooking instructions and we will also be providing recipes along the way for you to try out! Some vegetables such as beats or carrots do require a soft boil in order for their skin to be penetrated and properly dehydrated, so it is important that you read into how to dehydrate properly for your desired fruit or veggie.

How to Store Dehydrated Foods

  • Dehydrated foods can be stored in glass fruit jars or freezer bags
  • Before packing, allow foods to cool completely (30-60 minutes)
  • Dried fruits must go through an additional “conditioning” period before storing. Place in loosely packed jars, and shake once a day for 7-10 days. This will ensure any remaining moisture is evenly distributed between the dried pieces. If condensation appears on the jar, return the fruit to the dehydrator for further drying.
  • Place all dried foods in air tight containers. Store cool, dark location until ready to use
  • **Remember to fully inspect the contents when opening a container for use. If there are any signs of mold or spoilage are evident, discard immediately***
  • Dried food can be stored for one year at 60 degrees F but for only 6 months at 80 degrees F. Dried vegetables typically have half the shelf life of dried fruits.

How to Rehydrate Dried Fruit

  • Place dried fruit in a bowl and cover with boiling water
  • Allow it to sit for 15-20 minutes until plump, then strain and use
  • For added flavor, use hard liquor like rum, bourbon, brandy or even fruit juice instead of water, just warm the liquid in the microwave then pour over the dried fruit 

Juicing is also a great way to prepare and eat your fruits and vegetables that we will be providing you. It is a fun and tasty way to try different combinations and see what works best for you. Patti C. is passionate about juicing and stresses to put 50% veggies and 50% fruits into your mix. Adding proteins such as flax seed can add a nutritional value and taste great as well. Don’t worry, we will also be providing many recipes along the way for juicing! 

Upcoming CSA Harvest Event

Our sweet snap peas are looking great, and it looks like they will be ready to harvest come the 4th of July weekend.  We will communicate details on the Pea Picking Harvest Event in an upcoming CSA newsletter.  Please feel free to bring family members and anyone splitting shares to the harvest event, all are welcome!  We ask that you bring your own container and feel free to pick as much as your heart desires.   We do ask you to take an abundant amount as we would hate to see any go to waste, and remember you could always dehydrate or juice them!

We are looking forward to this season and we hope you enjoy the first week!


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