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Meal Planning with CSA boxes

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I see I've come to the right place, and I hope you gals can help me out! :

I haven't posted on MDC a ton, but I have been working on getting together a meal planner for people who get CSA boxes, since I looked and looked for this and never found one.

I'm hoping that y'all can share with me what approaches to meal planning with a CSA box work for your family, and any ideas or tips that are helpful. Also, what you'd like to see and be able to do in a meal planning tool like this. The planner and website are still in beta form, but the basic idea is that you can enter in what veggies you got in your box, and it will bring back recipes that match, which you can then add to your "meal plan", and access the recipes. Regular menu mailers don't work for people who get farm boxes, for obvious reasons.

So, I'm eager to hear your ideas and feedback. I intend on keeping the meal planner free forever; I just want it to serve the community it's intended for. Also, if you have any great recipes, or go-to recipes, that you would like to see as part of the database on this planner, send them to me! I haven't added much to the database yet, and I'm looking to add a bunch of vegan and vegetarian recipes, as well as recipes that can be tagged as dairy-free and gluten-free, and so on. (In a later phase of development, people will be able to refine their recipe search results around food categories such as that!) contact@eatrealgood.com

The planner can be found at: http://www.eatrealgood.com/meal-planner.html

And the main website is: http://www.eatrealgood.com

Thanks so much for your input!
post #2 of 8
Bumping because all of those moved threads are distracting!
post #3 of 8
Speakinf of CSA's... I was considering subscribing/shareholding with a local farm next summer... "$400 for roughly 5-9lbs of whatever is in season for a 20-week harvest period. A half-share costs $250. " It sounds good to me, is that about right price wise? I just realized I have no idea how much we spend solely on fruit and veg each week so I can't calculate!
post #4 of 8
I just paid 360 for about 16 weeks. It's a winter CSA which doesn't promise poundage, however. It comes to 22 a week, which I thought was pretty good. I always spend more at the Farmer's Market.
post #5 of 8
This is an excellent idea. In the beginning I really struggled to use my box and find recipes for all the vegetables I was receiving. I mean, you don't exactly see any use for Spigariello greens in Betty Crocker.

I wonder if there's a way you can utilize other recipe banks for your site. I know I've found a lot of great recipes on vegweb.com (and I'm not even a vegetarian).

Anyway, what I've been doing has been rather time consuming. I take stock of all the veggies we have on hand and then try to remember if I've read any recipes lately that kind of match. The latest issue of Mothering was great for this- I was able to find two recipes that would use a lot of what I had. Then I either hit the cookbooks or go online. Unfortunately, most of the cookbooks I own call for very traditional vegetables. I've taken to checking out vegetarian cookbooks from the library just so I can find recipes that deal with my veggies. One that I would recommend is Simple Vegetarian Pleasures by Jeanne Lemlin.

Good luck with your venture. I can't wait to see you flesh it out.
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much, guys! MDC rocks.

I've been focusing on some of the other pages of my website, but I'm ready to spend some time fleshing out the recipe database in the meal planner. If you have a particular recipe you want in there, post it here or email me via the www.EatRealGood.com contact/about page.

What I would love is if you guys would post what some of the weirder/harder to cook with veggies are that you get in your boxes. I don't want to overlook something that would be useful for CSA folks. I'm also interested in the general contents of your winter boxes, since I've never gotten a fall/winter subscription.

About the pricing of boxes, in the middle of NC, my regular sized box was about 19-20/week for a BOUNTY of veggies, and the large box that I upgraded to (hee hee, we love our veggies!) was 26/week for a ridiculous amount of veggies. I was actually prepping and vacuum sealing some of them for use in the winter. Big picture, I was finding the prices to be roughly the same as the grocery store, but the freshness was off the charts, the quality was outstanding, and the particular CSA I used delivered to my house, so that was just hog heaven. We just moved, and I'm looking for which farm to subscribe to in our new area, but not finding one that delivers. Oh well.

Thanks again for your kind and supportive words around my new venture. I'm really excited about it, and look forward to hearing what kinds of veggies you're getting and having a hard time finding recipes for. You guys are the folks I'm trying to make things easier for.
post #7 of 8
We just joined a CSA - it is so much fun trying new things, and for some reason, feel like we're on a mission to eat it all before it goes bad (I am queen of spoiled greens when I buy at the grocery!). We got celeriac one week, tomatillos, chinese cabbage a couple of times (we're in a cabbage salad rut), bok choy, and greens that look like baby spinach but are peppery. Stuff I probably never would have bought. Allrecipes.com was very limited in their offerings. Cookinglight.com had a much bigger recipe bank for unusual veggies, but a lot of their recipes are time consuming. Love your idea. Our CSA was supposed to give us recipes, but it hasn't happened.
post #8 of 8
We love our CSA box, this is our fourth year and are now very adept at using or preserving all of what we are given. Check out www.farmfreshtoyou.com for a great listing of veggies and how to use them. We pay about $22/week for 26 weeks of a large share of veggies. And by large, we have a family of four and freeze/preserve a lot of that share for use in the winter. I also reference epicurious.com, vegetariantimes.com to get ideas sometimes. Our CSA is great about giving out recipes, bless them.
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