It’s easy to get into a grocery and cooking groove when you only shop for your standby, favorite meals. You grab what you want and cook the same eight or nine meals in various forms from week to week to appease your family’s appetites.
But doesn’t that seem a bit monotonous? What if there were something more adventurous, something that challenged your cooking skills and introduced nutrient-dense, locally grown produce into your family’s diet?
Community Supported Agriculture boxes are full of wonderful surprises each week that will stock your refrigerator and pantry with incredible produce grown on nearby farms and summon your inner Iron Chef. Subscribing to a program is a great way to get engaged with the local farming community and support a cause that fosters healthy cooking and eating while exciting the family at dinner time.
Leafy greens typically do well in the Lower Cape Fear. Collards, kale, Swiss chard, cabbages and more typically will be staples in most programs. Kohlrabi, radicchio, turnips, carrots, potatoes, radishes, daikon, and a host of herbs can also be found in abundance in many local boxes.
Seasonally, there is much more variety found in the spring and summer as this area’s growing season is somewhat limited. However, with freshly picked fruits like blueberries, strawberries, peaches and even apples from the western part of North Carolina, there’s plenty to get excited about.
When joining a program, it’s important to realize it’s not just fresh veggies for your household. It’s also an investment in local agriculture, which helps ensure farmers stay in business, can offer a wider range of varieties, and supply local restaurants. It also keeps locally grown produce affordable for less fortunate families in farming communities.
So instead of buying the same old bag of salad mix from the chain grocery store, think about making an impact with where you buy produce and create some nutritious out-of-the-box meals.
Now, let’s tackle that intimidating-looking kohlrabi.
With a slightly milder, sweeter taste than broccoli stems, one cup of kohlrabi packs a punch of 140% of recommended daily vitamin C and is an excellent source of B6 and other minerals. Kohlrabi greens can be delicious replacement for collards or kale. They’re best cooked but can also be sliced thinly for salads. Peel the skin of the bulb if it’s thick or rubbery, otherwise leave it on.
Kohlrabi, Cilantro, Poblano, Carrot & Citrus Slaw
- 6 cups kohlrabi, grated or julienned
- 1 cup carrot, grated or julienned
- 1 cup cilantro, roughly chopped
- 1 poblano, minced
- 1/4 cup green onions, chopped
- 1/8 cup orange zest
- 1/8 cup lime zest
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup orange juice
- 1/4 cup lime juice
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 Tbsp apple cider or red wine vinegar
Trim kohlrabi, cutting off both ends, and cut in half. Julienne or shred kohlrabi in food processor. Follow the same instructions for carrot, then place in a large bowl together. Finely mince the poblano, zest the orange and lime, chop the green onions, and rough chop the cilantro. Add these to the kohlrabi and carrot. For dressing, whisk orange and lime juice, honey, vinegar and salt in a small bowl, then toss into large bowl. Refrigerate for one hour before serving.
Shrimp, Daikon & Kohlrabi Ceviche
- 1 lb. fresh, local shrimp, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/2 cup kohlrabi, julienned
- 1/2 cup daikon, julienned
- 2 Tbsp Vidalia onion, minced finely
- 2 Tbsp green onions, sliced on the bias
- 1/2 cup rice wine vinegar
- 1/8 cup soy sauce
- 1/8 cup tamari sauce
- 1 Tbsp sesame seed oil
- 2 Tbsp lime juice
- 2 Tbsp lemon juice
- 1 Tbsp lime zest
- 1 Tbsp lemon zest
- 1/8 tsp red chile, minced finely
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 2 Tbsp sesame seeds
Trim kohlrabi, cutting off both ends, and cut in half. Peel and julienne daikon. Peel and cut shrimp into 1/2-inch pieces. Slice green onions diagonally, and finely mince the Vidalia onion. Zest and juice 1 lemon and 1 lime. Gently fold together all ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate for 2 hours before serving.
Lemon & Parmesan Roasted Kohlrabi
- 3 cups kohlrabi, chopped
- 1 lemon
- 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
- 3 green onions, chopped
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
Preheat oven to 425°F. Trim kohlrabi, cutting off both ends, and cut in half. Chop into bite-sized pieces. Zest and juice lemon. Toss kohlrabi with olive oil, half of lemon juice, sea salt, pepper and garlic powder in a large bowl and add to a large sheet pan. Roast for approximately 30 minutes, stirring halfway. Remove from oven and toss with remaining lemon juice, lemon zest, Parmesan cheese and chopped green onions. Serve immediately.