Top CSA Farm Share Kitchen Tools
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is an excellent way to support local farmers and obtain fresh, seasonal produce. By joining a CSA farm share, members receive a weekly or bi-weekly share of the farm's harvest. This not only provides members with fresh produce but also promotes a sustainable and resilient local food system.
For CSA members who want to make the most of their farm share, having the right kitchen tools is essential. Here are the top 10 kitchen tools for people who are members of a CSA farm share:
Chef's Knife – a really good quality one
Preparing food is so much faster and enjoyable when you have a good quality Chef’s Knife. One with a blade that is approximately 8 inches is a good choice for CSA chefs. Paderno is a Canadian company based in PEI and you can even get their knives from Canadian Tire which is a bonus, especially when you find a sale and have some Canadian Tire money saved up! Make sure you keep it SHARP (see below)!
A quality knife sharpener
There’s no sense in having a great knife if you’re not keeping it sharp. It’s a good practice to sharpen it before every use. My favourite is the Speedy Sharp but it takes a bit of technique. The Accusharp Knife & Tool Sharpener is probably a better choice for those who want something really easy.
You probably have one or more but I would be remiss if I didn’t mention it. You might not know that it’s worth sizing it to your cutting knife. It’s also worth noting that glass cutting boards are the worst culprits for dulling your knife, followed shortly by plastic. Wood or bamboo are the ultimate. Home chef experts dedicate one to meat and another to vegetables to reduce chances of cross-contamination.
Debbie Meyer Green Bags
These are very popular with experienced CSA members to help them store, organize, and lengthen the life of their veggies. They absorb ethylene gas, emitted by all vegetables once harvested and less ethylene gas in your fridge means less spoilage. They’ll lengthen the time your produce lasts in the fridge and can also be used for things like bread. A pack of 20 will last for a year since you can re-use each bag 10 times.
Freezer Ziplock Bags
I am kicking myself as I write this since I am wishing I would have frozen a LOT more of my produce this winter. Here are some examples of things you can freeze to enjoy in the winter months:
Ground Cherries (anyone remember Lisa’s ground cherry cocktail? How good would that be with frozen ground cherries??)
As you get better at CSA, you can easily freeze a LOT of your food for the winter. If you find yourself with an excess of greens, you can simply blanch them and freeze them on a sheet pan; then pop them in a freezer bag to save until later. This is all we have left now and our frozen “greens cubes” are saving our pastas this winter. Get yourself a couple boxes of the pint sized bags and grab some gallon sized too. If you don’t like the idea of using plastic, then buy some Mason jars instead….
6. Mason Jars (Wide Mouth, quarts)
These are a great storage tool and will come in handy later when we all learn to do a better job of canning or fermenting veggies. It seems daunting but it’s really easy and fun! CSA masters use these to store their frozen veggies — garlic cloves for instance can be stored unpeeled right in the jar and frozen! Definitely get the wide-mouth jars. If you can only get one size, get the quarts.
Here’s a bonus hack for you: To get a bit of extra veg into your diet, you can use a wide mouth mason jar for storing Mason Jar salads — a great lunch meal for on-the-go.
7. Sheet Pan for Roasting
For those of you in our CSA, you’re familiar with me suggesting the “Sheet Pan Meal”. This allows you to throw your entire meal (meat, veggie, starch) onto one sheet pan, and prep a meal in 30 minutes. The sheet pan should have a lip and be large enough to handle large portions of food. The sheet pan also comes in handy to help you freeze clumps of blanched greens or berries. Make sure it can fit in your freezer.
8. Skillet — you have two choices:
- Basic oven-safe, non-stick frying pan
You’ll use this for omelettes, stir fry, pan sautes, or skillet meals. I’ve gone through a lot of the Canadian Tire ones and the Paderno stuff is as good as any but they’re all vastly inferior (in my opinion) to the…
- Cast iron skillet!
My absolute favourite kitchen tool is the cast iron fry pan. From making the most savory garlic, onion and mushroom dishes (cook them low & slow) to making perfect pancakes, these are the best! People are scared off by the higher maintenance but I’ve had mine as long as I can remember and haven’t done anything special apart from never using soap to clean it and always dry it immediately followed by a light wipe with cooking oil. You won’t believe how much better things taste out of here.
9. Food processor
Most of CSA masters have one. This is definitely the highest priced item on the list. It is very versatile and it a huge time-saver. You can use it for making salsa, pesto, and pureeing items like soups and sauces. It’s even a great tool for shredding carrots or cauliflower “rice.” We have a little one like this which has lasted really well and is another Canadian Tire money candidate.
10. Large Stock Pot
You’ll use this for soups and stews as well as to make regular batches of DIY veggie stock — a great way to use your carrot peels, tops, and other veggie scraps.
CSA Kitchen Tools 2.0…
I’ve also put together a list of more advanced tools that you’ll find helpful as you get more comfortable. These make adding healthy veggie dishes to your meals a pleasure.
To see the rest of our CSA Advanced Kitchen Tools List, enter your email address below.