Category Archives: 2018 CSA

CSA–Week Seven


Thursday July 5, 4:00-6:00pm, Cook Field Parking Lot

Happy Fourth of July

This week marks the shift into summer harvest.  You will begin to see fewer leafy greens and more summer veggies–tomatoes, peppers, squash.

Your box for this week:

  • Chard
  • Eggplant
  • Carrots
  • Spring onions
  • Celery leaf

Self select—possibly cucumbers and tomatoes if they are ready

Tentative for next week

  • Cabbage
  • Tomatoes
  • Beets
  • Carrots

Farm staff sends an enthusiastic THANK YOU for the great job you are all doing cleaning and returning your boxes.

Eggplant this week marks the real beginning of summer.  Like tomatoes and peppers, it is sensitive to cold and will only thrive when there is adequate heat during the day and warm temperatures at night.

Eggplant is believed to have originated in India, so you might consider making some Baba Ganoush–a wonderful dip served with toasted pita or sliced veggies.

The Best Baba Ganoush Recipe


Rich, smoky, and creamy, our recipe for baba ganoush uses the salad spinner to concentrate flavor and a slow emulsion method for the ultimate in dippable texture.


  • 3 medium Italian eggplants (about 2 pounds total)
  • 3 medium cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon, plus more as desired
  • 3 tablespoons tahini
  • 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • Kosher salt


  1. If using a gas burner or grill (recommended): Preheat a gas or coal grill to medium heat and place eggplants directly over heat source. Cook, turning occasionally with tongs, until completely tender and well charred on all sides, 30 to 40 minutes. Wrap with foil and let rest 15 minutes. Continue to step 3.
  2. If using the broiler: Adjust rack to 6 inches below broiler element and preheat broiler to high. Place eggplant on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Broil, turning occasionally, until charred on all sides and completely tender, about 1 hour. Eggplants should be very, very tender when cooked. Test near the stem and bottom ends. If a toothpick or skewer meets any resistance, continue cooking. (See note.) Remove from oven and gather up foil, crimping it around the eggplants to form a sealed package. Let the eggplants rest for 15 minutes. Continue to step 3.
  3. Open foil package. Working one eggplant at a time, use a sharp paring knife to slit it open lengthwise. Carefully scoop out soft flesh with a large spoon and transfer to a strainer set in a large bowl. Once all eggplant is scooped, pick out any stray bits of skin and blackened flesh and discard.
  4. Transfer eggplant to a salad spinner, distributing it evenly around the perimeter. Spin gently until all excess moisture is extracted. Discard all drippings, wipe out bowl. and return eggplant to bowl.
  5. Add garlic and lemon juice to eggplant and stir vigorously with a fork until eggplant breaks down into a rough paste, about 1 1/2 minutes. Stirring constantly and vigorously, add the tahini followed by the olive oil in a thin, steady stream. The mixture should become pale and creamy. Stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and more lemon juice if desired.
  6. Transfer to a serving bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and serve with warm pita bread or vegetables for dipping. Baba ganoush can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Let baba ganoush warm to room temperature before serving.

Or you can slice the eggplant, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and grill.

CSA–Week Six


Thursday June 28, 4:00-6:00pm, Cook Field Parking Lot

What’s in your box this week:

  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Green onions
  • Cabbage
  • Cucumbers

Self Select Items–Chard, Parsley, Celery leaf

Tentative for next week’s box:

  • Chinese cabbage
  • Carrots
  • Spring onions
  • Sweet peppers

A Message From Charles Griffin:  The Farmer’s Perspective





I want to start by thanking everyone in the Community Supported Agriculture program for your support of the Institute for Food Farm. The Institute for Food depends on your support to keep the farm and the program going.

One aspect of many CSA programs around the world is that by joining such a program you are making a social commitment to support farmers and the work they perform on the land. Part of this agreement includes the sharing of the risk and bounty involved in food production.

In this third year of developing the farm’s production capacity, we have run into several formidable issues. The weather events are easy to convey, with three flooding rains most of the early plantings were affected. Eighthly degree temperatures in April certainly stimulated several crops to go to flower prematurely. This has limited our offerings so far this Spring.

Other events also indirectly related to the weather have limited crop yields. On a new organically managed farm, usually by the third or fourth year, insect populations have made the farm their new home. In the transition from conventional to organic, the weeds, too, have been liberated by the lack of herbicides. With continued rains, managing weeds and insect pests is quite difficult. All of this will change as the farm establishes a balance between beneficial and pest organisms. However, it takes multiple seasons to achieve some balance.

The positive news is that we have nearly three acres of crops planted, and we will begin harvesting some of our favorite crops in the next few weeks. This year’s crops will still require the extra work of weeding and applications of pest management materials (all of which are approved for organic production).

So, again, thank you for your support of the Institute for Food farm’s CSA program. Your support is truly transforming a piece of local farm land into an oasis of healthy soil, healthy plants, and healthy food for everyone’s benefit!

Notes on cucumbers…

Cucumbers mark the coming of summer, thus the expression “cool as a cucumber.”  Crisp and light, they are comprised of 95% water.  Unlike some of the spring greens, they offer fewer vitamins and minerals, but they are rich in vitamin E (you can rub the inside of the peel on your face to refresh the skin).

I am a big fan of Raita, an Indian condiment, paired with spicy curries to cool the palate.  Mark Bitman, in his cookbook Minimalist Cooks at Home, has a  Chicken Curry in a Hurry recipe that is a staple in our house because it is easy, fast, and tasty.  Raita would be a great pairing.

The recipe is easy.


  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup chopped seeded English hothouse cucumber
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons chopped green onions
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin


Mix all ingredients in medium bowl. Season to taste with salt. Chill raita, covered, until ready to serve.

And if you have a little time on your hands, take care of your gut biome by making some sauerkraut with the cabbage in your box.   A tablespoon of sauerkraut each morning is the equivalent of taking a probiotic.

CSA–Week Five

  1.  Pick-Up:

Thursday, June 21, 4:00-6:00pm, Cook Field Parking Lot

Here’s what you can expect for week 5….

  • Beets
  • Kale
  • Garlic
  • Cut lettuce

Tentative list for week 6

  • Chard
  • Cabbage
  • Green onions
  • Baby carrots (maybe)
  • Parsley or cutting celery (possible self select)

Some ideas for beets…

Beets are extremely versatile plants.  They grow throughout the season with baby beets starting in June and final harvest coming just before the first frost.  So you will get beets throughout the season.  You can eat them raw or cooked, and you can eat both the greens and the root.  They are high in nutrients, and if you cook them with the skin on you will benefit from the trace minerals that lie just below the skin surface.  The skin rubs off easily after it is cooked.  As you probably figured out, beet juice stains.  You can remove the stain from a cutting board by simply placing it out in the sun for a day.

I love roasted beets drizzled with balsamic vinegar.  There is something about the combination of the earthy taste of beets and the crispness of vinegar that  creates a Ratatouille moment (you know the Pixar film where the rats experience food combinations as bursts of color and music). This is a simple recipe.  You just preheat the oven to 375.  Wash the beets and coat lightly with oil; sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap in aluminum foil and roast for 45-60 minutes until tender.  Let cool for 10 minutes and drizzle  the vinegar on top.  You can also add cooked beets to a salad.

Here is a great Roasted Beet Salad Recipe (from MIchael Waupoose 2001 winner of  Food for Thought Recipe Contest):


  • 6-8 small beets, scrubbed, tops trimmed to 1 inch
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup pecans or walnuts
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cups baby salad greens
  • 1/2 sweet onion thinly sliced
  • 1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese or feta

Roast the beets. Toast pecans  and finely chop.  When beets are cooled scrub off the skin with a paper towel and remove stems and tails.  Cut beets into quarters.  Combine mustard and vinegar in a bowl.  Wish in olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Toss salad greens in a bowl with a little dressing. Top with  beets, onions, blue cheese and pecans.  Add more dressing to taste.

Or make Beet Soup, which can be served hot or cold (from Dog Hollow Farm, Wisconsin).


  • 4 large beets
  • 1 large potato
  • other vegetables:  kale, chard, spinach, celery, carrots, etc.
  • 1 large onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • plain yogurt

Wash all vegetables and cut into chunks.  Place in large steamer over boiling water; steam until very soft.  Using water from the steamer, and any other stock or water as needed, blend cooked vegetables in a blender or Cuisinart until smooth and thick. Return to the pot; heat slowly.  Add salt and pepper. Serve hot with a dollop of yogurt in the center.  Or refrigerate overnight and serve cold with yogurt.

Last season, our intern Kristine Camper set up a Pinterest site to share recipes. There are a wealth of suggestions for what you can do with your weekly produce.  If you are looking for ideas, here is a link:

Also, did you know you can now follow the Institute for Food on Instagram.  Stephanie has been posting work updates.

CSA–Week Four


Thursday, June 14, 4:00-6:00pm, Cook Field Parking Lot

Your Week 4 Box….

  • Kohlrabi
  • Swiss Chard
  • Green onions
  • Cut lettuce

Tentative list for Week 5

  • Kale
  • Beets
  • Green onions
  • Chinese cabbage

Thanks for doing such a great job cleaning out your boxes.  Don’t forget to return them each week once they are cleaned out.

A few notes about kohlrabi…

Kohlrabi is a close relative of broccoli, but as the name suggests (kohl + rabi) it is better described as a cabbage turnip.  Some botanists actually believe kohlrabi is a hybrid of these two vegetables.  Like other brassicas, kohlrabi is rich in vitamins  A and C, as well as high in potassium and calcium; best of all it is high in fiber and contains only 40 calories.  The leaves are also edible.

Kohlrabi can last for up to a month in the refrigerator in a plastic bag, but don’t let it sit.  It is a wonderful snack food eaten raw.  Wash it, cut off the outer skin and slice it in thin sticks.  You can make the dip Stephanie shared (cream cheese mixed with diced green onions, salt and pepper) as a garnish.  You can also grate it and make a coleslaw or salad.  Mix it with parsley and green onions and the dressing of your choice.  Or you can try it with lime juice, cilantro, and  chili powder to spice it up.    To turn it into a meal, add this to fish tacos.

Last week, CSA subscriber Mary Henry shared this note and recipe to use up those greens….

If anyone needs more ways to use greens, please share this recipe (my mom forwarded to me years ago from a garden nursery newsletter). You can use non-dairy cheese if preferred and any greens (e.g., lacinato kale) instead of the chard. It’s really good!
Rainbow Chard & Cauliflower Pizza

One 10” pizza serves 2

  • One 10” pizza crust
  • 1 bunch rainbow chard, leaves and stems cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 head white, purple or yellow cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red chili flakes
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 2 ounces part skim mozzarella, coarsely grated

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Toss the cauliflower florets with 1 Tablespoon olive oil. Season with a little salt and pepper. Scatter on a baking sheet and roast them while the oven preheats until they are starting to brown —- 15 to 20 minutes. Rinse and drain the chard. Cut the leaves off the stems, leaving them wet. Line up all the stems in a bunch and thinly slice them crosswise. Stack the leaves, roll them up then slice them thinly crosswise. Over medium heat, warm the remaining olive oil and add the shallots. When they are starting to get translucent, add the garlic, chili flakes, and cook for about a minute. Add the chard stems and leaves. Season with a little salt and pepper. Sauté until the leaves are wilted. The volume will reduce a lot.

Sprinkle the cheese over the crust. Layer on the chard. Top with the roasted cauliflower. Bake the pizza for about 10 minutes. What a great way to get your veggies!

This recipe is from the Kaiser Permanente website under Dr. Maring’s Farmer Market and Recipe Update.

If you have a go-to recipe to share, please send it to, and I will make sure it gets added to the weekly blog.

CSA–Week Three


Thursday, June7, 4:00-6:00pm Cook Field Parking Lot

Here is what to expect for Week 3:

In the box….

  • Beets
  • Green onions
  • Kale
  • Cut lettuce

Self selection….

  • Kale
  • Garlic scapes
  • Radish

Note:  we will have two different types of kale this week–one variety for the box and one variety as a self select item.

Tentative List for Week 4

  • Kale
  • Lettuce
  • Beets
  • Kohlrabi

As you can see our greenhouse is full and farm staff are busy. 

We have broccoli, cabbage, and possibly cauliflower coming in about two to three weeks.

Weekly Menu Suggestions…

Make a pesto with the garlic scapes


  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped garlic scapes*
  • Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • A few generous grinds of black pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
  • *Or use half scapes and half herbs such as basil, dill and chervil


  1. In a small, dry pan set over very low heat, lightly toast the pine nuts, stirring or tossing occasionally until just beginning to brown, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool for a few minutes.
  2. Combine the scapes, pine nuts, lemon juice and zest, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Pulse about 20 times, until fairly well combined. Pour in the olive oil slowly through the feed tube while the motor is running. When the oil is incorporated, transfer the pesto to a bowl and stir in the grated cheese. If you plan to freeze the pesto, wait to add the cheese until after you’ve defrosted it.

Another easy option is to grill the scapes.

Toss them with olive oil, salt and pepper and grill over direct heat for two minutes.  Flip them after the first minute to get the other side.  Grill them long enough so that they are charred in spots.  Finish with some flakey salt and lemon juice.

Options for Kale…

Did you know that kale was a favorite vegetable in ancient Rome.  It is rich in vitamins A, C and the mineral calcium.  Kale also has the highest protein content of all the cultivated vegetables.  Currently, the largest consumer of kale in the U.S. is Pizza Hut (not for eating, but to decorate their salad bars).  But actually kale salad is wonderful, especially if you massage the kale in advance.   A brief massage not only makes the leaves more tender, it also removes some of the bitterness.

How to massage kale:  wash the leaves and remove the mature stems by folding the leaf in half lengthwise and stripping away the thick stem.  You can rub the leaves together raw for a few minutes, or add some  olive oil and lemon juice and then massage.  As you rub the leaves will darken and become silky. Massage to taste; if it’s still bitter rub a little more.

Also, try making some crispy roasted kale chips. My kids eat these as if they were potato chips.  All you do is de-stem and cut the leaves into bite-sized pieces.  Coat with olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Preheat your oven to 400o. Put the kale on a baking sheet in a single layer and roast until crispy–about 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on the cooking because the leaves brown quickly. You can store the chips in an airtight container.  Try mixing with soy sauce and sesame seeds for a little variation.

For storage, wash kale and wrap the leaves in a damp towel, store in the hydrator drawer of your refrigerator.  You can keep kale fresh like this for up to a week.


CSA–Week Two


Thursday, May 31, 4:00-6:00pm in the Cook Field Parking Lot

Here is what you can expect for Week 2:

  • Swiss Chard
  • Lettuce (head lettuce)
  • Spinach
  • Green Onions


Tentative List for Week 3 ( for those of you who like to plan ahead)

  • Baby beets
  • Onion family—green garlic or spring onions
  • Kale or Chard
  • Lettuce—possibly Romaine
  • Spinach (maybe)

This is salad season.  We will continue to have a limited selection of vegetables for the next couple of weeks.  The dramatic temperature shift from April to May took a toll on some of our early crops.   We will attempt a late planting of radishes and turnips.  The good news is that we have baby tomatoes in the green house, which means you can anticipate seeing tomatoes in your boxes  early in July.

Farm Volunteers Needed…

If you have any interest in getting your hands in the dirt, Ian will have a volunteer sign up sheet at the pick up this week.  We welcome volunteers who can donate a minimum of two hours on the farm Monday through Thursday between 9:00 and 5:00.

Some thoughts on Chard…

Chard is one of those nutritious leafy greens that people often overlook.  It is indigenous to the Mediterranean, but is known as Swiss  chard because it was initially classified by a 16th century Swiss botanist.  It is rich in vitamins A, E and C as well as iron and calcium.  Food scientists have found that the minerals in chard are more efficiently absorbed than they are from other leafy greens like spinach. So you can feel good when you eat your chard!

For storage, rinse the leaves, wrap chard in a damp paper towel and keep in your hydrator drawer in the refrigerator.  It will keep for 2-4 days.  You can also freeze chard by chopping the leaves and quickly blanching.

For cooking, you can sauté it with garlic or onion and butter; or you can  give it an Asian flavor by sautéing it with garlic, soy sauce, and hoisin sauce.  There are also a number of recipes on line that suggest cooking with vinegar.

My favorite chard recipe is  from Annie Somerville, Fields of Greens cookbook (130-131).  She says this is more of a fall recipe, but since the chard is in season…why not?









  • 1/3 cup brown butter (butter melted and simmered for 8 minutes then strained)
  • 1 tablespoon dried currants (plumped in hot water)
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisons (plumped in hot water)
  • 1 bunch chard (7 cups packed leaves)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 medium onion thinly sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup chopped walnuts toasted or pine nuts
  • Pasta
  • Grated parmesan cheese

Wash and slice the chard into 2 inch wide strips.  Prepare the water for the pasta so you can cook in time with chard.  Heat olive oil in a large pan; add onion, 1/4 teaspoon salt and some pepper;  sauté until the onion begins to wilt–about 5 minutes.  Add garlic, chard, and another 1/4 teaspoon salt and sauté for an additional 5 minutes until chard is just tender. Reduce heat to low.  Finish cooking and drain pasta and then add it to chard along with currants, raisons, and nuts.  Toss, season, grate some parmesan on the top and serve.




2018 Season CSA–Welcome

Welcome to Week One of the Institute for Food 2018 Season CSA

Pick Up: Thursday, May  24 from 4:00pm to 6:00pm in the Cook Field Parking lot at the pavilion.

We had a late and rather cold transition to spring this season (remember the snow on April 16).  So, our first weekly harvest is limited, and we will not be offering self select options.  That said, the produce you will get in your box this week is looking good.

Here is what you can expect for this week:

  • Loose Leaf Head Lettuce
  • Spinach
  • Radishes
  • Green Garlic
  • Institute for Food Salsa





In preparation for many good salads to come, Ian shared his vinaigrette recipe. This is something you can whisk together in a jar and use throughout the week.

Ian’s Vinaigrette

  • 2/3 cup    Olive Oil
  • 1/3 cup    Balsamic Vineager
  • 1/3 cup    Honey    (Note you can buy honey from Alex Zomechek on the honor system at the Ecology Research Center, which is located on the hill just above the farm on Somerville Rd. Also, check out the Oxford Farmer’s Market or Moon Coop for local honey.)
  • Dijon mustard (however much you like)
  • Crushed garlic (Ian says a lot–which I interpret as to taste)
  • Salt & Pepper

Add all the ingredients in a jar and shake or whisk them together in a bowl.  If you have a favorite salad dressing recipe, please share it on the IF facebook page at @IFMiamiOH.

Also, some tips on CSA best practices:

  • If you prefer not to be responsible for returning your clean CSA box each week, you can bring some reusable bags for the pick up
  • Remember to sign the sign out sheet
  • Remember to remove and store your veggies promptly to keep them fresh so they will last the week.
  • Please wipe your boxes out once you take out the produce.  This saves time for farm staff.
  • We welcome comments, suggestions, requests, and recipes
  • If you miss the pick up, please call or txt Ian immediately:  513-600-6178 (might as well just add him to your contact list)

A note about Green Garlic….

Green garlic is a young garlic plant harvested before the bulb has hardened.  It looks a little like a scallion or green onion.  In this early phase, green garlic is a little milder and sweeter than mature garlic, and it mellows with cooking.  It tastes great in salads and stir fries.  For a really simple recipe  try sauteing it in olive oil with parsley and red pepper flakes and then mix with spaghetti. Grind a little parmesan on top and serve.

Here’s a recipe to try that uses both the radishes and the green garlic:


  • 2  bunch of radishes
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped green garlic
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • salt & pepper

Clean the radishes thoroughly.  Cut off the upper leaves and chop them coarsely.  Cut of the remaining lower leaves and stems and discard.  Trim and quarter radish bulbs.  Heat butter in a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add radishes and cook stirring often for about 2 minutes.  Stir in radish greens and green garlic, and chives and cook until wilted, another 1-2 minutes.   Season with salt and pepper to taste.  This works as a good side dish or can be served over rice.

I often just eat the radishes raw as a snack with some coarse salt.  You can also add the radish greens to a stir fry.

Sign Up For the Institute for Food 2018 CSA

Spring is here, which means the Institute for Food farm is coming back to life. Farm staff are already busy working in the greenhouse planting flats of arugula, spinach, lettuce, and tomatoes in preparation for the summer harvest.

Last season we piloted our first CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. Each week during the summer and fall months subscribers took home a box packed full of fresh seasonal vegetables grown on the Institute for Food farm. It offers a great way to build community and support healthy eating. As one subscriber commented on our end of season survey: “I love going to the fridge or pantry and asking—what should we eat tonight, and basing the answer on what good veggies we have available.”

Beyond supplying seasonal, sustainably grown produce, the CSA also provides a unique opportunity for hands-on learning. Students  assist in tending, harvesting, washing, packing, and delivering boxes. In the process, they learn basic environmental science related to plant growth, nutrient cycles, and plant insect interactions. They also apply this knowledge to the principles and practices of sustainability in connection with farm planning, nutrition, small business development, community outreach and teamwork. In this way the Institute for Food farm links students and community members in supporting its mission to foster healthy food, healthy eating, healthy communities, and a healthy planet.

To access the sign up form, click on the CSA menu in the top right.