Using CSA vegetables is like a game of Tetris, says member Melissa Olson. She and her husband tend to first target vegetables with the shortest shelf life, such as leafy dark greens.
“It’s a challenge,” Melissa says. “You’ve got your leafy greens, you’ve got your salad. … First there is the kale …chard and the choy come next.” Her go-to summer dish: sauteed mushrooms and kale with eggs.
As a nutritionist and registered dietitian, Melissa knows that over time vegetables lose not just flavor but nutrients, too. She’s also well-aware that fresh vegetables, an essential part of health, can be unaffordable for some Brooklyn individuals and families. So she puts the Central Brooklyn CSA on the table.
“I recommend it whenever they’re on food stamps and they’re having trouble getting access to affordable vegetables,” says Melissa, who has worked at Community Healthcare Network for four years. “The clients that have used it have really done well with their health.”
“I truly believe a CSA share could be a life-changing experience for someone’s health,” she says in a tone of humility. “I know it has been for us.”
That the Community Healthcare Network branch is located close to the Central Brooklyn CSA distribution site makes it even more accessible for Melissa and her clients who choose to participate. Hebron SDA happens to be on Melissa’s way home from Community Healthcare Network, such that she integrates Thursday pick-ups seamlessly into her routine.
Melissa also encourages others to attend the Windflower Farm annual Harvest Party, if possible. She and her husband so enjoyed seeing the coop houses where tomatoes grow and the lush fields of green where herbs and – yes – the kale stalks grow. “Now when we eat our vegetables we can picture where the vegetables were grown,” says Melissa.
Until the summer CSA season ends, she and her husband, along with their two year-old child, will continue to team for CSA Tetris, at which they’ve achieved a high level of creativity to accommodate her husband’s gluten allergy. Melissa is also working on her blog on gluten-free basics, called the Gluten Free Game, where she has recently posted her first video on gluten-free baking. That, together with Melissa’s use of the CSA in both personal and professional aspects, is a win-win.