Whether you order from our online store, Eat Local PEI, or you're a member in our Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, you're likely getting a weekly or bi-weekly box of fresh produce. While it's exciting to receive a variety of fruits and vegetables, so we want to make sure you get the most out of your CSA experience and avoid any of that awesome local food from going to waste.
In this post, we'll share some tips for reducing food waste and making the most of your CSA box.
Did you know?According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), about one-third of the food produced in the world is lost or wasted every year. In North America, it's estimated that up to 40% of all food produced ends up in the landfill!
As you can see, reducing food waste is important for several reasons. First, it helps to conserve natural resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with food production. Second, it can save you money by making the most of the food you have.
Plan Your Meals
One of the best ways to reduce food waste is to plan your meals in advance. Take a look at what you received in your CSA box and think about what you can make with it. Use meal planning apps or websites to help you come up with ideas.
Here are some great meal planning apps that can help you get started with reducing food waste:
- Mealime (https://www.mealime.com/)
- Plan to Eat (https://www.plantoeat.com/)
- Paprika Recipe Manager (https://www.paprikaapp.com/)
- Yummly (https://www.yummly.com/)
- Cookpad (https://cookpad.com/)
These apps can assist you in coming up with delicious meal ideas and utilizing the items you receive in your CSA box.
For you! Recipe Bundles and Free Recipes
Store Produce Properly
Knowing how to store produce properly can also help extend its lifespan. Some fruits and vegetables should be stored in the refrigerator, while others are best kept at room temperature. Research the best storage methods for each item in your CSA box.
Here are some basic produce storage tips to keep in mind:
Refrigerate: Leafy greens, berries, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, celery, asparagus, ripe tomatoes, and herbs.
Room temperature (pantry): Tomatoes (unripe), avocados, melons, apples, bananas, pears, oranges, lemons, limes, grapefruit, pineapple, mango, papaya, onions, garlic, and potatoes.
Keep away from direct sunlight: Most fruits and vegetables should be stored away from direct sunlight, as it can cause them to ripen or spoil faster.
Keep dry: Keep produce dry to prevent the growth of mold or bacteria.
Use airtight containers: Airtight containers can help prolong the freshness of your produce by keeping moisture and air out.
Remember, different fruits and vegetables have different storage needs, so it's always a good idea to do some research on the best storage methods for the items in your CSA box.
Don't be afraid to get creative with your CSA box. Try new recipes and experiment with different flavor combinations. You might discover a new favorite dish or ingredient.
Share with Others
If you find yourself with more produce than you can use, consider sharing it with others by hosting a dinner at your house with friends and family! You could give some to a neighbor or donate it to a local food bank or soup kitchen. These are great ways to encourage generosity in our local food community as well as connecting with friends and loved ones over good food.
If you have food scraps or produce that has gone bad, don't throw it in the trash. Instead, start a compost pile or bin. Composting is an easy way to reduce food waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. If you don't have a garden yourself, take advantage of our local composting program where the province converts our organic waste into compost that gardeners and local farms source to feed their soils.