Garlic kale cauliflower rice; some of my all-time favorite things together in one simple, healthy dish. Truthfully, I could eat kale and cauliflower everyday, straight up, nothing fancy needed. But others in my household require more pomp-and-circumstance. Cauliflower rice has been a craze for awhile now with no signs of slowing down anytime soon. Both cauliflower and kale have been weekly additions to my CSA box, from Farm Fresh To You, and so this dish came together rather naturally as a great, easy go-to side dish for anything from chicken to fish.
For over 25 years, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. Here are some CSA basics: a farmer offers a certain number of “shares” to the public. Commonly the share consists of a box of vegetables, but other farm products may be included. Interested consumers purchase a share (aka a “membership” also called a “subscription“) and in return receive a box of seasonal produce each week throughout the farming season.
Advantages for Farmers:
- Get to spend time marketing the food early in the year, before their 16 hour days in the field start.
- Receive payment early in the season, which helps with the farm’s cash flow.
- Creates relationships with the people who eat the food they grow.
Advantages for Consumers:
- Eat ultra-fresh food, with all the flavor and vitamin benefits.
- Get exposure to new vegetables and new ways of cooking.
- Kids willingness to try food from “their” farm.
- Develops relationships with the farmer who grows their food.
But CSA’s (like the one I belong to to) aren’t confined to produce alone. Some farmers include the option for members to buy dairy products, eggs, homemade bread, meat, cheese, fruit, flowers or other farm products along with their veggies.
During COVID, CSA boxes have become even more popular. At LocalHarvest.com, a website that connects consumers with 7,000 CSAs around the country, the first traffic surge came in early March 2020. Previously, the site got about 15,000-20,000 visits a day, says Guillermo Payet, the site’s founder and president. But suddenly it was getting more then twice that. “By the end of March our servers were crashing—we were getting four to five times the usual load,” he says. A Google trend graph for “community supported agriculture” shows what Payet was seeing on an internet-wide scale: a massive spike.
Coronavirus has exposed the vulnerabilities and fragility of the U.S. global agribusiness supply chain. The CSA model’s focus on local and fresh is ideally suited for a crisis that has people deeply worried about germs on fruits and vegetables as the crops make their way from the field to the kitchen counter. The takeaway, the consumers’ habits have shifted for the better because of this pandemic. Federal and state governments are also now taking a page from CSAs. As part of its coronavirus relief, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has put out a call for $3 billion in contracts for farmers to produce and deliver fresh produce and dairy boxes to food banks, many of which are struggling to support the growing ranks of Americans who are hurting and out of work.
In short, you don’t have to belong to a farm to make my garlic kale cauliflower rice dish, but when making a recipe with just a few fresh ingredients, you can truly taste the difference. I hope post COVID, all those who are able, find some away to support local farmers in their area and help prevent, or at the very least, lesson the panic and food insecurities we saw during this pandemic.
Garlic Kale Cauliflower Rice
- 1 small cauliflower, grated or finely chopped in a food processor
- 1 bunch kale, stems removed and finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons Extra Virgin olive oil
- 1/2 yellow onion, finely chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2-3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, grated
- 1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cups fresh parsley, finely chopped
- Step 1 Place a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the olive and when hot but not smoking, add the onions, garlic and cumin and cook till fragrant, about 2 minutes. Next, stir in the cauliflower and cook, stirring occasionally, till tender, about 3 minutes.
- Step 2 Add in chopped kale and cook till slightly wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in the Parmesen, lemon juice, salt and pepper, parsley. Serve hot.