Cookin’ Local, CSA-Style

My CSA (community supported agriculture) venture started when I became a farm hand at a local organic farm. From summer through the fall, winter, and spring, I worked closely with the farmer, from going through seed catalogues in the dead of winter to starting seedlings in the hoop house in the early spring, it was an experience that I will never forget.

Lucky for me, I am now able to eat from the bounty that I helped produce. Every week, I receive a bagful of just-picked organic produce that you can’t find at the store. Spring included my favorite farmer find: garlic scapes. Late summer arrived with heirloom tomatoes that make you wonder why the traditional red tomato is so popular. Every week, you’re greeted with a bag of farm-fresh vegetables that delight the senses. But the best part of the entire experience? Thinking of new ways to use every fruit, vegetable, and herb in creative dishes.

I’ve been challenging myself every week. You’ll find me in my kitchen figuring out how to use up all the cucumbers, zucchini, tomatoes, bok choy, swiss chard, and potatoes that my CSA share has to offer. The results have been pretty much been a home run, considering that when I head to the kitchen to make something, I know I want to spotlight these ingredients. I focus on simple and tasty dishes. There’s no better way to eat this fresh produce! (And of course eating it raw is always an option, too!)

Below is my recipe for roasted cherry tomato and basil pasta. It’s an homage to the first dish I had on my honeymoon to Italy. The spotlight is on the juicy tomatoes we have here in New Jersey, but the best part about this recipe is that you can add any additional produce you have to the mix, like eggplant or peppers. Think of it as your “go-to” pasta recipe when you only have 15 minutes and lots of produce!


    • 1 lb. linguini
    • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
    • 2 or 3 garlic cloves
    • 1 small red onion, finely sliced
    • 1 handful of basil
    • 3 tbsp of olive oil, plus more for finishing
    • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
    • ¼ cup Parmagiano Reggiano (or the cheese of your choice, I’ve used mascarpone for a creamy take and even fresh goat cheese would work)
    • Salt and pepper, to taste


Cook the linguini to package directions. Heat an iron skillet (with a lid) to medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil, the cherry tomatoes, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper when the skillet is hot. Blister the tomatoes on medium-high heat (with the lid on) for 10 minutes. In the last 3 minutes, add the whole garlic cloves. The tomatoes are done with they are splitting. Depending on how you like your sauce, you can leave the tomatoes whole or crush them for a smoother sauce. Remove from the heat. Discard the garlic cloves and add the red onion, pasta, basil, and cheese of your choice. Top with a drizzle of your favorite olive oil.

Melissa Beveridge  is a freelance journalist and editor, focusing on great food, healthy living, and wellness. Her passion for eating and living well embodies her writing. A lover of all things Jersey, she is also an avid traveler, always looking to discover those hidden culinary gems everywhere she goes. Her musings can be found on her blog