Top Kitchen Tools You Need to Succeed at CSA

Joining a CSA can be new and overwhelming.

I get this. Totally.

You might not know my story, but I am personally attached to CSA because it is very much part of my growing up into an adult.

I joined my first CSA when I was 21 and still in college.

Um, yes, I joined my first CSA right literally at the same time I had my own kitchen for the first time…

And had to cook for myself. No dining hall meal plan.  No mama.

What? Cooking? Okay, some salad or mac and cheese or hotdogs etc. But lots of veggies? Not exactly my forte to say the least.

But, I was game for CSA. I loved the idea and wanted to make it work. So bad that I stuck with it every week all summer long. Then that winter. Then the next summer…

And through it all I really learned so much about handling veggies!

One thing I also learned was that you don’t need to be an expert chef to try a CSA.

Nope, I learned that first hand as I certainly wasn’t. I learned that you don’t need to buy fancy kitchen equipment either. Heck, I didn’t even really own any pots or pans at the time. My roommate’s parents got her a set that I mooched off of. Ha!


Fast forward to 2018

So when I set off to interview our CSA’s “Expert” members this winter and spring, I asked this question:

“What kitchen tools or resources would you recommend for new CSA members?”

And I was surprised at the response. The number one answer was…




A sharp knife!

I really had no idea how simply everyone was approaching it. No, people were not going out and buying anything special for CSA. They were merely tackling it with tools that they mostly already had.

When pressed there are a few basic kitchen tools that experienced CSA members have shared with me are key to their success.

Based on my interviews with seasoned CSA members who have been with us for at least 5 years, I compiled this list. (Thank you everyone who has participated so far!!)

I’m putting it out here to help you feel less overwhelmed by starting CSA. And to give you ideas of what others are finding helpful. Like me, you might be surprised how simple this list is!


Top Kitchen Tools You Need to Succeed at CSA (as told by our CSA members themselves)



  1. Good sharp knife: The #1 response to the question, by far. If nothing else, this is essential!
  2. Cutting board: There is a lot of chopping that goes on in the home of a CSA member. Again essential to go with the knife.
  3. Basic cookware: pots, pans, and a LARGE skillet.
  4. Recipe resources and inspiration: The number one cited resources is…. Drum roll… OUR WEBSITE! Cookbooks, web recipe sites, etc are also great, but time and time again experienced members recommended that new members use our website’s Vegetable Gallery of Recipes as the place to start first. (Which was nice to hear that it really is useful to people :)

Highly recommended:

  1. Salad spinner: Helpful, especially if you want to prep all of your lettuce into a salad for the week. Many seasoned members do this and I will cover how to do this in more detail soon.
  2. Mason jars: Helpful non-plastic food storage.  Put your weekly salad portions into them.  Make a batch of fermented veggies.  Or quick pickles!
  3. Food storage containers like Tupperware or glass options:  Recommended if you like to pre-prep your veggies or if you do leftovering!
  4. Strainer:  Helpful for washing greens and other veggies or draining cooked veggies.
  5. Steaming basket:  Want to know the best way to reduce the physical volume of your greens?  Steam them!
  6. Peeler:  Helpful especially if it actually works.  Yes, I do peel some of my veggies, just personal preference.
  7. Reusable Produce Bags:  Use instead of plastic bags for stroring veggies in the fridge.  

Nice to have and helps save time:

  1. Food processor:  Pesto!  Mincing garlic easily!  Slicing carrots!  Grating larger quantities!  Blending soups!  ETC.  Super handy but not totally necessary.
  2. Crock pot:  I personally use mine often, but depending upon how you eat you don't have to have this for sure.
  3. Immersion blender:  I personally make a lot of blended soups and this is my favorite non-essential gadget to get this done FAST.  I also heard this from other CSA members.

Experienced CSA member wish list (some have even taken the plunge!):

  1. Freezer:  A plus if freezing is your go-to method of preserving veggies.
  2. Extra fridge:  Who doesn't want another fridge?!?!  ;)

Interestingly, it doesn’t all come down to any one particular tool. As one CSA member put it when I asked her,

“No special gadgets or tools necessary – You can get away with a cutting board and a good knife!” -Sarah, 5 years CSA member

And my 21 year old self echoes this! I can say I’ve done a CSA with just about no more than that and it was so fun! So challenging and so rewarding at the same time. I learned so much about my food and getting creative in the kitchen.

And that experience was one of the things that propelled me to want to start a CSA of my own… and here we are 14 years later with 150 members of our own!

What kitchen tools do you consider essential to success with a CSA? Comment below and let me know what it is for YOU!

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