My husband and I have been thinking about joining a CSA, a community-supported agriculture group that links local eaters (us) with local growers (farmers). Depending on where you are in the country and the type of plan you sign up for, you get a delivery every week or month with a certain number of locally grown seasonal vegetables. What's not to love?


So I was thrilled to get this voice mail from my next door neighbors, "Ashley, we're out of town for the week and the CSA delivered our box anyway. It's sitting on the front porch-- please go get it and use it!"

I understood her angst. Here in Alabama, the temperatures this week have been in the 70s. Crops grown without pesticides and without any trace of preservatives wouldn't last long on a front porch (though the squirrels might have enjoyed the feast).

I hurried over then tried to stuff their gold-standard load of veggies into our fridge. As I did so, I surveyed the hall: tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, kale, sweet potatoes, oranges, radishes, cherry tomatoes, beans, and rape (a leafy green, like spinach).

Believe me, it barely fit.

At work that day, I mulled over what I could make with these newly acquired ingredients. The only one that stumped me was kale until I found this recipe: White Bean and Sausage Ragout with Tomatoes, Kale, and Zucchini.

The recipe was easy enough (clean, put in pot, short simmer) and allowed me to use my much loved Le Creuset soup pot. I added a few extra veggies I found languishing in our fridge (leeks, anyone?) and upped the ante with spicy sausage instead of the regular kind.

The result was fantastic. My husband came home and was thrilled to smell the earthy, fragrant scent of the soup simmering on the stove. He liked it so much that he made himself a second helping!

Because I didn't feel like making a side dish, I made some jasmine rice and served the ragout atop the fluffy grains.

Now I'm doing a happy dance because there's less kale in my fridge (but still plenty more!), I have leftover soup in my freezer awaiting a grab-and-go brown bag lunch, and a new recipe that's loaded with all sorts of veggies. Welcome, Fall! I've missed you!

By Ashley Kappel and Ashley Kappel