What We Grow

The Institute for Food farm is a mid-sized, intensive vegetable farm housed on a 14-acre section of the original Austin-Magie Farm. For the 2021 season we will have 4-5 acres in active production with the remainder in cover crops to rejuvenate the soil. All fruits and vegetables are grown using sustainable and organic methods that adhere to USDA food safety guidelines. We are committed to ecological practices to grow nutritious food; we support biodiversity; we use integrated pest management, organic compost, and natural plant-based products to help build and maintain healthy soils and healthy plants. Artificial chemicals and synthetic fertilizers are not used.

The 2021 season will mark the Institute for Food's 5th CSA season. Our goal is to offer a rich variety of fresh, sustainably grown, seasonal vegetables to the Miami community.

CSA: Community Supported Agriculture

Learn about Miami University's Institute for Food Community Supported Agriculture project.

CSA: Community Supported Agriculture Story Video Transcript

Our harvest extends from mid May to early December. We begin the season with a range of leafy greens and spring vegetables. As the days get warmer and longer, our beds overflow with a bounty of summer vegetables from tomatoes and peppers to eggplant and chard. Once fall arrives, the weekly shares shift towards cold weather greens like kale and spinach, along with potatoes, winter squash, and broccoli.

Produce Fact Sheets

American Shallots

What Are Shallots?

A shallot is a member of the Allium family along with onions and garlic. It is a type of small onion with a flavor that is mild and has a slight garlic flavor. It is more elongated in shape with pinkish skin on the outside and a white colored bulb on the inside.

Health Benefits

  • contain lots of antioxidants that promote good overall health by reducing inflammation and decreasing risk for chronic diseases like obesity, cancer, heart disease, and diabetes
  • contain antimicrobial compounds that act as natural medicine to treat cold or flu symptoms like a fever
  • contain heart healthy elements that could prevent heart disease
  • contain quercetin, a flavonoid that helps to relieve seasonal allergy symptoms of the nose and eyes

How to Use Shallots

  • Because their flavor is more mild than regular onions, shallots are great to be eaten raw. Use in dressings or salads.
  • Caramelize shallots by cooking them in a low-heat pan.
  • Substitute in a recipe that calls for other onions, like white or red.



What Are Beets?

photo of a bunch of beetsBeets or beetroot are a root vegetable that can come in different varieties such as ruby red, baby beets, golden beets, and purple beets. Beets are part of the same family as spinach, Swiss chard, and quinoa. They are low in calories and you can eat the root as well as the greens.

Health Benefits

  • contain a myriad of vitamins and minerals, including folate, vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, and manganese
  • have anti-inflammatory properties to help reduce risks of chronic diseases like obesity, heart disease, liver disease, and cancer
  • are a good source of fiber
  • are high in natural (plant-based) nitrates/nitrites which can improve brain function, lower blood pressure, and aid in exercise performance

How to Use Beets

  • The roots can be roasted to enhance their sweetness. Make sure to wash and scrub the skins off.
  • You can also eat the beetroot raw or even pickle them. A raw preparation example is to shave it into a coleslaw.
  • Greens can be added to a salad and eaten raw or cooked for a different flavor profile.



What Is Basil?

Basil is a green leaf culinary herb with many varieties ranging from sweet to lemon basil.

Health Benefits

  • contain antioxidants that can boost skin health, prevent cancer, protect against heart disease, improve mental health and many other benefits
  • include micronutrients such as calcium, vitamin A, and vitamin K

How to Use Basil

  • Sprinkle fresh chopped basil leaves over pasta dishes, soups, or salad.
  • Blend basil into a pesto sauce with pine nuts and olive oil or a hummus dip with chickpeas and spices.


Bell Peppers

What Are Bell Peppers?

photo of bell peppersBell peppers are a fruit that belongs to the nightshade family along with tomatoes, eggplants, and more. They can come in a few different colors such as red, green, orange, and yellow depending on the variety and ripeness.

Health Benefits

  • contain high levels of vitamin C — 169% of the Recommended Daily Allowance in one medium size pepper
  • contain vitamin B6, potassium, folate, and vitamin A

How to Use Bell Peppers

  • They can be enjoyed raw or cooked.
  • Prepare them by washing, drying, and removing the stem and seeds. Then the peppers can be sliced, diced, stuffed and more.



What Is Broccoli?

photo of broccoli crownsBroccoli is a green vegetable that is essentially the flower of its plant and is related to cauliflower, kale, and Brussels sprouts. Its name is derived from the Italian word broccolo which means the flowering crest of a cabbage, which makes sense because broccoli is a member of the cabbage family. The stalks and flower florets are the part of the broccoli plant that is usually eaten.

Health Benefits

  • rich in antioxidants that can help protect you from cancers, heart disease, and other diseases associated with aging
  • high in calcium, which helps maintain healthy bones

How to Use Broccoli

  • When cleaning broccoli, soak in cold water for a few minutes and then drain.
  • Broccoli can be eaten raw, shaved, steamed, sauteed, roasted, and more.
  • Add shaved broccoli stems and florets to a salad.
  • Roast in the oven and pair with pasta or rice.
  • Sauté with other vegetables and a protein to make a stir-fry.
  • Grate or chop into small pieces and add to an omelet or quiche.



What Is Cabbage?

photo of cone cabbageCabbage is a leafy cruciferous vegetable that is in the same family as kale and broccoli. The Institute for Food grows Napa (or Chinese) cabbage, cone cabbage, and round cabbage.

Health Benefits

  • a low-calorie food that is full of vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, magnesium, and folate
  • contains a cancer-fighting compound called sulforaphane, which can lower the risk of getting certain cancers such as melanoma, prostate, and pancreatic cance
  • has many flavonoids and phenols, which contribute to antioxidant activity and have been linked to decreasing risk for cardiovascular diseases

How to Use Cabbage

  • Cabbage can be enjoyed raw or cooked.
  • Try adding raw shredded cabbage to slaws or salads.
  • Sauté sliced cabbage with other vegetables, rice, and an egg for easy fried rice.
  • Stuff the cabbage leaves with ground meat, top with a sauce, and bake for an easy dinner.



What Is Carlton?

It is an Asian green known by the name Komatsuna, Carlton, or Japanese mustard spinach. It is a member of the Brassica family of plants, which also includes cabbage, broccoli, and cauliflower. The flavor is often described as fresh, sweet but slightly spicy taste with a hint of mustard tanginess.

Health Benefits

  • rich in a multitude of nutrients especially calcium, vitamin C, and magnesium, vitamin K, and potassium (eating these nutrients plus vitamin D helps your body better absorb the calcium)
  • contains 3 times the amount of calcium (helps build and maintain strong bones) as spinach

How to Use Carlton

  • Prepare by gently washing the entire leaf and stalk.
  • Use raw in salads or as a fresh topping to meals.
  • Add to stir fries, soups, or pasta dishes.
  • Sauté on its own with simple spices for a quick and easy side dish.



What Are Carrots?

photo of bunches of carrotsIt is a root vegetable known for its bright orange color and crunchy bite. One of the most popular vegetables in the world, it is second to the potato. Carrots are members of the Umbelliferae family of plants and are related to celery, fennel, parsnips, and more.

Health Benefits

  • contain over 3 times the recommended daily value of Vitamin A (influences proper eye health and function as well as immune system and reproductive health)
  • contain vitamin B6, vitamin C, and vitamin K as well as smaller amounts of other B vitamins and vitamin E (along with antioxidants can help enhance the immune system and keep you from getting sick)
  • high fiber content can improve digestion, lead to longer satiety and eventually aid in weight loss

How to Use Carrots

  • Carrots can be enjoyed in so many ways and are perfect raw or cooked.
  • Eat raw as a snack with a dip or add shredded carrots to any salad.
  • Roast or sauté carrots for an easy sweet side dish.



What Is Cauliflower?

photo of cauliflower crownsIt is a member of the Brassicaceae family along with broccoli, cabbage, and kale. The head of cauliflower resembles broccoli but is whitish in color and the florets are more compact.

Health Benefits

  • contains a multitude of vitamins and minerals including Vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin K, folate, potassium, choline, and more
  • significant fiber content (1 cup has 10% of daily needs) which is beneficial for overall health due to its role in lowering risk of chronic illnesses like obesity, heart disease, and diabetes as well as promotion of good gut bacteria and reduced inflammation for optimum digestive health
  • high in antioxidants, which also aids in lowering the risk of getting chronic diseases and improving immune health

How to Use Cauliflower

  • It is very versatile and easy to include to your diet.
  • It can be eaten raw, steamed, sauteed, roasted, or fried.
  • Try adding shredded or "riced" cauliflower to stir fries or casseroles to effortlessly get more nutrition into meals.


Easter Egg Radishes

What Is an Easter Egg Radish?

A unique and lesser known food, the Easter egg radish is a cruciferous root vegetable that belongs to the Brassicaceae family and originates from China. Easter egg radishes are beautiful in appearance and can be pink, red, purple, white, or a mix of these colors.

Health Benefits

  • good source of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium (can help to reduce high blood pressure), zinc, and dietary fiber (can help improve digestion, water retention, and help treat constipation)
  • have enzymes that are rich in anti-fungal properties, which can improve digestive health

How to Use Easter Egg Radishes

  • All radishes can be eaten raw or cooked.
  • Try roasting radishes in the oven to give them a similar texture to a roasted potato.
  • The greens have a strong peppery flavor that are great in a sauce or pesto.



What Is Eggplant?

photo of eggplantsEggplant is in the nightshade family (Solanaceae) and is closely related to tomatoes, potatoes, and tobacco. Eggplant is known for its deep purple color and oblong shape as well as a unique taste and texture.

Health Benefits

  • contains impressive amounts of vitamins and minerals including high levels of vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, magnesium, potassium, fiber, folate, and more
  • rich in antioxidants, which have numerous benefits including decreasing risk of cancer, high cholesterol, and heart disease

How to Use Eggplant

  • The entire eggplant can be eaten from the skin to the flesh and seeds.
  • Eggplant is best eaten cooked in some way, including roasting, sautéing, grilled, or pureed into a dip.
  • Add diced eggplant to pasta dishes or casseroles.
  • Cut into cubes, skewer, and cook on the grill.



What Is Fennel?

photo of fennel bulb w/ frondsFennel is made up of a pale white bulb that looks similar to an onion with long green stalks and bright green feathery fronds. It is a member of the Umbelliferae family and is closely related to carrots, parsley, and dill.

Health Benefits

  • rich in potassium (can help to properly regulate blood pressure because of its role in the dilation and contraction of the blood vessels), vitamin A, fiber, and does not contain any cholesterol
  • can improve brain function, help cardiovascular health, relieve the digestive tract, and help with respiratory disorders
  • has properties that can help prevent obesity and have anti-aging effects

How to Use Fennel

  • It can be served raw or cooked.
  • Raw fennel is crunchy and similar in texture to celery with a savory flavor, while cooked fennel becomes less strong in flavor and more tender as it cooks.
  • Fennel is best stored in the refrigerator, especially in a paper bag, and can last up to 5 days.
  • Make sure to remove any very tough outer layers of the bulb and to remove the triangular core.
  • The feathery fronds can also be used.
  • Try using fennel like you would use fresh herbs as a garnish for dishes.



What Is Garlic?

A species in the onion genus, Allium, with many varieties, that is known for its strong and pungent savory flavor. Garlic comes in the form of a bulb with many cloves inside, but the garlic scapes, which is the flowering stem of the plant, is also edible.

Health Benefits

  • high amounts of antioxidants, which can aid in slowing the aging process along with the diseases that come with it like dementia
  • immune system booster to help fight off illnesses like the common cold
  • can help in reducing high blood pressure (hypertension) and high cholesterol levels

How to Use Garlic

  • To prepare garlic cloves, remove the outer layer of the bulb to separate the various cloves. Peel off the skin of the individual clove. Finely chop, press, or leave whole and enjoy.
  • Cook garlic by sautéing, roasting, or grilling with your favorite meats, poultry, or vegetables.


Green Beans

What Are Green Beans?

photo of green beansThe green bean is a low-calorie vegetable full of flavor and crunch. Green beans are a member of the legume family and are closely related to the soybean. They are actually the unripe, young fruit of various cultivars of common beans. Green beans are known by many names including, French beans, string beans, snap beans, or the French name, Haricot verts.

Health Benefits

  • full of fiber which aids in lowering cholesterol and supports overall heart health
  • contains many vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, calcium, manganese and more
  • contains the mineral, silicon, which studies have seen play a role in optimizing bone health

How to Use Green Beans

  • To prepare just wash and slice off the stems to cook.
  • Enjoy raw with a dip as a snack.
  • Boil, blanch, or steam them and serve with some seasoning or sauce for a light, refreshing side dish.
  • Sauté or roast with olive oil, garlic, and spices for another layer of flavor.


Green Onions

What Are Green Onions?

photo of green onionsGreen onions, which are also known as scallions, are a vegetable that are part of the Allium genus that also includes garlic, shallots, leeks, and chives. The green and white colored veggie has a slight onion flavor that is more mild and sweet.

Health Benefits

  • packed full of nutrients including vitamin C, potassium, folate, and more
  • contain antioxidants, which can be preventative for many chronic diseases like heart disease and cancers
  • include the compounds quercetin and sulfur, which have been shown to have an antidiabetic effect by helping to regulate and reduce blood glucose level
  • can benefit digestive health due to the amount of fiber and prebiotics, which feed favorable gut bacteria

How to Use Green Onions

  • The entire green onion can be used from the green tops to the white ends.
  • Serve by topping soups, pasta dishes, or stir fries.
  • Add to a salad for a fresh pop of flavor.
  • Make into a sauce or salsa to put over meats, fish, chicken, or vegetables.


Hot Peppers

What Are Hot Peppers?

photo of hot peppersChili peppers, or hot peppers, are members of the Capsicum genus and include varieties such as the jalapeño, gypsy, Hungarian hot wax, and many more. The different types range in heat level, size, shape, and can be colors such as green, red, orange, and yellow.

Health Benefits

  • filled with many nutrients like vitamin C, vitamin B6, vitamin E, potassium, and manganese
  • contain antioxidants, that help fight inflammation as well as decrease the risk of heart disease and obesity
  • include the chemical compound capsaicin, which some studies show to have many benefits, like increasing metabolism and allowing for better blood sugar control

How to Use Hot Peppers

  • Remove the seeds and membranes to decrease the heat level of the peppers.
  • Cook by adding to stir fries, pasta dishes, or stuffing with meats and vegetables.
  • To give the hot peppers slightly sweet and briny flavor, try pickling them.



What Is Kale?

photo of a kale plant growing in the fieldThe kale plant is a cruciferous vegetable related closely to cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. It can have green or purple leaves and a few types of textures like smooth or curly, depending on the variety. An increasingly popular green that is one of the most nutrient dense foods available and is known as a superfood.

Health Benefits

  • contain an abundance of vitamins and minerals with a very low amount of calories and carbohydrates
  • contain vitamin K, vitamin A, vitamin B6, vitamin C, calcium, and more
  • full of antioxidants that can reduce risk of cancer and other aging related diseases

How to Use Kale

  • The entire leaf of kale is edible, but remove the tough stems for a better experience.
  • Enjoy the versatility of kale by eating it raw, steamed, sautéed, roasted, or added to so many different dishes.
  • Add to soups and stews to make them extra nutritious.
  • Try a kale salad by first massaging the dressing into the kale to make it more tender and less tough.
  • Bake and taste some kale chips by just throwing some kale leaves into the oven and adding whatever seasonings you like.



What Is Kohlrabi?

Kholrabi is a cruciferous vegetable originating from northern Europe that is in the mustard family and is very closely related to cabbage. The outside is made of a thick skin that can be green or purple in color and the inside is an off-white color. It is said to have a taste that is a mix of cabbage and broccoli stems but slightly more mild and sweet.

Health Benefits

  • full of antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals that boost immunity and decrease risk for diabetes, obesity, heart disease and other conditions
  • contain a high level of vitamin C as well as vitamin B6, potassium, and manganese
  • high amounts of fiber that can aid in digestion and gut health

How to Use Kohlrabi

  • To prep the bulb, peel off the outermost layer and then chop how you prefer.
  • Enjoy the vegetable raw by shredding into salads or sides.
  • Steam, roast, or cook into a soup for a cooked version of kohlrabi.
  • Try a kale salad by first massaging the dressing into the kale to make it more tender and less tough.
  • The green atop the kohlrabi bulbs are also edible. Try adding them raw to a salad or cook in a stir fry.



What Is Lettuce?

photo of a growing leaf lettuce plantsLettuce is a popular vegetable in the daisy family with a multitude of varieties including leaf lettuce, romaine lettuce, butter lettuce, and many more. These different types can come in colors that range from green and yellow to red and purple. The vegetable is best kept in the refrigerator in a damp environment.

Health Benefits

  • very low calorie and high water content as well as many vitamins and minerals like vitamin A, vitamin K, vitamin C, folate, and manganese
  • sometimes high in fiber which can help you feel full for longer and be preventative for heart disease and obesity
  • high in antioxidants that can help fight inflammation in the body

How to Use Lettuce

  • Make lettuces the main star of a dish by preparing a salad or lettuce wrap.
  • Cook into soups and stews to add in more nutrients.
  • Use as a crunchy topping for sandwiches, tacos, and grain bowls.



What Are Onions?

photo of red and white onionsAn onion is a common vegetable in the Allium genus with a few varieties including sweet and Vidalia. Onions are close relatives to other vegetables with a similar flavor profile including shallots, garlic, leaks, and chives.

Health Benefits

  • packed full of nutrients but are still low calorie
  • rich in vitamin C, B vitamins and potassium
  • high in antioxidants that can help fight inflammation and can help protect the body against chronic diseases

How to Use Onions

  • To prepare, just remove the skins by chopping off the end and peeling.
  • They are very versatile and can be made in so many ways including sliced raw, caramelized, roasted, grilled, fried, pickled, and more.
  • Raw or pickled onions can be added to salads or tacos, while roasted or grilled can be included in pasta dishes, stir fries, or casseroles.



What Is Parsley?

Parsley is a flowering plant in the Apiaceae family and has two main varieties which are known as French curly-leaf and Italian flat-leaf parsley.

Health Benefits

  • very nutritious and "disease-fighting" plant that contains many vitamins and minerals essential for the body
  • rich in vitamin C, B vitamins and potassium
  • rich in antioxidants and flavonoids that can help decrease risk for cancer, heart disease, and type II diabetes

How to Use Parsley

  • The leaves and stems of the parsley are delicious and can be used.
  • Use in salad dressings, marinades, and sauces.
  • Try adding parsley fresh to salads, soups, pastas, and sandwiches.


Rainbow Swiss Chard

What Is Rainbow Swiss Chard?

photo of bunches of Swiss chardRainbow Swiss Chard is a green leafy vegetable that has stems that come in a variety of colors from yellow and orange to red and pink. The taste is known to be slightly bitter but can become more mild once it is cooked.

Health Benefits

  • full of nutrients including vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, and vitamin E
  • rich in potassium, iron, magnesium, and manganese
  • components contribute to its ability to aid in bone health, immunity, and heart health

How to Use Rainbow Swiss Chard

  • The whole leaves of Swiss chard are edible but the ends of the crunchy stems can be removed if desired.
  • The leaves can be enjoyed raw or cooked, similar to greens like spinach and kale.
  • Add to soups, stews, pastas, casserole dishes and more for an extra nutritious burst.


Spigarello (Sprouted Broccoli)

What Is Spigarello?

Spigarello is known as a cross between broccoli and kale; it is a green leafy vegetable that has a very similar taste to broccoli but the leaves are the edible part of the plant other than the flowers, like traditional broccoli. The leaves of spigarello are tender and crunchy with a mild and slightly sweet flavor.

Health Benefits

  • packed with nutrients including vitamin A, vitamin C, fiber and potassium
  • high vitamin C content helps fight inflammation, infection, and illnesses like the common cold

How to Use Spigarello

  • Use spigarello in place of any tough greens like kale or chard by using the entire leaves.
  • Serve raw in a salad by first massaging in the salad dressing to make it more tender.
  • Cook into soups, stews, pasta dishes, or casseroles to add more nutritional value.



What Is Spinach?

photo of growing spinach plantsSpinach a popular leafy green vegetable that is in the Amaranth family and is interestingly related to beets and quinoa. It is known for being extremely nutritious and has a mild flavor and texture.

Health Benefits

  • contains a multitude of vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium, vitamin A, vitamin C, and more
  • contains carotenoids, zeaxanthin and lutein and these (along with Vitamin A) can aid in eye health
  • full of fiber that can help you stay full longer and improve heart health

How to Use Spinach

  • Spinach can be enjoyed both raw and cooked.
  • Try raw spinach in a salad or bowl with other veggies, meat, or chicken.
  • Add spinach to your soups, stews, stir fries, pasta dishes, and so much more for an extra nutrient boost.



What Are Tomatoes?

photo of tomatoesTomatoes are actually berries of the tomato plant and are extremely popular in the summertime when they are readily available. Tomatoes can be considered both fruits and vegetables depending on either a botanical or culinary context. Green, red, slicer, and cherry tomatoes are the varieties produced by the Miami CSA.

Health Benefits

  • great source of lycopene, which is an antioxidant known for reducing risk for chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease
  • good way to include fiber and nutrients like vitamin C and potassium in the diet
  • very low in calories and are comprised of only 4% carbohydrates

How to Use Tomatoes

  • Tomatoes are enjoyed both raw and cooked.
  • Add sliced raw tomatoes to a salad or make them the star of the dish by making a tomato salad.
  • Roast or grill tomatoes to bring out a sweeter flavor.
  • Cook and mash tomatoes to make a delicious homemade tomato sauce



What Are Turnips?

photo of bunches of turnipsTurnips are root vegetables that grow underground and are a member of the cruciferous family that also includes broccoli, cabbage, and kale. Turnips are identifiable by their pale white and purple color typically. The flavor profile depends on the maturity of the turnips and can range from mild and sweet in small ones to more bitter in larger turnips.

Health Benefits

  • low in calories and packed with nutrients
  • full of vitamins and minerals including vitamin K, vitamin C, and folate
  • contain many cancer-fighting agents like the antioxidants, flavonoids and glucosinolates

How to Use Turnips

  • The bulb and leafy green of the plant are all edible.
  • More commonly served cooked, but can be delicious raw as well.
  • Treat turnips similar to a potato and try roasting, sautéing, or mashing them.



What Is Zucchini?

photo of a zucchini plant growing in the fieldZucchini is a summer squash also known as a courgette with a very mild and slightly sweet flavor.  It's main growing season is the summer, so zucchini is widely available from June through September.

Health Benefits

  • full of vitamins and minerals like vitamin C and vitamin A, most of which are located in the skins so make sure to enjoy with the skin left on
  • a lower carb option than pasta by spiralizing it into noodle shapes
  • high in fiber, which can help digestion, improve gut health, and keep blood sugars stable

How to Use Zucchini

  • Zucchini can be eaten in full including the skin and seeds.
  • Try roasting, sautéing, steaming, or grilling zucchini as an easy side dish any day of the week.
  • Zucchini is most commonly served cooked, but can be enjoyed raw as well.
  • Zucchini can also be incorporated into sweeter recipes like zucchini bread, muffins, or pancakes.