CSA thoughts

It looks like I’ve been neglecting blogging for a while again now, but between switching insurance plans, interviewing different new medical providers, setting up dental appointments for all 4 of us, besides taking care of the usual stuff, I’ve been quite busy.

One area of life that’s been occupying my thinking in the midst of all these busyness is how to supply my family with the freshest possible, locally-grown, hopefully organic produce. I am just so sick of the grocery store produce, and I am not even being picky. I’m tired of the under-ripened, overbrowned, damaged, waxed, etc. produce goods that are being carried in just about every single supermarket around here. The farmer’s market in our neck of the woods is only held in the summer. We tried growing our own produce last summer, but other than cherry tomatoes and blackberries, nothing much grew (although what we did harvest was really good, and kids just loved it). So I have to find other options.

I’ve been thinking about joining a CSA (community-supported agriculture, if you need more info on what it is and how it works, go here – there’s a pretty comprehensive explanation on there) at one of the local farms for several years now, but the high cost has been the factor that’s been holding me away from that. But I have to say, receiving a basketful of locally grown, seasonal, fresh produce is really appealing to me, especially this time a year, when the local produce is at its scarcest. Just in the past couple of weeks I decided to do a little bit more serious research on CSAs, and found about 4 farms that would meet our needs. They all cost about the same, so I would have to go visit them to ask questions and to look around, once it gets a little warmer around here. My main concerns at this point are:

1. High cost of buying a CSA share

2. How much produce would we actually get (what if the year wasn’t so good for a farmer in terms of harvest?)

3. If we have to move half-way through the summer (my husband is on the job market), would we be able to resell or give our share to a friend?

4. Not having enough produce per week and having to supplement with either farmer’s market produce or grocery store produce

One of my favorite resources with a wealth of information about local CSAs is Local Harvest website. On there you can search for your local farms that offer CSA shares, farmers’ markets, and even stores that carry local, organically-grown produce. I didn’t even realize it, but there are not only produce-CSAs, but CSAs that offer meat and poultry shares, eggs, or flowers.

Do any of you, my readers, have any experience with CSAs in your area? Would you share in the comments, what you liked/disliked in being a part of a CSA? What questions should I ask when comparing different CSA farms?

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About simplemotherhood

My name is Irina. I blog over at https://simplemotherhood.wordpress.com/ about the joys and challenges of motherhood, reading, couponing and saving money, and everything from gardening, healthy living, and frugality to scrapbooking, menu planning, and tea parties. I enjoy decorating, organizing, and as of past year, homeschooling my sweet boys.
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5 Responses to CSA thoughts

  1. Diana P. says:

    I haven’t been part of a CSA, but I’ve seriously considered it for us as well. For me, the only drawback is the cost, and that sometimes there are pretty weird veggies in the box. 🙂
    Here’s some things that I’ve learned (about the one I found for us at least): some groups have pictures and descriptions of how much produce you’ll get in the box- this helps with gauging if you’re purchasing enough. Also, the one here allows you to change your share mid-season if you find that you’re getting too much or too little. So that’s definitely something to ask. As for moving mid-season, I know that you definitely can give your share away to a friend, but it’d probably be up to you to set up with the friend payment if you were selling it.
    I look foward to hearing if you try it! I’m still debating.

  2. simplemotherhood says:

    Diana, like I mentioned, I’ve been thinking about it for a few years now too, just the cost is basically holding me back. It’s about $500-600 for 12-20 weeks (depending on the farm). The one that I’m looking at the most, says that the basket is for a family of 3-4, but I would need to go see at least the size of the baskets, because maybe it’s for families that don’t eat much produce? 😉 I don’t know… I just know we love produce and especially in the summer, when it’s so good – it’s all I want to eat 🙂 Where you guys are, it’s probably not bad year around, right? Even just at the store… Whereas here it’s just NOT good, if not to say worse… Anyway, I’m hoping to convince Stan that the expense will be worth it. I told Edward today I was thinking about it, and he got all excited! 🙂 But then again, this boy likes his veggies and fruits 😉

  3. simplemotherhood says:

    Oh, and about the “weird” veggies 🙂 Usually it’s listed as one of the advantages – that you get to try a variety you might not normally choose. Who knows – you might like it. On the local harvest website that I listed, if you go under individual farm listings and scroll down to the table where they list whatever produce they have in season, there are links to recipies with all those different veggies, in case you have trouble with coming up with something of your own. We eat a lot of produce raw anyway, especially when it’s fresh in the summer and in season. Sometimes I simply steam veggies, without overcooking them and killing all the nutrients 🙂

  4. Angela says:

    You should message Beth Tysdal on facebook. I’m sure it’s different from farm to farm, but she runs a CSA in Idaho. Cable Creek also has a facebook page. =)

  5. Pingback: Summer Gardening Series: The Planning and Planting | The Joys of Simple Motherhood

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