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?