Friday, March 15, 2013


pretty spring flowers we bought yesterday

I've wanted to join a CSA for 3 or 4 years now, but could never quite justify the cost in my mind.

Then I realized I was going to the grocery store and only buying produce and spending X amount of dollars to do it. I vaguely recalled that the CSA's I'd investigated were not that expensive.

I did some research, and found a local CSA that has a winter option- reduced offerings, but it does include random items like local cider, local raw honey, local pastured beef, etc to make sure you're getting your money's worth. And it's a lot less than what I was spending at the grocery store.

I still need to buy some produce items at the grocery store (our current diet is restricted enough that we have to eat some veggies out of season, though I'd like to be able to eat with the seasons), but it's a lot less than before. I'm still buying our weekly pastured chicken at Whole Foods, but I may switch to getting it from the CSA- it's a little more expensive (not much), but it would mostly eliminate the need to go to Whole Foods every week. It's not nicknamed Whole Paycheck without reason.... I'm also trying to reduce the number of stores I'll have to go to each week once the baby comes- less running around with a newborn is always a good thing.

I really like how flexible our CSA is:

  • monthly, bi-weekly, or weekly options
  • small, medium, and large boxes of produce
  • milk, eggs, fish, beef, pork, chicken, bread options (varying delivery options available)
  • al a carte- you can order more of something if you want, and just pay for that
  • very allergy friendly- easy substitutions
  • you can quit any time it stops working for you- you pay weekly, as opposed to for the season
  • Pickup and delivery options- less options in the winter, but more the rest of the year

I should mention that our CSA is not an actual farm that sells just what it produces: it finds local sources  for everything and builds the boxes from there. They tell us where everything comes from and whether it's organic, low-spray, etc.

So we get a large box of produce once a week, with a portion of pork (local, pastured pork- can't find that at Whole Foods) once a month. They send out an email each week stating what's in the boxes that week and I just respond and ask them to substitute the items we can't eat. They have the info in their computer, but responding each week allows me to state a preference for what we'd like instead- usually apples one week, squash another week, etc. Right now I drive downtown to pick up our box each week, but next month I'll be able to pick it up at a location that's a lot closer and more convenient- they'll be starting their regular spring/summer routine.

I hear everyone talking about Bountiful Baskets, but they're not available in our area :(
Do you get food from a CSA?

1 comment:

  1. We tried a CSA a couple of years ago and it was a bust! I think the farmer took on too much, too soon, and we ended up losing about $1000 in that venture (we had to pay for the entire season upfront...ouch!). We're really lucky to have bountiful baskets as an option, but your CSA sounds great with the added things and the ability to substitute for things that you'll actually eat. Even with bountiful baskets, though, we still end up having to buy more produce at the store each week because we go through it so quickly. I guess there are worse problems to have, right?! :)