This is such an interesting idea! I have never heard of CSAs before. I'm definitely going to think about it. I might just try the farmer's market idea for next summer since there are several near me and I'm leary of the financial committment up front and the need to pick up the produce weekly (that's tough with a very busy work / travel schedule). There's one in the area that attends a local farmers market. it would be a good way to get introduced to the farmer and what they offer. I'm definitely keeping it in mind!
We've been a part of a CSA over the summer and have absolutely loved it. I took my 7-year old daughter to pick up our bag last week and had planned to purchase some bacon, so we could have BLT's for dinner the next evening. When we found out that they didn't have any left, I told her that we'd have to get some at the grocery store. She made a face, and said, "Ew! Let's just wait until next week!".
It is like opening a present every week to see what goodies I get. Then a culinary challenge to incorporate each of the choices into my meals. And a challenge to use it all before the next week, or freeze some of it for the winter. Only thing I don't like is when I get overwhelmed with lettuce, because you can't freeze it!
I'm a little sad now because my summer subscription is over, now it will be back to the bland choices in the produce aisle. But I have squash and pumpkins available for a little while yet, they are a good seasonal choice right now.
I tried an organic produce delivery service - not really a CSA - but the produce was not the best quality. I've looked into joining the CSA but it was too late to sign up when I looked. It's also quite inconvenient - you have to pick it up and it's only available one day a week in a 2-hour window from like 3pm-5pm. Guess they don't want to include people who WORK. And sadly, our farmer's market is more expensive than the organic produce at the store. It's also better quality, so I do go and get a few things every Saturday. If money were no object I'd buy all my produce there, but I just can't afford to go broke on vegetables.
I joined a CSA for the first time this past summer. I thought it was a great bargain and the only thing I had trouble with was using all the produce before I got my next box. I've found myself missing the fresh vegetables and am looking forward to deliveries starting back up in March.
I've done the CSA route a few times, but in MN, it seems the farmer's market gives you much better bang for your buck...so you really have to watch to make sure the CSA is a good deal. Also, it wasn't really mentioned in the article, but I'd recommend going with an experienced CSA if you don't deal well with late deliveries and other "growing pains" that new CSA seem to inevitably put their subscribers through.
We have been a member of a CSA for over 14 years. I don't know what I would do without it. Fresh produce at a fair price. Helping local small business. The only down side is that you don't get of choice of what you received in the box each week but that has also challenged us to learn how to vegetables we never tried before (which doesn't happen much now since we have been members so long). Highly recommend it if you have one available.
I joined a CSA last year with my sister. The one thing we were not prepared for was the abundance of produce we got! We were sharing fresh, organic produce all summer. This year we have again joined the same CSA. The only thing we have decided to differently is to buy a freezer so we can freeze the produce that we are able. We are also considering learning how to can veggies and make jams with the fruits. our CSA also sells local eggs, milk, cheeses, honey, maple syrup and organic bread from local retailers with very little mark up. It's like one stop shopping! We love it! :)
I have been wanting to join and be a part of a CSA for a long time, but the prices in my area are INSANE! I can go to the Farmer's Market and pay 1/5 of the price for the same thing. Not sure why they are so expensive..
I find that the CSA has added a lot of variety to our diet. I've discovered some new favorites instead of buying the same old things in the produce department every week. I still don't like kale, though! Mustard greens, collard greens, chard...anything but kale!
Love this! I've been with my CSA for 7 years, and I'd never give it up! Fresh produce all summer, and knowing where it came from is awesome! (and contrary to this article, I can and DO get all my produce from the CSA. You just have to adapt to what is in season instead of wanting corn on the cob in January!)
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