Community Supported Agriculture: CSA

We eat our share of vegetables.  I love to garden and the kids like their garden club, so we have more variety now than before all this gardening…but I’ve been intrigued by the idea of CSAs since I first read about them a few years ago.

I would read blog posts about the fabulous things people were eating.  And the value of eating locally grown food that was fresher and better tasting!  Oh how I read it all with envy…

I had never heard of one anywhere near where I live.  And MN has a not-so-long growing season so I wondered if that discouraged the formation of CSAs in my area.

So for the last 3 years I’ve tried to be content with picking buckets & buckets of strawberries at a local berry farm.  WOW! Those berries, fresh from the field are so good!

Then it happened!

I started to hear ads for a local CSA on the radio!  Could I be hearing this right?  It is actually about an hour away, but there will be a drop-off in SmallTown.  I was so happy.  Then I started having reservations about actually buying a share.

A full share (to feed 3-4 people) is $500.  I don’t typically lay that kind of cash out.  We’ve never been ones to buy 1/2 a hog or large quantities of beef…so this was a little outside my comfort zone.

The boxes would come weekly for 20 weeks.  So that broke down to $40 a week.  This is 40% of my consumables budget (food, household/personal products, pet food).  And in addition to the 20 weeks of boxes there are 7 farm pick events.  For instance you get 10 dozen ears of corn when its ready…enough to freeze for winter.  A bushel of cucumbers for pickling, extra tomatoes to pick (for canning) when September comes, and pumpkins in the fall…there are lots of good extras.

So now that $40/week average looks like less since there will certainly be plenty of food to preserve in one way or another for winter.  Two clover-fed chickens are included as well…yum!

Finally last week I signed up!  The boxes start coming next week & I am anxious to see how much food is there each week.  I am excited to eat locally-grown foods and discover new and interesting ways to prepare our old favorites as well as new-to-us veggies.  Each week we get recipes for the veggies that will be showing up that week and the next.

I’ve made a promise to myself that if we have an over-abundance I will find a way to preserve as much as possible by freezing, dehydrating or canning.  When I told my hubby (who supports this whole-heartedly) that I was concerned about waste, he said “how would that be different than the times you occasionally throw out produce now?”  He’s right…sometimes you just can’t get to it all.  So I’ll do my best to use it all in some way…and not sweat the rest.

I would love to know if you have any experience with CSAs.   What can you tell me???


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Filed under Gardening, In the Kitchen, Shopping

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