View Full Version : Q for those who order from CSA's
03-23-2005, 11:06 AM
So, once again it's spring -- and I'm contemplating joining a local CSA. I LOVE the idea of supporting a good cause -- and I also love the idea of having plenty of fresh, organic, in-season produce around.
My quandary is always this: I do have a vegetable garden, and I really enjoy my weekly trip to the Farmer's Markets in the spring/summer. So -- is it worth it for me to ALSO get food from a CSA.
Do those of you who subscribe to CSA's also get veggies from farmer's markets? Gardens?
My biggest worry is that I'll either have to give up on my Saturday morning market ritual -- or just end up overrun with too much of a good thing :)
Are my worries unfounded?
03-23-2005, 11:47 AM
I'm sorry to say it, but no, I don't think your worries are unfounded.
We joined a CSA for the first time last year, splitting a regular share and an extra fruit share with one of my co-workers. I also have a small vegetable garden with tomatoes, peppers and winter squash. Between the two I found that we hardly ever needed to go to the farmer's market last season and I missed it! And yes, we were innundated with tomatoes and peppers at the height of the season. Since I split a share I gave most of the tomatoes & peppers from the farm to my co-worker and it worked out fine.
This year my co-worker has retired and is no longer around to split a share with. I debated long and hard about whether to sign up again. The farm introduced a new "small" share this year which induced me to try it out so I have signed up for that, but not the extra fruit portion. I think for me, I missed choosing my weekly fruit the most. We never bought large quantities of vegetables from the farmers market anyway so getting veggies from the farm was a good way for us to eat more of them. I'm hoping this will work out to be a "best of both" solution for us because I really like the idea of supporting a local farm and would like to continue doing so.
03-23-2005, 11:51 AM
I don't belong to a CSA but I do have a bi-weekly organic produce delivery. I started with a box of half fruit/half veggie and changed it to be all veggie. I like going to the farmers market and picking my fruit. I still get some of the seasonal veggies on my delivery week and will supplement it with veggies on the 'off' week.
I think you will have too much of a good thing if you do all three (CSA, farmer's market and veggie garden)
03-23-2005, 12:04 PM
I have *loved* belonging to CSAs over the years, but I do find it limits my ability to shop with abandon at the local farmer's market. There's only so many veggies the two of us can eat in a week, and usually my fridge is so packed after the weekly CSA pickup that I don't have room for much else!
If you have the option of splitting a share or buying a half-share, that might work out for you.
I've actually decided to forego the CSA this year. I want to get a garden started in my backyard, and I'll spend the couple hundred dollars that would have gone to CSA membership on the garden materials. I just don't feel like we have the money to do both, and like you, I also worry about having too much produce in the end. This way I can try out the home garden and supplement from the farmer's market. If it turns out I have a black thumb, I might re-join the CSA next year. ;)
03-23-2005, 12:08 PM
I thought about joining a CSA this year but when they listed what they were going to grow this year I will have the same stuff in my veggie garden. I would love to support one. I was hoping they'd have beets lettuces and greens offered. Stuff I had trouble with last year. We have a farm market convenient to us so I am going to pass on the CSA.
03-23-2005, 02:49 PM
Thanks for the words of wisdom.
Stephanie - Like you, I worry about wasting food. There IS such a thing as too many veggies... as I've learned in the past (though it's a darned shame!!)
We'll have to seriously contemplate what we want to do this year. Maybe joining the CSA IS too much. My garden produced fairly well last year, and we had plenty of tomatoes, zucchini and beans. This year maybe I'll just try my hand at a wider variety of produce in the garden -- and make up for the rest at the market.
Again -- good to hear all that input. Gives my brain good exercise :)
03-23-2005, 03:09 PM
We do a CSA, but we have a local farmer's market that I love to go to as well.
For me it is just tradition to go to the farmer's market, I always went with my dad before I got married, and now I still enjoy meeting him there.
Our CSA inundates us with tomatoes (their specialty) which I don't like, so I go to the market to get some of the items I can't get from the CSA (dill, peppers (she gets very few of regular bell peppers at the CSA), fennel, corn.)
I don't go to the market every week, but still get my fix once or twice a month.
However, the downside is that our market does not have any organic produce available.
03-23-2005, 03:12 PM
Lori, can the CSA show you a list of past harvests? Mine has posted online what we got each week during last year's growing season. A list like that might help you decide if what they offer complements or overlaps too much with what you grow at home.
Last year we got TONS of tomatoes- more than the two of us could consume in a week, at the peak of the season, so I did a lot of sauce for the freezer. But we got almost no beans. Another farm I belonged to planted tons of greens and didn't do so much of the heat-loving plants- tomatoes, summer squash, eggplant. Just one or two tomatoes a week during peak season, if I remember correctly. It definitely varies by farm. And of course part of the fun is being surprised at what's in the harvest each week... :)
03-23-2005, 04:06 PM
So do you travel at all during the summer?
I would like to support a CSA, but we are very capricous over the summer- weekend trips, a beach week and a visit to MN to see the girlfriends. What do you do when you travel? Do they give you a certain number of "no delivery" weeks or do you have to find someone to take your delivery?
I would definately waste too many good veggies during the two weeks or so we travel! Luckily our local CSA cant have enough openings for all the interested shoppers. So I don't feel too guilty about not supporting them and doing the market deal.
03-23-2005, 04:20 PM
Ours allows you to have a friend pick up your share, or you can donate it- all of the leftover produce on pickup day goes to a local soup kitchen. We used the soup kitchen option the one or two weeks we were away.
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