Friday, August 6, 2010

How To Make a CSA Work for You

In December of last year, we joined a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). It’s probably not the most common time of year to join a CSA, but we are very fortunate in California and get some locally grown vegetables year round.

Here is what we got this week:

When we joined the CSA, we were shopping at local Farmers’ Markets several times per week, and we were quite happy with the produce we bought there. However, we didn’t always get organic fruits and veggies, so joining an organic CSA made a lot of sense.

Here is what I’ve learned about how to make our CSA work for us:
  • Assess all fruits and veggies for ripeness as soon as you open the box. Start eating the ripe fruits and veggies right then and there… :)
  • Organic herbs and lettuce do not keep very long. Eat them the day you get them if possible.
  • Put herbs you can’t use right away in a glass of water in the fridge.
  • Write down how you’ll use each item in the box. It’s too easy to “lose” fruits and veggies in the fridge.
  • Oftentimes, you are able to check online what will be in your CSA box. This is a great way to plan ahead. We actually have this option, but I never do this as I like to be surprised… It’s like getting lots of presents whenever I open the box…
  • The price you pay is fair, but not every box may seem “worth it.” However, when you average several boxes out, it’s well worth it. In other words, sometimes you may get a box and think, “I could have bought this for way less elsewhere than what I’m paying for the box.” However, oftentimes the next box includes fruits and veggies that would cost you a lot more at the Farmers’ Market. Never forget that you are supporting local farmers who are doing an outstanding job in providing you with quality produce!
  • We can choose how often we want to get a box. We are getting a box every other week, which works great for us as we enjoy shopping at different Farmers’ Markets so much. There are also different options in terms of “mostly fruit” or “mostly veggies.” Plus, when I signed up, I could eliminate fruits and/or veggies I never wanted to receive. Honestly, I didn’t mark anything as I truly don’t dislike any fruits or veggies. Plus, getting new (to me) veggies is a lot of fun.
Questions: Do you belong to a CSA? If so, how do you like it? If not, have you ever considered joining a CSA? What are you eating this weekend?
Be well.