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Community Supported Agriculture – One Month Report

We’ve received a month’s worth of shares from the community supported agriculture group we joined and I thought it was time to update on how it’s worked out for us.

The first couple weeks were what they predicted—almost entirely greens. This meant we had some good salads, but it didn’t really affect our grocery bill. However the last two weeks have been much better. We’ve gotten broccoli, beets, radishes, rhubarb, potatoes, scallions, snow peas, and a variety of greens. We’ve still have to buy the protein part of the meal, but it’s cut our grocery bill at least in half.

It’s also required a good deal of flexibility in the kitchen. I discovered what a rhubarb even looked like (word of warning, don’t try to eat a small slice, they taste like death without being cooked in sugar) and how to make yummy roasted beets. (Sliced, olive oil, salt & pepper, place on tin-foil-covered cookie sheet, cover with tinfoil, bake at 400F for 30 min.) Some of this stuff I’d never even tried before either because it wasn’t interesting or because I was convinced I wouldn’t like it. I think the summer is going to broaden my recipe base and my tastes too.

The Best Thing About Community-Supported Agriculture

The best thing hands-down is the taste! The food is incredibly fresh and the flavor is fantastic. I knew that it was going to be better than what we were getting at Giant, but I was still surprised by how much better it tastes.

Nothing is over-ripe or under-ripe because it’s been shipped hundreds or thousands of miles, so far everything we’ve gotten has been at its peak. This tastes like the way food is supposed to taste. I’m very excited about that and looking forward to the rest of the summer!

Because it’s fresh, you do have to use it sooner than you might have to use something you bought at the store that’s already been on the road for a week and was picked early so it wouldn’t spoil. But I haven’t had a problem with the food lasting less than a week and we get weekly shipments.

The Worst Thing About Community-Supported Agriculture

It’s not all that bad, but one doesn’t get to select what one gets every week. If you’re able to go to a Farmer’s Market and actually do go, then that might be the better option for you. (If you don’t actually go, then a CSA is better than the regular grocery.)

Besides not being able to pick the type of things you get, you also have a bit less selection when it comes to quality. So far we’ve only gotten one head of lettuce that I chucked for poor quality and we got an apology note saying that the farmer was trying a new washing spinner and had set it too high. Otherwise it’s been about the same kind of quality toss-up one experiences at a grocery store (but better flavor all-round), mostly good stuff.

On the whole, we’re feeling very pleased with our decision to join.

The fruit shares start in July, more exciting possibilities!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda June 23, 2010 at 7:41 am

We’re really enjoying ours, too. 😀 The tomatoes we’ve been getting have been particularly flavorful. 😀

Evan June 23, 2010 at 9:51 am

This sounds like such a cool idea – I checked out the previous post and it doesn’t mention where you found the CSA? Did you just google it or was it recommended?

What kind of up front fee are we talking about?

Amanda June 23, 2010 at 10:56 am

You can try to find what’s near you, as far as CSAs and Co-ops.

Mrs. Micah June 23, 2010 at 11:07 am

@Amanda We’re really looking forward to tomatoes!

@Evan We knew people who were in it last year. But is a good place to look.

Lise June 23, 2010 at 1:51 pm

I’m participating in a CSA for the first time this year, too. I’ve found it to be a wonderful experience. It definitely fulfills the goal of eating more fruit and vegetables, and it’s brought me into the kitchen more – and I am not someone who loves to cook!

I’m actually working on a post on my blog about making the most of your CSA. I’ll have to mention your posts on the topics, as well as the book recommendations.

frugal zeitgeist June 24, 2010 at 11:39 pm

Nice writeup! I keep thinking about doing this, but I don’t think I have the flexibility to make it work the way it should, mostly because I am so short on time. The farmer’s market is also a good choice, though, and that works for me.

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