Do you belong to a CSA?

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-18-2008
Do you belong to a CSA?
19
Tue, 03-27-2012 - 5:19pm

We don't have a CSA in our immediate area and, since we grow a decent size garden each summer, we chose not to join a CSA, but to order from a produce delivery company instead. We use Door to Door Organics and they deliver a box each Tuesday with fresh, organic produce. At some point in the summer we usually put the delivery on hold though because we're growing enough in our garden that we don't need to supplement.

Have you ever been part of a CSA or delivery service? Do you grow your own, buy at the farmers market, or purchase your produce at the grocery store?

If you're interested in CSA's here are some great tips that will help you choose one that's right for you...

How to Choose a CSA: End the Confusion and Eat Locally
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Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Tue, 03-27-2012 - 10:01pm

I've looked in to the CSA's but since I grow my own I don't really need to join one. I have had one box from one, about a year ago, I won it in a raffle. It was from one of the "fancier" CSA's here (there are several) and included eggs, honey, and a flower bouquet in addition to vegetables and a few pieces of citrus. That particular CSA links up with some other farms to provide more variety to the customers.

The more economical CSA's here are full and have waiting lists. One of my friends belongs to one and she said that sometimes she doesn't know what to do with some of the ingredients or they get something they don't like, but for the most part she likes getting it.

I don't shop at the Farmer's Markets very often, again because I grow my own and because of the expense. We have a couple of stores here, independent grocers or small local chains, that offer very good prices on produce. Its not usually local as in from this county, but in Californa a Certified FM only needs to have products from within the state--which is a big place! Also, northern Mexico is considered part of our foodshed so I consider that local enough. The FMs tend to have more organic produce which probably accounts for the higher prices.

My ds and his gf live in San Francisco where locally sourced food is very big. They use a "hybrid" that is sort of a CSA but not on a contract. The provider posts online where they will distribute each time and interested parties show up there to collect a box (I don't know if ds/gf reserve it online or its first come first served). I think it is cheaper than a CSA. Sometimes they shop at FMs too. When we visited them last November we went to the Ferry Building FM which is the most amazing FM I've ever seen, but its not cheap...

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-03-2001
Wed, 03-28-2012 - 12:36am

We do belong to a local CSA - all organic produce, organic eggs if you sign up, and the odd organic chicken. This will be our 3rd year and I have become quite friendly worth the owner!

We also grow some of our own veg - tomatoes, eggplants and sometimes beans, all in large pits... Just because I like to!

We actually spend less on veg all summer and last year, I actually managed to freeze some eggplant and beans from the take as well! I jusy have to rememerb to use them in the off season! LOL

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-18-2008
Wed, 03-28-2012 - 11:05am
elc11 wrote:
One of my friends belongs to one and she said that sometimes she doesn't know what to do with some of the ingredients or they get something they don't like, but for the most part she likes getting it.


I worry about that too. I try to get things from time to time that I don't normally use and seek out new recipes, but I can't see using a ton of stuff that we don't care for, you know? The one we looked into had a swap table where you could trade for stuff you use. I thought that was nice. The service we order from lets you substitute stuff you like for the stuff you don't.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 11-18-2008
Wed, 03-28-2012 - 11:06am
Our service just started offering organic eggs too. So nice! They're supposed to offer milk soon too. I might be able to avoid the grocery store altogether!!
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Avatar for elc11
Community Leader
Registered: 06-16-1998
Wed, 03-28-2012 - 1:01pm

When I looked into CSA's a couple of years ago, I noticed that some of them post recipes on their websites for how to use the less common products. I do like the idea of getting different things so I can try them.

Avatar for akamarti
Community Leader
Registered: 02-14-2000
Thu, 03-29-2012 - 11:03am

Nope...no CSA membership. I buy my produce at the grocery store (and don't buy organic because I really believe it's impossible to grow enough truly organic for sale). I used to always have a garden but the last few years, it's been hard enough keeping up with the yard and flower beds without adding more to the list.

Marti

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-03-2001
Thu, 03-29-2012 - 11:43am
elc11 wrote:

When I looked into CSA's a couple of years ago, I noticed that some of them post recipes on their websites for how to use the less common products. I do like the idea of getting different things so I can try them.


Ours sends out a monthly newsletter with tips on how to prepare the more unusual items and recipes suitable for most. I have been making a little recipe book for each year including those recipes... very useful!

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-03-2001
Thu, 03-29-2012 - 11:50am
cmkellie wrote:
Our service just started offering organic eggs too. So nice! They're supposed to offer milk soon too. I might be able to avoid the grocery store altogether!!


Ours had a connection to an organic milk dairy way down south in the state which sends a limited amount for sale up this way. Trouble was, even though severael of us signed up, she couldn't get a committement from the dairy to up their "exports" so... no dairy this year. She's still working her connections, through.

This lady makes jams and jellies (they started out as a pick-it-yourself raspberry farm) and occaisoinally we get a bonus jar of her preserves in our monthly allottment. Also, her husband is a bee keeper and they sell the honey as well as "hire out" the bees (he actually taught bee-keeping classes this winter!),

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-03-2001
Thu, 03-29-2012 - 11:53am
cmkellie wrote:
elc11 wrote:
One of my friends belongs to one and she said that sometimes she doesn't know what to do with some of the ingredients or they get something they don't like, but for the most part she likes getting it.


I worry about that too. I try to get things from time to time that I don't normally use and seek out new recipes, but I can't see using a ton of stuff that we don't care for, you know? The one we looked into had a swap table where you could trade for stuff you use. I thought that was nice. The service we order from lets you substitute stuff you like for the stuff you don't.

Ours started the "swap" table idea last summer as well. And they have an excess table too, where you can get extras of things that pretty much ovewhelmed them in the harvest (eggplant was a major excess crop last year! LOL).

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-18-2008
Thu, 03-29-2012 - 11:58am
thatyank wrote:
elc11 wrote:

When I looked into CSA's a couple of years ago, I noticed that some of them post recipes on their websites for how to use the less common products. I do like the idea of getting different things so I can try them.


Ours sends out a monthly newsletter with tips on how to prepare the more unusual items and recipes suitable for most. I have been making a little recipe book for each year including those recipes... very useful!

That's what ours does too. They have a little area on their website where they feature receipes of their own and of customers. It's always helpful when I'm working with a food that I don't normally eat. Or even when I just need something new.

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