In my last blog we talked about the pros and cons of a Community Supported Agriculture program, sharing in a CSA. I am still thinking about it and here are a few things I am considering…
5 Things to Consider Before Sharing in a CSA
The Farmer – Do you know the farmer? You’ll want to purchase all that delicious produce from a farmer you know and trust. Someone who is local and whose farm practices you agree with. If you want to become more familiar with the farmer before subscribing to a program, ask to visit the farm. I know they will be happy to give you a tour and answer all your questions. Know your farmer, know your food before sharing in a CSA.
The Pick Up Schedule and Location – How often do you have to pick up your box and how long is the season? Typically, most programs are weekly and run from May into October. But there are some bi-weekly subscriptions out there! And depending on where you live, the program could even go into the winter months.
Make sure the pick up location is somewhere you are familiar with and close to home. You don’t want to have to drive long distances to get your box of goodies, nor do you want them sitting in your car for a long time. Remember, you are making a commitment to pick up your share on a regular basis.
The Type of Program – Which CSA program will work best for you and your family? As I mentioned, most shares are picked up weekly. But I have seen bi-weekly programs as well as weekly half-shares. One farm in my area offers a Build-A-Box program in the winter months! Which is very cool because you get to pick up to 2 food types that you want, on the schedule you need. No worries if you go on vacation for a week, just don’t buy a box for that time period.
What kind of produce do you want? Most Community Supported Agriculture boxes are filled with fruits and vegetables. However, there are also plenty of local meat programs. You may also find those that offer fresh eggs, mushrooms, local honey or maple syrup. Even boxes of just fruit or cheese! Sign up for a program that best fits your dietary needs.
The Amount of Fresh Produce – Will you be able to eat or put up all the produce? This is a big question to ask yourself! Sharing in a CSA can be bring lots of fresh goodies into your kitchen. You certainly don’t want to bring home all the lovely produce only to see it wasted. Consider your needs and storage capacity. I am fortunate in that I have a large freezer and can also do some canning, if need be. But not everyone can do that, though. So thing about someone you know or a family member you can split the box with. Or even a group of co-workers. Better yet, maybe the farmer has different programs that you can chose from – like pick up every-other-week or even a half-size weekly program.
The Cost – Is this a good value for me? Subscribing to a CSA is a commitment, to yourself and to the farmer. Certainly consider the delivery schedule, the number of weeks the program runs for and all the fresh produce you’ll be receiving. But also think about all the healthy, nutritious foods you’ll be including in your diet on a regular basis! Not only the local, seasonal foods that you already love but also foods you’ve not tried yet 🙂 It’s a wonderful way to expand your taste-buds! Think too about how this could be supporting your local economy and how you could be spending less time at a big-box grocery store.
Need Help With Your CSA Box?
Do you have any CSA recipes you’d like to share or are looking for to help you cook up your fresh goodies? Feel free to reach out to me through the contact form on the right or on my Contact page. I’d be happy to speak with you.
And don’t forget, if you aren’t sure of what you are doing in the kitchen but want to eat healthy, you can sign up for my FREE Cooking Basics how-to-tips! You’ll get an email every week for an entire year. That’s 52 helpful kitchen tips! Everything from how to make the perfect fried egg to different ways to prepare vegetables and how to freeze those fruits & veggies you find at the market 🙂
Enjoy and Be Healthy!