Now is the time to sign up for a CSA if you haven’t already done so! For the past few years hubby and I have belonged to a produce CSA (community supported agriculture). We have belonged to Porter Farms CSA. For a cost of $300 we received 22-24 weeks of organic produce that was worth every penny, and (a lot) more!
We picked up from Porter Farms at a satellite location fairly close to us. There were approximately 25 families picking up at our location, so each week one family would make the drive 30 miles away to pick-up the bags for the entire pick-up satellite, and place them out on a table for each family to take.
Each week our CSA bag contained whatever was ready for harvest from Porter Farms. In June we looked like rabbits because lettuce was plentiful. By October we looked like squash since that was what was plentiful! I will say that Hubby and I gave away the last of the squash at the end of January (right before we left for Florida) and it held up very, very well! A CSA is weather dependent, so you get what they harvest, and what the bugs and deer have not eaten first (who said man is the top of the food chain!?).
This year, we decided to go a different route. We joined Root Down Farms a non-organic CSA (tough to get), although it is a non pesticide farm. The cost is substantially more, $545 for 22 weeks, but we moved because it is closer to us (5 minutes away), and, even more importantly, we can pick up on Thursday. We could have purchased a two person share for $300, but decided to get the larger share, and make sure we froze more this year!
Hubby cooks on the weekend, and our old CSA pick-up was Saturday morning. While they did post on Thursday or Friday what would be in the bag, we never knew exactly how much of each vegetable we were getting. Combine that with once we picked up at noon and did other errands, Hubby didn’t really have time to use those vegetables. That left Sunday for his masterpieces! Since I was always shopping Sunday Morning Shopping, he couldn’t get into the kitchen until after noon. Again, time would be short (you gotta see it to believe what he does to our poor kitchen – I may take a video some day), and we’d end up saving the vegetables for eating later in the week, or freezing.
We ended up giving away a lot of vegetables last year – which is fine. Someone was able to use all those fresh fruits and vegetable. And that is what is important. But, we really wanted to be able to use more for ourselves. The Root Down Farm CSA pick-up dates are Monday or Thursday, so Thursday it is for us! The bonus is there is a U-pick section that offers cut flowers, herbs (sweet, thai and lemon basil, cilantro, dill, parsley, rosemary, thyme, sage, oregano to name a few), snap peas, beans, cherry and plum tomatoes, pumpkins, ground cherries and tomatillos. I am hoping to make use of the flowers, Hubby the herbs.
I do plan on chronicling our CSA again this year. I felt Porter Farms was an excellent value, and cannot recommend them enough. It really helped me in 2012 realize just how worthwhile our local CSA is, and how much money I saved by joining a CSA.
Do you belong to a CSA? If so, what type? How much? Do you find it as worthwhile as I do?