Friday, May 15, 2015
Why We're Not Joining a CSA this Year
I've become pretty passionate I would say about advocating to support local businesses, especially when it comes to our own food. I love being able to take my children with me on the weekends to the local farmers' markets in the area, there's really one just about every day of the week. They get the chance to help me choose our produce for the upcoming week plus get to know and understand better where our food comes from and the faces behind those farms.
When we chose to join a CSA (community supported agriculture) three summers ago it was a new concept to me. I had heard of them but didn't exactly know much. Thanks to our local dairy farm's newsletter I heard of some nearby farms taking new subscribers, so I did a little research and immediately wanted to join.
I loved the idea of receiving a designated amount of vegetables each week for our family to enjoy. We paid a flat rate when we signed up, which actually averaged to be less than $20 per week. So from June until October, I would have plenty of fresh, organic vegetables. It also gave us the chance to try veggies we'd never even heard of before. Kohlrabi, anyone?
Not only was the produce of superb quality, but we immediately built a great relationship with our farmers. A husband and wife team that worked hard to provide their customers with quality, organic produce. We also started purchasing eggs and poultry from their farm as well. My girls got to pick out their turkey for Thanksgiving, they thought that was the coolest ever!
As you can see from the pictures above, some weeks we received a large assortment and others were smaller. Of course just starting out in the season, you can expect small portions, consisting of mainly greens. Later in late August and into September your boxes might be bursting. This became a struggle when I started working outside the home full time this past year. I would quickly pick up the girls and then go grab our weekly veggies. With all of our activities plus tending to my own small garden, I wouldn't find enough time to devote to using everything up.
I found myself having to toss food, which I hate! It seemed like such a waste and wasting is not something I like to do.
This summer we've decided to forgo joining the CSA again. We love the farm we supported for two years and continue to purchase eggs and poultry through them, but for now this is what will work best for our family. We extended our garden by just a bit this year, hoping to make it even bigger in years to come. In addition to growing our own vegetables, we'll definitely be taking advantage of the farmers' markets in town. I love the whole experience of shopping from each of the booths. There's nothing better than getting up right away on Saturday mornings and taking the whole family down there to shop.
Here in the Midwest our markets are just getting started, which means CSA's are still possibly taking new subscribers. If you think you might be interested in finding one in your own area, Local Harvest is an excellent tool to utilize. They will help you find local farms in your area, I've even been able to find great resources for meat as well.
Regardless of which route you choose to go this summer, I applaud you for supporting local farmers. To me that's what's most important! And if you are able to grow most of your produce at home, then let me tell you; I am jealous ha! One day I would love to be in that position, but for now we'll just keep doing what works for us.