This has been the first summer we have been CSA, or community supported agriculture, subscribers. Since late May, the husband and I have picked up a half share of local farm goods on a weekly basis. I know many people have been thinking about becoming part of a CSA, but wanted to know what we thought before diving in.
To start off with some background: We are in Northern Virginia, so our produce will be totally different from someone living in Vermont or Oregon. We have a half share for two people and it's a ton of food. Our CSA emails us weekly with what to expect in the box so we can plan accordingly.
To date, here are my thoughts on the positives and challenges of a CSA:
- We eat more produce
- We eat produce we normally wouldn't buy
- Cost effective (granted it's probably more expensive than other regions)
- Produce at the peak of flavor and freshness
- Eliminates most of my weekly grocery list
- Better for the environment
- Good for the local economy
- Can pickle or freeze for later in the season
- It's like Christmas every time I get a box!!!
- Not much fruit, mostly veggies
- Item repeats (Stop. No more eggplant!)
- You can't opt out of what you don't like (although some allow you to). For instance I detest bok choi, but we definitely had our fair share in the spring.
The bottom line is I LOVE our CSA. The benefits far outweigh the challenges and I think it's exciting to be given ingredients that you need to use. Kind of like Chopped. In a few years once we establish a garden, we probably won't need the CSA, but with major house renovations happening, a CSA is a must.
Here are some of the things we've received so far:
- melon (strawberries, blackberries)
- greens (kale, collards, spinach by the gallon)
- green beans/broad beans/Chinese long beans
Are you a member of a CSA? Love it? Hate it? What's your favorite thing you've had in your basket?
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