CSA Update #1

I havent mentioned much about our CSA since the Green Your Summer series, but I’ve decided to give some updates on the service every once in a while with my thoughts, etc.

The first thing about our CSA was that I thought it started at the beginning of june, and unfortunately, I was not correct – it didnt start until the 11th of July.  Given that we are getting 22 deliveries of fruit, that means this wont finish until sometime in early december (!!!).  This news was somewhat disappointing to me, as I had hoped that the fruit would start sometime in June and end in November.  Oh well, I’ll take what I can get – I already paid for it anyway, right?

So about a week before our first delivery was supposed to arrive, we get an email from the people who we purchased our CSA from, explaining that they had hoped to have tons of cherries, apricots and other things for us in our share this week, but it got decimated by a hail storm earlier in the season, so were getting……A half gallon of apple cider and a bottle of cherry wine!  The next week (which was about a week ago) we were served up the same thing – A half gallon of apple cider and some apple sauce.

Needless to say, both of those things disappointed me greatly.  I paid for fruit to be delivered to my local pick up spot, and I got cider?  At first, I didnt think that was cool, but after talking with my dad, he said that what I got was better than nothing, which is what I could have gotten because that’s what the farm(s) output actually was from this time period.  Today, I’ll go pick up my first of what I hope to be many servings of fruit – 4lbs of rhubarb and 3 lbs of pitted pie cherries.  It sure looks like there’s a lot of pie in my future.

There is an inherent risk in doing this that I didnt mention last time (because it didnt really cross my mind).  When you do something like this, you’re making a cash investment at one time for a return (of food) in the future.  Unfortunately, you can never predict what will happen between the time of your investment and the time you need your return, so things will always be up in the air.  Usually, the farm running the CSA will try to give you something each week when they say they will, but it wont always be what they had hoped.  In other words: Go to hell, hail!

 Readers: Have you ever joined a CSA?  Do you think that the risk is worth it, or do you think that the risk can be mitigated in some other way?  Are you thinking about purchasing a CSA share in the future?

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Jeff is the founder of sustainable life blog and has been interested in sustainability for most of his life. After realizing in 2007 that his finances were a total wreck, he started reading financial blogs and quickly realized that what is best for your wallet is typically better for the earth, and is usually healthier. On sustainable life blog Jeff shares his journey to a more sustainable lifestyle. For updates, subscribe by email or like us on facebook.

Comments

  1. no never, looks like worth a try

    • Just keep an eye out for things in your area SB – I’m trying to figure out if it will actually be worth it and save money.

  2. I’m in a CSA, now. We get 5/8 of a bushel of vegetables every week. right now, it’s working out well, but early in the season, it was all lettuce. I got pretty sick of salad.

    • Jason
      I know what you mean – i’ll probably be pretty sick of anything apple by the end of this, but we’ll see. could start making applesauce, apple jelly, etc. Though you cant really preserve lettuce.

  3. Currently in my area of FL there is one CSA running Nov – April. It is organic, fairly large and gets lots of publicity. It cost, last year, $500 and it is made very clear that what you get depends on the weather – last year the weather was dry, harvests not great. As it is a pick up at the farm deal which is a 45-50 mile round trip, & gas is $3.65 a gallon it is not worth it to me. However, everything is raised on the farm.

    There is another CSA about 90 min north of here that delivers in their own area. Met them at an eco fair and turns out they only raise a tiny amount, the rest they get from local farms. No guarantees of organic, lots of southern greens, variety is OK and again, notification at the beginning that harvests depend on the weather. A couple I met at the fair told me it wasn’t worth the money – little variety despite what is listed, and much of what was included could be purchased at lower price at local farm stands.

    I’ll continue to grow my own, varieties I want, in quantities I’ll use, always organic and at much less cost than the CSA. However, if you can’t grow, a CSA may be the route to go – if you investigate thoroughly before you invest.

    • Thanks for stopping by bellen!
      In my area, I currently dont have that much room to grow, and also the climate isnt all that great – i’d need hoop houses, etc for a portion of the year. The CSA isnt far for pickup (less than 5 miles) so I dont have to go to the farm to pick it up.

  4. Interesting! We don’t do CSA, but we do have community garden. We pay $40 to join and work in the garden once in a while. We can go pick whatever grow. We probably don’t get $40 worth of food, but it’s a great addition to the neighborhood.

    • hi RB40 -
      I’d really like to have a part of a community garden – i’ve been thinking of going over to a vacant lot with a tiller and going to town. I think it’d make a good talking point for the neighborhood.

  5. I did a CSA when I used to lived in NYC. The quality of vegetables was so much better than what was in the store and they had very convenient pick-up locations. My only gripe was that lettuce was a constant and large amount of your order, to the point where you don’t even want to take it. But on the bright side I got introduced to many new vegetables which forced me to explore different ways to prepare them.

    • Hi 60k – thanks for stopping by.
      What I’ve gotten so far has been very high quality, and i’m excited for the rest of the year – I’m sure that i’ll be eating many, many apples different ways come november.
      Hopefully I find some new great recipes and ways to prepare what I get.

  6. Small scale farming is a chancy endeavor, so all credit due to those that support local farmers through a CSA. We don’t have one in our city, but we support local food producers through the Oklahoma Food Co-op. I also grow enough that we have a good variety of organic vegetables. The fruit trees unfortunately got hit by late frosts, so no peaches or plums.

    • 101 – Agreed, you really cant control for weather, and where I live we’ve gotten 2 devastating hailstorms, one estimated to cause over 120m in damage to property. our fruit from the csa got killed, but they told us we could expect peaches next week. I’m excited

  7. Hi Jenna
    I’ve heard that the veggie csa’s come with a lot of lettuce – I’ve never done one though. H likes fruit more, and I figured if I enjoyed this, I’d go bigger next year.

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  1. [...] my thoughts, etc.  This is the fourth update, and if you’re interested, the first update is here, and the second is here, the third is here and the fourth is [...]