Monday, January 14, 2013

Is a CSA Right for You

We all know it is important to eat more fruits and vegetables but in our busy lives it can be difficult to fit them into our diets.  With the prices of many things increasing some people are starting to grow their own vegetables.  If you don’t have the time or inclination to grow your own, there are other options.

Many areas have farmers markets that offer vegetables that are grown locally.  Another option I discovered a couple of years ago is a Community Supported Agriculture program (CSA).  CSAs offer weekly vegetable boxes throughout the summer or maybe longer into the season depending on where you live.  I have been a member of Bluebird Gardens by Fergus Falls for the past two years and have signed up again for this year.  They deliver the boxes to the Fargo/Moorhead area and other areas weekly.  You will receive 20 weekly boxes from June thru October.  The fees are either invoiced or payments for 5 months.  There are various options of Family Share, Single Share and this year they have a couple of other options that are every other week.  I get the Single share which is supposed to be vegetables for two people.

Along with the weekly boxes you also receive a certain number of tickets (depending on your membership) for harvest events where you can go to the farm and pick a certain amount of items.  With the extra vegetables I was able to pick last year and freeze, I didn’t need to buy canned or frozen vegetables during the winter.  My single share of vegetables breaks down to about $20/week for 5 months of payments (including the extra produce I was able to pick). 

Some pros of the CSA are:
• A variety of vegetables that in many cases cost less than buying at a farmers market or grocery store
• The chance to try items that you have not tried before and would probably not have purchased.
• Opportunity to purchase produce locally grown and support local farmers.
• You may get your children to try different vegetables if they are offered.

Some things to consider before joining a CSA:
• Willingness to try new produce items and the chance of spoilage or throwing items that you may not like or use.
• In order to use the produce before they spoil you need to cook quite regularly.  If you eat out quite often it may not be worth the money of investing in a CSA.

So if you are searching for a source of locally grown produce, do some research and see if there is a CSA offered in your area.

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