We have just signed up for a share in a CSA. For those of you who haven’t heard of this, a CSA is community supported agriculture. You pay a fee up front for a “share” which entitles you to pick up your portion of the farm’s output each week during growing season. I’ve been wanting to do this for years, but had some requirements I was having trouble with:
– I needed a farm that was reasonably close by. I did not want to drive 45 minutes each way. I found one that is literally 10 minutes away.
– I wanted weekday pick up times. Many farms schedule pick ups on weekends and we spend many weekends at my parents’ lake house.
– The farm had to be organic (not necessarily certified, but meeting standards at least).
I finally found all of this in The Root Down Farm. We’ll be getting a share every week for 22 weeks, from June to November. The farm also has a u-pick section which includes cutting flowers and some veggies you can just help yourself to. I wish they also had fruit, but that’s asking a lot! The cost is $540 for the season (which works out to about $24 a week) for a share that feeds 4 people. That is probably a bit more than I spend each week on produce, but it feels like an investment that will be worthwhile. I think it will force me to use more veggies, and to try veggies I might not be using at this point.
My dad used to have tons and tons of veggies he shared with me, but in recent years, he hasn’t grown as much at all, so I’ve been buying more at the store. I’m also excited to be supporting a local farmer. My grandfather’s family was one of the original farming families in our town, so this feels like going back to my roots.
A local store called Farmers and Artisans sells locally grown produce, dairy and meats, and also has a bakery. They are selling organic milk shares. I toyed with doing this, but ultimately it didn’t make sense. The cost per gallon was at least $1 more than I pay at the grocery store, I would have to drive farther to get it, and the milk does not come in glass bottles. As far as I’m concerned, that is the holy grail I am searching for – milk that is organic and in glass. I can get organic milk in plastic or I can get regular milk in glass.
What has your experience with CSAs been like?
I have been subscribed to a CSA for a few years. At first I tried a farm with a central drop off that wasn’t convenient and while I did it, it was adding stress to a very busy life. Later I found a CSA that delivers to my door for a bit extra $. I really value that and it’s been great.