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CSA's... please tell me more

So I went to localharvest.org and found a CSA that is a manageable distance away. I read a bit on their website. You can see them at cremedelacrop dot com. I guess I am just not getting it, though. I think I understand it as this- you pay them the fee upfront (in this case, would be about $270 for the needs of one person) and then you just show up at the pick-up location once a week. They also have listed the produce that you get. Here’s where I’m not so sure… some of the produce is stuff I wouldn’t need…

For instance, this is their “Standard Market” pack:

Spinach, Kale, Head Lettuce, Collard Greens, Cucumbers, Green Cabbage, Red Cabbage, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cauliflower, Turnips, Rutabaga, Parsnips, Carrots, Onions, Potatoes, Corn, Summer Squash, Snap Beans, Shelling and Sweet Peas, Lima Beans, Sweet Peppers, Chili Peppers, Tomatoes, Celery, Rutabaga, Cantaloupe, Honeydew, Watermelon, and Herbs.

Of course, a lot of that would be very useful, but there are definitely some things on the list that would just go to waste if they gave it to me. Are you able to discuss your needs with the CSA and make subsitutions?

Also, do you just use the CSA for the growing season, and then return to buying produce at the grocery store the rest of the year? And one last question, do you typically use the CSA, and then just pick up other needs at the grocery store? For instance, fruit?

Sorry, I know it’s a lot of questions, but I just want to make sure I’m understanding it. I just don’t want to blindly take the plunge without researching more. Thanks. :)


  • WinonaWinona Raw Newbie

    hi xeno! i can answer your ?’s – i joined a CSA last year. i use the csa for one growing season – typically june to october. every week, you can go to the farm to pick up the box. you should call your csa and ask – they might be able to substitute. this CSA has a fruit share at the bottom of the page. i always buy fruit @ the grocery store (no CSA fruit shares within walking distance for me!). and i buy staples at the grocery store. every week, your box looks different – lettuce/kale/cukes one week, Lima Beans, Sweet Peppers, Chili Peppers, Tomatoes the next week. you’d be surprised – things that tasted bad at the store (turnips/brussels) are DELICIOUS from a farmer’s market! i really encourage you to do this. it’s a huge money saver too.

    “Also, do you just use the CSA for the growing season, and then return to buying produce at the grocery store the rest of the year? And one last question, do you typically use the CSA, and then just pick up other needs at the grocery store? For instance, fruit?” YES. exactly.

  • Thanks for your speedy reply. I never even knew you could eat brussels sprouts raw! I need some help figuring out if this makes sense to do. Although I love the idea of supporting local, and having better tasting cleaner food- I’m also trying to think of the bigger picture. All of the pick-up locations are about a 30 min. drive away- so that would be burning a bit more fuel than I normally would, the Meijer I shop at is only 10 min away if not less. I own a Prius, so that helps… but I’m just trying to figure out if it makes more sense to drive so far once a week, or if it it makes more sense to continue shopping at a local grocery store until a closer pick up station is available. Does that make sense? I guess I’m just thinking in terms of the smallest impact on the environment. Wondering if the CSA food and the fact that it hasn’t had to travel as far works out to be a better benefit than a shorter personal drive, but all food coming from a big chain with long travel times.

  • WinonaWinona Raw Newbie

    wow, lucky prius owner!!! good question about doing the best for the environment… I’m not certain i know the answer. i drove a regular car 25 minutes each way, last year to get my share. now i get one that’s within walking distance.. BUT i felt it was SUPER duper important to support the family. if you got the CSA fruit share as well, then you’d definately be in good shape

  • I do feel very lucky! I bought mine in April 2007, and I love it. I think they are just the greatest little cars.

    Thanks for your help, Winona. I def. have a lot to think about with the CSA.

  • bittbitt Raw Newbie

    good for you! I love CSAs, although we just have too much fun at the farmer’s markets to do it here.

  • germin8germin8 Raw Master

    I don’t agree that it is a huge money saver, except that you get your money’s worth. Organic, local, and picked that morning (of your delivery)

    Our CSA encourages us to go pick our own fruits. It’s good and bad. It’s good to pick our own foods, but bad because you won’t want to pick the one or two free pints allocated to you… you’ll want to pick more and spend more! The price is reasonable. I got strawberries for about $2.25 which is usually the price of conventional at the store.

    This is only our 3rd week and I notice we get A LOT of greens. Too bad we get a lot of spring onions too. I froze most of the 1st and 2nd batch… just cant’ keep up with those onions.

    You do run the risk… that if the farm does not do well, (or say there is a flood), you lose out on the money. Instead of the farmer taking the risk, you take the risk more.

    I’m beginning to think that visiting their farmer’s market would be best and we can pick our own… but this is our first year, and I think my husband likes to be surprised on what new food item we’re getting. We actually got a potted basil, potted cilantro, and potted not-yet-identified green (looks like a different kind of cilantro).

    And, I agree with flavor. Wow, kale is so strong flavored compared to the store-bought kind, even organic store-bought kind.

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