This is what's awaiting the kids downstairs. Not that they need any help, but this sight still makes me excited on their behalf.
Merry Christmas, everyone. I hope your homes are filled with as many smiling faces as ours.December 25, 2009 | Comments (1)
In the last week of October, the whole family went out to the farm for our final CSA pickup of the year—raspberries. Through some agricultural wizardry that I didn't understand, the farmers at our CSA managed to delay the berries' arrival until October, which meant fewer concerns about birds devouring the crop and a welcome fall fruit for us. We also picked up a couple of pumpkins from their patch to carve for Halloween, although that wasn't part of our CSA share.
So, was this whole CSA thing worth it? As you might have guessed from reading my previous posts, my answer is an emphatic "yes." I got a summer's worth of fresh, local fruit and vegetables, tasted and learned to prepare things I had never seen before, and improved my diet to adapt to the bounty of the season. In re-reading that sentence, I realize that it might sound like a nightmare to some but it was really quite the opposite for me. I loved eating according to nature's schedule and adding a lot of excellent new foods to my diet. As a lifelong lover of essentially all meats (that's not likely to change soon), it was also good to know that I had other options to complement the various animal parts in my diet and that I didn't need to be completely reliant on them. Food aside, it was also good to spend my money locally and in support of people doing something that I believe in.
I haven't mentioned anything about money because I knew pretty early on that, because it wasn't an enormous investment, money wasn't going to be a huge factor in determining how worthwhile the CSA experience was. However that's what some people mean when they ask you that question, so I'll take a shot. Was the CSA less expensive than the same fruit and vegetables at the local grocery store? No, but it's not really a fair comparison. My local grocery store has produce from all over the world that's generally not organically raised and doesn't carry many of the vegetables or varieties that I got from the CSA. Was the CSA less expensive than buying equivalent (local, organic) fruit and vegetables from farmers' markets or Whole Foods? My guess is yes, but I haven't done much comparison shopping to back it up.
I would wholeheartedly recommend CSA participation to anyone out there considering it, with maybe one caveat. If you're not willing to try new foods and adapt your diet to eat what's available that week in addition to what you want, you'll probably get less out of the experience and may end up wasting a lot of food, depending on the type and quantity of things your local CSA provides. But if you go in with an open mind, you might be surprised by how much you enjoy it and how good you feel doing it.
Here's a list of my posts from the summer, in case you care to look back: