What's in your CSA box?

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Hoser

Joined: Jul 10
Posts: 2,052

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Posted: 17 Jul 2012, 16:05
I'd been thinking about signing up for one of the many organic CSAs (Community Supported Agriculture) in my area. If you're not familiar, the idea is pretty simple: you sign up, and each week you get a box of whatever produce is in season. It's typically organic and more-or-less locally grown, and organized by smaller farms rather than huge agro-businesses.

Last week I noticed that our office gets a weekly fruit delivery from a local CSA, so I decided to sign up for the same one. I picked the size box that works best for me (small) went through their website and excluded the things that I don't eat, such as bell peppers.

My first box showed up today. It contained:

- A head of green leaf lettuce
- A bunch of rainbow carrots
- One pound of tomatoes, some heirloom
- Two nectarines
- One pound of plums
- A carton of blueberries
- One pound of summer squash
- One pound of new potatoes

All of this was for the princely sum of $25, including delivery. Not bad!

I used the lettuce, a tomato, and a carrot and combined them with shrimp, cheese, and dressing that I'd brought from home and made a lovely salad for lunch.

Do you get a CSA box? What was in yours this week?
NCNOLE

Joined: Feb 11
Posts: 1,218

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Posted: 17 Jul 2012, 16:20
Fabulous idea - I've been hitting the farmer's market on saturdays, but sometimes that is challenging. I will have to google this and see if there is one in my area!
teskandar

Joined: Oct 10
Posts: 24

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Posted: 17 Jul 2012, 16:23
I should think what you get depends somewhat on where you live. I live in the desert. Last week there was spaghetti squash, armenian cucumber, yellow onions, hatch chiles, cantaloupe, okra, sweet potatoes & tomatoes. It's all organic and $25 a week. Mostly vegetables, sometimes some oranges or apples & lots of melons right now.
Hoser

Joined: Jul 10
Posts: 2,052

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Posted: 17 Jul 2012, 17:47
Of course! Since CSAs tend to focus on locally-grown produce, what you get will be mostly what grows in your area.

If anyone in the SF Bay area is interested, I'm using www.farmfreshtoyou.com. At the risk of sounding like spam: I think they have a referral program that will get you a discount on your first delivery. Contact me privately if you'd like.
NCNOLE

Joined: Feb 11
Posts: 1,218

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Posted: 17 Jul 2012, 17:51
This is great! I just went to the health food store after work and guess what - the CSA was there delivering!! How weird!! I'm definitely doing it next year and might try it out this year as an add on without joining!!
Hoser

Joined: Jul 10
Posts: 2,052

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Posted: 18 Jul 2012, 13:59
Different CSAs have different rules. For some you have to subscribe for an entire season. Others can be far more flexible.

I love knowing that my produce is ethically grown and harvested and that it's freshly-picked. The more I learn about factory farming and our current food system the more I want to opt out of it. By getting much of my food from a CSA, I'm well on my way to doing that.
teskandar

Joined: Oct 10
Posts: 24

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Posted: 18 Jul 2012, 14:32
I like knowing I'm helping to keep a family farm in business. Small farmers really need our support. It can't be easy competing against big business not to mention other supposed farmers who aren't so ethical. My farmer says he sees people at farmers markets who buy their stuff at Costco and resell it as their own. Horrible. He said they have laws against doing that in California. I wish they would do that here in AZ.
mmpearce

Joined: May 11
Posts: 81

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Posted: 19 Jul 2012, 08:40
I have a CSA from a super local farm (about 1.5 miles from my pretty urban house). It's veggies only, so I need to get myself to the farmers market for some fruit asap. Here's what I got:

- a bunch of summer squash and zuchini
- 3 lbs green beans
- broccoli
- cauliflower
- lettuce
- cucumber
- kale
- carrots


I put cauliflower in the kids mac + cheese (caused quite a few tears!)
I made cucumber and carrot salad to go with some delivery chicken tikka
Put sauteed mushrooms and red onion (from the store) over lettuce and green beans

I had high hopes for more ambitious cooking of the rest, but I think everything else has and probably will end up steamed in the microwave, seasoned with salt and olive oil and served with lasagna or whatever the kids will eat. It's my veggies of last resort recipe when in a time crunch. Luckily the veggies have been so delicious that they can stand for themselves with that minimalist treatment.
diana1096

Joined: May 12
Posts: 52

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Posted: 19 Jul 2012, 11:17
I wish I could convince my husband that it's cheaper and healthier for us to do this but he won't go for it because here you have to pay for it all at once, then you go and pick it up once a week. Most of our shares here are $250-$500 for the season and that includes the meat & vegetable programs. He told me he wasn't driving all the way across town for vegetables when there was a store right down the block.
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mmpearce

Joined: May 11
Posts: 81

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Posted: 19 Jul 2012, 13:14
diana1096, that's how all the CSA's around us work too.

Does your husband do all the driving or something? Maybe you could convince a neighbor to split a share with you (so it's less upfront cost) or sign up too and you can take turns on the pick up?

Or better yet, maybe you can sign on to become a new pick up spot for a CSA if the other drop off spots are far away! If you're home all day or for a period of the day, it might be worth contacting a few farms to ask.

Hoser

Joined: Jul 10
Posts: 2,052

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Posted: 19 Jul 2012, 15:34
I am once again reminded that San Francisco is the best place in the world to live. Check out the CSAs I have to choose from:

http://omorganics.org/page.php?pageid=107&contentid=90

Many of them deliver weekly to your home or office. The one I use allows you to permanently exclude certain items, and I can opt in or out at any time-- I don't have to book a whole season.
mmpearce

Joined: May 11
Posts: 81

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Posted: 20 Jul 2012, 08:42
Ugh. I am very jealous of SF produce. We used to live there. Now when california relatives come to our Massachusetts farmers market, it all looks very mundane to them...carrots, potatoes, leeks, lettuce. And our winter farmers markets are cheese,fish and mealy apples from fall.



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