Thursday, March 4, 2010

Is a CSA right for your family?

For many families a CSA membership is a significant financial investment, so it is important to decide if it is right for your family before you commit the time and money to a farm. If you are not happy it will not be good for either you or the farmer. Ask yourself these questions.
  1. Are you joining a CSA to save money? If this is your primary goal you may be disappointed. While a CSA membership typically offers a good value when compared with high quality organic produce it is not going to be cheaper then buying the produce on sale at your local grocery store.
  2. Are you prepared to cook? Much of the produce you receive in your shares will need to be cooked. If you usually make only salads and occasionally steam a some green beans, you may be disillusioned with the amount of work it takes to turn your pile of veggies into meals.
  3. Will your kids (or husband) try new things? Beets, turnips, eggplant, parsnips, Swiss chard, collards, winter squash of every shape and more will come with your share. In most CSAs (and almost all "real" farm-centered CSAs) you will regularly see items that may not normally make it to your table. When Mom ends up in weekly battles produce can go to waste and people can get unhappy.
  4. Are you willing to experiment? CSAs plan and plant for a "normal" year, but no year is "normal" they all are unique in their own way, so every year certain items thrive, and when they do you will see more of it in your CSA basket then you probably know what to do with! CSAs usually give recipes to help with creative ways to use Swiss Chard for the fourth week in a row, or beets yet again, but typically the best bet is to be willing to step outside your comfort zone and try new combinations. Who knows, you may find new favorites!
  5. Are you ready for the commitment? While many CSAs require little from members besides payment and pickup some ask for regular work commitments as well. Even if they do not the scheduled pickup times can get hard to cram in between work, errands, and children's activities.
  6. Do you eat out a lot? We have found that people who eat out 3 or more nights a week can have trouble getting through their veggies. If you use less produce, either because you are single, a couple, enjoy restaurants, or other lifestyle items consider joining a CSA with an option for a biweekly or half share.
  7. Are you ready for great food and a great experience? Most of the time CSA memberships work out great for the member and the farmer! Know your farmer, your farm, ask questions before you join, and realize there is a commitment required to work through a pile of vegetables every week and then just enjoy the bounty that a CSA membership can bring to your family!

If you are thinking a CSA is right for your family, now is the time to find open spaces! We still have a handful of spaces if you are interested in our farm, or explore others in your area.

1 comment:

Karen said...

I can't wait and yep, swiss chard is not for everyone but found a neighbor who loves it!!!!