Local farm CSAs for produce

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by nbs2, Mar 9, 2010.

  1. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2004
    Location:
    A geographical oddity
    #1
    Following my milk delivery thread is one on local produce. I went to look up local producers, and found that some of the farms near me offer "CSA" options, where you pay up front and get a regular delivery of a quantity of produce. The price seems high, compared to a grocer, and I suppose quality may vary, as you aren't picking you own. The most conveniently local farm is offering 7 pickups, one a month, of 9-11 pieces each, for $250.

    Like the milk thread, does anybody have experience with these, and how do/did you like farm produce (especially CSA programs) compared with the cheaper cost of a grocer?
     
  2. jpyc7 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #2
    I think you mean "CSA", community-supported agriculture. I think the prices are comparable to farmer's markets, which are higher than grocery stores. Usually, I see farms that offer one delivery per week. If it's once per month, I would avoid that just because I wouldn't be sure that they are providing very fresh produce.
     
  3. nbs2 thread starter macrumors 68030

    nbs2

    Joined:
    Mar 31, 2004
    Location:
    A geographical oddity
    #3
    Yeah. That is what I meant - I just was a little distracted at work.

    I hadn't thought about freshness as a once a month concern. I had been thinking they were breaking down a few longer term agreements into bundles to parcel off at higher price-per-pound rates, but I think you are right about how often the distribution would be made available. Maybe we will just "suffer" through going to the grocery store and sign up next year for the 30 week plan.

    Out of curiosity, have you tried a CSA before? How has the selection been compared to going to a farmer's market yourself and picking out your produce? I am a little sittish because I fear that they would save the good stuff for their "retail" sales and leave the slightly less good stuff for CSA distribution.
     
  4. jpyc7 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2009
    Location:
    Denver, CO
    #4
    I've not done it before, but I volunteered once with a non-profit gardening organization that did it. That's not a good comparison, because they don't sell any stuff. The produce goes to share owners and also donated to other food organizations. However, one similarity is that the "farm workers" can be just as inexperienced so that affects the produce picked. I see with other CSAs that they allow/require people to work shifts and those people aren't well-trained. Not that farm labor is a high skill position, but a group of us had to pick broccoli and the supervisor says: pick the ones that are starting to flower, and everyone's standard is a little bit different. Then we put the produce into bags on a more-or-less equitable basis. Again, there is some variation on that. Over a season, it should all even out, but basically the customer has no control on what they receive.

    Anyway, I think your best bet is to ask the CSA if they can put you in contact with previous customers so you can ask them about their specific experience. The alternative is to show up at their distribution site and just see how the food looks and talk to people there.
     

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