Monday, July 2, 2012

CSA values...  We stopped being CSA members when we lived in MD for a couple years.  We signed up when we were moving after a year while in IA.  The IA CSA was amazingly cheap ($150?) for the summer and literally there was so much food we didn't know what to do with it.  I made tomato sauce like a maniac!

The MD CSA was something like tripple the price for one grocery bag of veg per week.  It was decent produce and I did like the fact that it was super-local, but there was an amazing farmer's market that was even closer and we went there every week anyone (partially?  mostly? for the scones).  So, it just didn't make sense (especially on our salaries at the time).

For 3 years in MA and 3.5 years in ME we had amazing CSAs, great prices, good selection of veg and super convenient.  We still went to the farmer's market with frequency, but often it was as a cultural excursion (and for pastry).  For example, Heron Pond Farm was $550 and we were working hard to eat it all, but (as an example) this week includes 2 tomatos, 2 zuch, 2lbs of potato, 1 pint of peas, 2 onions, 1 head of lettuce, 1 bag of greens, 1 bunch of chard, and a bunch of carrots (we looooove carrots, they are like orange crack).  See, it's a good mix, makes sense together and would be a good, but not unreasonable amount of anything for a week (turnips and rutabagas in the winter are a different thing, too many).

We moved to NJ and we got into a CSA that's about the same price (a little more, but NJ costs more, so that's fine), but has a MUCH bigger client base (2700 households, it's got to be one of the biggest in the country). It's certified organic which our two previous weren't, so that's probably a bit pricier too.  But, let's compare shares;

3 heads of lettuce (after getting 4 for the last 4 weeks)
1 bunch of beets
1 bunch of chard
1 bunch of onions (4)
2 heads of garlic
2 zuch

So, less diversity, more overwhelming quantities of one product (we're now turning into lettuce fairies), and less quantity in general.  What since rolling into the Trenton Farmer's market I'm strongly considering not renewing for next year.  I'm underwhelmed so far and can see easy ways to get my fill of local produce with better variety and balances, plus, we're almost certain to head to the markets a lot anyway...

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