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Frugal Friday- Community Supported Agriculture

frugalfriday First off, what is a CSA? According to Wikipedia (which never lies), a CSA is:

A CSA consists of a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation where the growers and consumers share the risks and benefits of food production. CSAs usually consist of a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables and fruit in a vegetable box scheme, sometimes including dairy products and meat.

After a few years of hearing about them but frankly being scared of being forced to eat weird foods, we pulled the trigger this year and split a share at a local farm with some friends of ours. And I am so sad I did not do it sooner!! I love that I am getting amazing quality organic produce fresh from the farm for a fraction of the cost I would pay for crappy produce from the grocery store that comes from halfway across the country. And the money stays here, in this economy, which frankly really needs it.

The thing I was most afraid of? That I would waste food because we wouldn’t like it, or the kids wouldn’t eat it, or I just wouldn’t be able to use it all in a week. So far, that has not remotely happened. I am getting creative in the kitchen and discovering new foods I never knew I would like. If you recall, I am not an adventurous eater. But thanks to a few great cookbooks , I am finding ways to incorporate different veggies in a way that my family will eat them. The kids have been involved in the pick up of our stash every week so they are actually excited to try new things. It doesn’t always go over well, but at least they are trying.

So by my estimation, I get weekly produce from June through the end of October. I am hoping to do some canning and freezing as well so my bounty can last me into the winter. I think the cost works out to $9 a week (math is not a strong suit). That seems like a heck of a deal to me. Oh and I didn’t even mention that the last 2 weeks I have also received a plant that has promptly gone in the garden. So that is the gift that keeps on giving.

Local Harvest is a great website for finding a local CSA near you. Have you tried a CSA? Did you find you saved money?

For more frugal tips, head over to Life As Mom.

Comments

  1. I just started participating with Bountiful Baskets co-op. I live in the desert so good produce difficult. Posted about my great experience http://www.pantrycookinmama.com/2010/06/what-is-food-co-op.html I’m excited for this week!

  2. I’ve been seeing tweets about CSAs and have been drooling over the pictures! We have a pretty large garden, so in the past I’ve hesitated…this year hubs found one that delivers just down the street from us and allows for monthly participation. So we’re in for the month of July at the very least. I checked out local harvest – what a great resource! I’m a bit jealous of your cost, however, prices here are consistently around $25/wk.
    Steph @ Problem Solvin Mom recently posted…AnticipationMy Profile

  3. So glad you’ve decided to give it a try! We did Groundswell for a couple of years before we were able to get into Trillium, which is closer to us.
    Wendy (The Local Cook) recently posted…Bulgarian Yogurt CakeMy Profile

  4. I’m not part of a CSA, but something similar. I am part of an Organic Buying Club, and I love it! First off I do think that it saves people money, and I know that it helps people eat better! Specifically for me, I help to sort out the shares every week, which means I get my share discounted for the effort I put in. Being a SAHM it’s the least I can do.
    Jolly Green Mommy recently posted…Aloha Friday #3?My Profile

  5. I’ve just started hearing about the CSA’s, but I havent tried it. I am, however, growing our first ever garden and considering reopening the old chicken coop that was left here by my hubby’s grandma. I am looking forward to eating fresh in a few more weeks :).
    Our Country Road recently posted…Coming Soon!!My Profile

  6. Thanks for the great tip, Jill. Are you coming across any new recipes to help you with your fresh produce??
    Have a GREAT weekend!
    Cindy :)
    Cindy recently posted…Friday Family Fun Ideas ~ Come Join the Fun!My Profile

  7. I’ve been part of an organic CSA for four years. Even more than the money savings, which I think is only just a little better than buying at the grocery store, is the quality and freshness. I also love the fact that my children have tried squash blossoms and know that a potato fresh from the ground tastes like a potato. However..I do sometimes get too much because we’re a family of six I get a “large” box. Of course we’ll eat the two quarts of strawberries in a day…but with all the mesculin greens, spinach, romaine, and leaf lettuce I get this time of year…I wish we had a bunny.
    Kathy Gillen at Wellness Roadtrip recently posted…Chiquita Banana Lady Where are You?My Profile

  8. We joined a csa after you wrote about it the first time, and we LOVE it. Ours comes to about $22 a week, so it’s not the cheaper option when it comes to groceries — but MY KID EATS BROCCOLI NOW. We’re trying new foods and eating better and what we have left at the end of the week gets pureed and frozen for the baby. :) This week we got peaches, tomatoes, onions, red potatoes, corn, blueberries, broccoli and strawberry cider. AWESOME.
    Erin G recently posted…Delayed (and Carefree)My Profile

  9. I didn’t think we had any of these around here, but I am pleasantly surprised… thanks for the link to that website! I even found one that will pro-rate for when you join so I may wait until we get back from our vacation and then finish out the summer with them. Awesome!

  10. $9 a week?! Oh, GIRL. That is cheap!

    Ours come in closer to $20-$30 a week, so I don’t think it’s cheaper than our current sources…but it’s still something I’d like to look into! Maybe someday….I kind of like the idea of having a “fruit fairy”!
    Aunt LoLo recently posted…The NEW Casa LoLoMy Profile

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