eph89 at Daily Kos writes about discovering Community-Supported Agriculture (CSAs). I too am a huge fan of this model, and am enjoying my second season of weekly vegetable boxes from Matt and Jacy Rothschiller's farm.
By way of example, I fronted something like $360 or $380 (I forget exactly) back in March; in exchange, I get a big box of goodies, plenty for me to use plus freeze a little and share a little, every week from mid-June to mid-October. That represents a
- 1 bunch of cilantro
- a considerable bag of baby lettuce mix (perfectly fresh, little need to sort through it like the supermarket stuff)
- 2 yellow and 1 green summer squash
- 2 ugly-but-tasty tomatoes
- 3 red onions
- a bunch of small carrots, mixed purple, orange, and yellow ones
- 2 long, curvy cucumbers
- a “SunJewel” melon (yellow and oblong, tastes like honeydew)
Other parts of the season I’ll get different things: lots of greens and herbs the first couple of weeks, tons of my beloved beets in June and July, winter squashes as the autumn progresses. Every week is somewhat different, and I get to have absolutely fresh, good-quality produce that supports a local farm family, is grown according to sustainable techniques, and requires little fuel to transport it to the pick-up spot. Every week I am excited to get my box and look inside, and to right away go home and make myself the biggest, most luxurious salad I can put together.
There is also an option, in my CSA, to trade half a day of farm labor per week during the growing season for a reduced-price subscription; while doing so is not sensible or efficient from an hourly-wage point of view (it comes out to about $3/hour), I’m considering trying it next summer for the experience.
If you want to know more about CSAs and their benefits, do check out eph89’s great diary.