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Are You Right For A CSA?

You also want to be honest with yourself about the kind of eater you are. Are you picky? Are there some fruits or vegetables that you simply do not like, no matter what you do with them? If you are not adventurous, it will do you no good to get things you are not familiar with and that you may not like.

While your goal of joining a CSA may be to support a sustainable lifestyle, ironically if you don’t like what you are getting, you might end up wasting a lot of it and become frustrated because you don’t use what you get.

With a CSA you don’t know for sure what you are going to get each week. It depends not only on the specific crops that the farmer grows, but also on weather conditions and growing conditions. So you need to ask yourself, “is this uncertainty something that I can live with?”

To really enjoy being a CSA member you also need to have a flexible meal prep or cooking style. If you are a planner who likes to set up your menu days ahead, this might not be the best option for you. But, if you have no problem whipping up meals from what’s left in the pantry or without knowing what you have ahead of time, it will be perfect for you.

The other thing to consider is cost, while it is a simple way to get fresh local food; it is not affordable for everyone. In the US, a typical CSA subscription ranges between $400-$600 per season (between 15 to 20 weeks depending on location) for a weekly box that feeds two people. One way to make it more affordable is to share your CSA subscription with a friend or family member.

Some CSAs also offer a variety of payment plans to give members some flexibility in paying for their shares and can arrange payments in installments or offer sliding scale fees or scholarship shares.

The bottom line is to research to find out the best option for you, this includes the CSAs delivery methods. Does the drop off day or spot work for you and your schedule? What about the farming methods and what the farm grows? Are they also in line with your beliefs and your lifestyle.

Once you get past any doubts you may have and decide to join a CSA, sit back and enjoy the new adventure you are about to embark on.

To find a CSA near you, check out Local Harvest or the Eat Well Guide.

Related:
10 Tips for Cooking with a CSA
You Say Potato, I Say CSA

Read more: Community, Conscious Consumer, Do Good, Eating for Health, Environment, Food, Life, Nature, ,

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Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.

25 comments

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9:56PM PST on Nov 28, 2012

ty!

7:12PM PDT on Jun 23, 2011

Thanks!

12:01PM PDT on Jun 3, 2011

helpful article, thank you

5:12PM PDT on May 22, 2011

Thank you for the article.

5:41PM PDT on May 19, 2011

Thanks for those two links! Just finished checking and Orlando has so much more than I thought it would. It's definitely something worth checking out. We've decided to go organic due to health concerns and I never would have imagined that there'd be so many options here.

5:39AM PDT on May 19, 2011

Thanks for the article.

9:44PM PDT on May 17, 2011

thanks.

6:42PM PDT on May 17, 2011

Noted with thanks!

6:16PM PDT on May 17, 2011

I am all for buying local. But in our part of the country that is virtually impossible much of the year. We are in Norther Ohio, and this year especially the farmers can't even get into their fields yet. I do buy local, but the rest of the time, I can to supplement food budget an health.

11:50AM PDT on May 17, 2011

We are in our 4th year of CSA - 2 years with one farm and now this is our 2nd year with another. We love it. Between it and our tomato, pepper, and herb garden, we rarely have to buy produce at the store. Also, they let us spread the payments out over the season rather than paying it all up front, which is wonderful.

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