CSA – Yes or No?

I’ve said in earlier posts that I joined a CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture). I get a farm box with fresh fruits and vegetables delivered to my doorstep every Sunday. Now that I’ve been a member for a while, I can talk about the pros and cons. Some of the novelty has worn off. So in case you’re considering it, here’s my list:

Pros:

– The produce is all in-season, locally sourced and sustainably grown.

– Grocery shopping is fast and easy, since I’m building meals around my farm box produce.

– I try fruits and vegetables that I wouldn’t otherwise try. Mulberries, cherimoyas, guavas, fava beans are recent examples.

– I eat more produce than I ordinarily would.

– It gets delivered to me every week, so even I don’t have the chance to go grocery shopping I can generally make a meal out of my produce and staples around the house (e.g. eggs).

– It’s fun to see what surprise I’m going to get.

– It forces me to be a more creative cook.

Cons:

– Since the produce is all in-season, you get the same thing for weeks in a row. Enough with the beets – really! And I don’t care if it’s cone cabbage, Napa cabbage, or regular cabbage — there just not that many things to do with cabbage! They try to change it up by giving me a different variety of kale every week but it’s still kale every week.

– It’s more work to plan meals around the produce I’ve received rather than picking my go-to recipes and shopping accordingly.

– It’s a little pricey, although for me it’s worth it not to have to make an extra stop at the farmers’ market.

– Sometimes we don’t eat the produce fast enough and it goes to waste.

– Although the produce is very good, it’s not amazing. I used to buy my produce at Whole Foods or the farmers’ market and my farm box produce is equivalent. Once I added eggs to my farm box and they tasted just like the brown eggs that I buy at Trader Joe’s.

– Some of the produce is weird or too fussy. What’s the point of a baby artichoke? Too much work for too little yield. And once I got flowering rapini which I thought was going to be like broccoli rabe but it wasn’t. Watermelon radishes are gorgeous but kind of bitter. And I’m just not into guavas – way too many seeds.

– Sometimes this happens:

20140514-174908.jpg

Turnips? Beets? Watermelon radishes? You tell me what these things are!

So stay with the CSA or quit? I think I’ll stay for now, at least through summer fruit season. Then the jury’s out.

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