Have you ever considered joining a CSA or Community Supported Agriculture group? Typically, different farmers will set up CSAs where you purchase “shares” for a set monthly rate and in return receive a certain amount of fresh, seasonal produce delivered to a central location once a week or every other week. We have considered joining one many times and would still like to do so.
Today’s post comes from a someone who has done just that! Jennifer M. is an accomplished attorney, marathon runner, and cat lover (hey, Penny, Tempe, and Gannon). She also loves crafting and scrapbooking and is incredibly creative. I’m so excited to hear about her experience with a CSA!*
What it’s like to get a CSA Box
My husband and I have been a member of Urban Acres co-op for almost a year now. I was hesitant to join at first, and had lots of questions. I wondered what if I don’t like what is in the box; or what if we can’t eat all the produce; or what if I need other produce items for the meals I’ve planned for the week?
After picking a friend’s brain about her experiences with Urban Acres I decided to jump in. One of the big selling points about Urban Acres (for me) was that they offered half shares – a much more manageable amount of produce for our family of two. Urban Acres also offers the option to add eggs to your basket.
When I go to pick up my box, I can select it from the other half-share boxes that haven’t been picked up yet. (So, for the best selection, get there early!) For example, there can be slight variations in the number of apples vs. oranges in a box, depending on exactly how many apples and oranges the local farmers were able to deliver for example, so if you like apples better, take the box with an extra apple! However you chose your box, make sure to inspect all the produce to insure it is all in good shape. (When I have to have a friend pick up our produce her cat Lily makes sure everything gets an extra special inspection)
While there have been some vegetables in our box that I’ve never heard of, those have been few and far between. Generally, I have at least heard of the produce items, and have tried the majority of them even if I’ve never prepared them myself. Each week a day or two before pickup Urban Acres sends a “What’s In Your Share” email with links to detailed descriptions of the produce and some recipes.
Here are pictures from our most recent share, which included oranges, grapefruit, broccoli, onions, potatoes and a number of greens, including an Asian green that was completely unfamiliar to me!
Over the past year, we have found some produce items we don’t like at all (collard greens) no matter how I prepare them, some items we love when prepared a certain way (kale baked into chips) and some items we absolutely love (fresh summer tomatoes – supermarket tomatoes don’t even come close). Occasionally we don’t get everything eaten before it goes bad – there was a definite learning curve the first couple of months! – but, generally we get at least a taste of everything prepared.
Over all, we have really enjoyed getting a CSA produce box. Not only do we eat more produce, we get much higher quality produce that what we would find at most grocery stores, and we’ve found things we like that we probably would not have discovered otherwise. So, if you have been considering joining a produce co-op, I say go for it!
Thanks to Jen for an informative and inspiring post. I loved hearing about how much she enjoys being a part of a CSA and the challenges and rewards of getting a share of produce.
Want to read more about experiences at the Farmer’s Market or a Ranch? Check out this post or this one.
*DISCLAIMER: none of the products referenced herein were provided for promotional consideration to Jennifer or to Inspired Healthy Organized and were all purchased with personal funds. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and are not intended to promote a specific CSA but rather the experience of a CSA in general. There is no affiliation or sponsorship with Urban Acres.