If you’ve been a regular reader of this blog then you are well aware that this past year Eric and I joined a CSA for the first time. I have been wanting to join a CSA for a while, but the timing was never right. When we moved to Philadelphia I knew it was the time to join one and after some research we settled on one. We received a lot of questions about our CSA so I thought a post answering those questions would be beneficial to all. Unfortunately winter is not really CSA season, so I will be sure to post a reminder in the springtime when they start up again and when we join ours again.
Ok so what is a CSA? Well CSA stands for community supported agriculture, and it’s sort of like a vegetable subscription. It’s a mutual relationship/support system between local farmers and community members who pay the farmer a membership fee and in turn receive a weekly share of the harvest. It’s a great opportunity to support your local farms and in return receive fresh, local and usually organic vegetables.
Cost, produce, length, etc. will all vary based on which CSA you choose, so for this post I will talk about Lancaster Farm Fresh, since that’s what we used.
Our CSA lasted 28 weeks, and from checking the Web site it seems like the 2011 season will last 25 weeks. That’s a really long time!
Lancaster Farm Fresh offers two sizes, the full share and the half share. Eric and I weren’t really sure which size to pick since we eat a lot of produce, but we ultimately decided on the half share. The half share was PLENTY for two people.
Lancaster Farm Fresh delivers all around the Philadelphia area and is expanding to NYC and D.C. Click here for pickup locations. We were able to pick up about 3 blocks from our apartment, which was very convenient.
The cost for a full share is $700 and the cost for a half share is $425. I think the 2010 cost was slightly higher, but probably because it was 28 weeks, and 2011 is only 25. But by taking that information, the half share breaks down to $17/week. For local, organic vegetables for two people!
When the share first started I actually did a price comparison with the produce and Whole Foods (because that is where we do our shopping) and we were definitely saving a lot of money. I never felt like we weren’t getting our money’s worth.
There are a ton of reasons you should participate in a CSA:
Eat more fresh food. There was a huge taste difference in the vegetables we received versus vegetables from the store. Our CSA veggies were amazing, especially the carrots!
Eat seasonally. It was awesome to really learn which veggies were in season at which time. I had no idea that there were two lettuce seasons.
Eat new vegetables.
My only complaint was about our CSA was in the beginning when it was mega lettuce seasons and we were receiving so much lettuce. I have never been so sick of lettuce, ha. But you just roll with it, and after a week or two we got a lot more variety.
If you have any questions please let me know! Eric and I both loved it so much and are now huge supporters of CSAs. Everyone should join one and support local agriculture.