Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Do you use a CSA?




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AtlGirl
06-12-2009, 03:41 PM
Recently I've been very disappointed with my local supermarket's produce selection and began searching for local farmers' markets to visit. Instead, I found an interesting program here in North Atlanta called a CSA - Community Supported Agriculture program. Basically they visit local farms and choose seasonal produce, package it and once a week you come to the drop off point to pick it up. There are different size bags but the regular one this week offers:
Pluots 3 CT, Raspberries 1 CT, Cantaloupe 1 CT, Blueberries 1 CT Broccoli 1 CT, Carrots Rainbow or Patty Pan Squash 1 CT, Lettuce Redleaf 1 CT, Avocados 1 CT, Green Chard 1 CT, Pepper: Orange, Red or Yellow 1-2 CT for $29.99 (with the option of up to 2 substitutions).

It seems like a great deal and the produce has been getting rave reviews, but my biggest concern is planning your meals that week around the produce instead of planning the produce around your meals. If that makes any sense.

Does anyone use such a program? Do you find planning menus to be difficult?

Added side note...I have no idea what a pluot even is O.O


nelie
06-12-2009, 03:51 PM
I did a CSA last year and I loved it.

I thought it was a bit fruit heavy since we did a full share between my husband and I. We ate all the veggies but ended up freezing a lot of fruit (not a bad thing). I thought it was fun to design meals based on the veggies I got :)

This summer we resolved to travel more which means we would've missed out on quite a few pickups so we decided to just visit the farmers market and buy veggies there.

Pluot is a plum/apricot

festivus
06-12-2009, 04:49 PM
I just picked up my 2nd box last night! I love it. It forces me to try new things and have more variety in my diet. The quality is much better than the supermarket too. Mine is much more veggie heavy right now, the only fruit I have is strawberries. I don't really plan my meals around it, because the veggies are used as sides for the most part.


Gekster
06-12-2009, 05:42 PM
I started the CSA a few months back and love it! The produce is better tasting and you know it is fresher because it didn't travel thousands of miles to get to your supermarket. Mine is set up a little differently where they show all the available items and I chose what I want every week. There are usually different options for your CSA depending on what farms around you are involved in the program. But using it I've tried many fruits and veggies I never would have thought I would try before. Its really exciting. Normally they have a way that you can try it once before you subscribe to see if you like it. Good luck :)

mandalinn82
06-12-2009, 05:57 PM
I have done this in the past, and yes, it was hard to plan meals... BUT...it made me a much more adventurous cook. I'd never used so many of the things I received (particularly the winter veggies...kale! Beets and beet greens! Parsnips!) that I had to learn new cooking techniques to deal with them, and some are now favorites of ours that we incorporate on a regular basis. You have to be flexible, but it can really change how you cook forever.

Example - we got some beets, and I had no idea what to do. I'd heard of beet risottos and gave it a try. Not only was THAT good (so creamy with almost no fat! Amazing!), but it inspired me to try all other kinds of risottos...lemon risotto, butternut squash risotto, asparagus risotto...learning the method because I was forced to really expanded my culinary viewpoint. And expanded it to some TASTY places.

Newshinyme
06-12-2009, 06:11 PM
I have been looking into it recently. I thought the idea would force me to eat different vegetables than the ones on my usual line up. And it is a more sustainable way to go.
I found a few different options/providers and some do allow you to either choose from whats available, or marking your preferences to ensure that you get a package more to your liking.
Right now I live in an apartment building and will be moving soon, but it is something I will consider once I move.

AtlGirl
06-13-2009, 07:58 AM
Thank you all for the wonderful advice :)

My two main reasons for wanting to try it was that I prefer to buy locally organic (tastes better, better for you and helps the many local GA farmers) but also to get me to eat more veggie/fruits. I'm the type that is always overly cautious when trying something new and thought this would force me to step outside my comfort zone of hearty southern comfort food. The nice thing about my local CSA is that there are no commitments or fees so I think I really have no excuse but to try it!