Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Anyonne do CSAs? Community Supported Agriculture?

02-03-2011, 02:29 PM
In our new locale, the farmer's markets are "eh". They fill their CSA orders and what's leftover goes to the farmer's markets.

We're a family of 5 (really only four for this purpose as my 5 year old high functioning autistic son eats no vegetables and only a few fruits). But the rest of us eat a LOT of vegetables and fruit. In winter we go through 12 oranges and 30 apples a week. 4-5 green peppers a week, 2-3 pounds of green beans, 1 head of cauliflower, a quart of small tomatoes, 2 broccoli heads, a big bag of spinach and probably more.

So, never ordering from a CSA before, I'm having a hard time deciding if a full portion (family of 4 size) is too little or just right. I KNOW it's not too much. Anyone have experience with that?

My gut is saying for the first year to do one full portion and supplement the rest with the farmer's market. And the next year decide on our experience. But getting it right FIRST off would save us $.


02-03-2011, 02:37 PM
The size of a share varies from CSA to CSA. Usually, a sample week or two (or the current week's delivery) can be obtained either on the CSA website, or by calling or asking for a flier. That should help you to better gauge your needs.

02-03-2011, 02:56 PM
Size is what's hard. This is what one says:

How much food is in a share?
A full share is designed to be approximately 8 items, give or take a bit, sometimes more in the peak of the growing season. Sometimes a bit less in the slow season, yet we aim hard to provide 8 items for full shares, & 5 items for half shares each week.

What’s an item?
An item is an average purchasable portion, i.e. a head of lettuce, a bag of spinach, a cabbage, a bunch of carrots, a portion of tomatoes, a bunch of beets, a bunch of chard, a portion of peppers, a portion of squash, eggplant, broccoli, a melon, a hard squash, a bunch of basil, collards, kale etc.

Here is it what another says: NOTHING except that it's 4 shares. I would have to call to see.

And the third is JUST starting their CSA this year - for spring, for summer and for fall - $360 per season for a family of four... They give samples per week. i'll paste a few weeks to show: nope, can't paste. Better, he's a link:

02-03-2011, 02:59 PM
I would say that one share probably won't be enough given the examples you gave, but honestly, with CSAs, it's easier to supplement some. Since you don't have choice in what you get, sometimes you may need an additional ingredient to fill out your menu, or you'll have a hankering for something you can't make with what the CSA offers. In addition, sometimes the quantities they send are semi-small, not enough to make a full meal out of (so, for example, one dinner might be a salad that uses the head of lettuce, small portion of snap peas, and small portion of tomatoes that were provided).

02-03-2011, 03:03 PM
I guess we'll just try it this year and see how it goes. A head of lettuce is even vague. is it grocery store size (small) or typical farmer's market size (huge).

And such small quantities of a bunch of stuff seems odd. Like .75 pint of snap peas for a family of four, really? It looks like every night I would have to make two veggies as not one would be enough (unless potatoes). That's OK, just takes more time and planning.

02-03-2011, 03:51 PM
I am SO excited! I have signed up for a CSA for 2011. I had never hear of them until mandalinn suggested it on another thread months ago (THANK YOU! btw) It will start in May and go through November. It is veggies and some herbs. The way the one is that I signed up for, I will go pick up my box each week, but they will have more veggies out that I can purchase in addition. So you might be able to sign up for a share and purchase additional veggies each week?

They are also doing a bread share this year - so I will get a loaf of home made bread each week, too!