A CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) is basically when you have a share in a farm. You pay a weekly (or biweekly or even monthly) fee and you get a bunch of produce delivered to your door! Although some CSAs only offer pickup, boooo! I'm lazy so delivery or bust, sorry bout it.
I only have experience with Farm Fresh To You, so let me break down the pros and cons of this particular service.
- You don't have to go to the store for produce!
- You can build your routine around a fixed delivery day, no more guesswork.
- Everything is organic, (this is usually the case with most CSAs).
- Having all this produce delivered almost forces you to eat healthy, since you need to eat it before other less perishable items that tend to be less healthy.
- You can customize what you get from the comfort of your own home (most CSAs will allow you to this as well).
- You can skip deliveries when you travel and then pick back up when you return.
- They offer other items such as eggs, dairy, pantry items and more so you don't have to go to the store for anything really. Except meat, if you eat meat.
- Sometimes they don't have the particular item that you want, or they run out. (I usually go to the farmer's market to supplement if they don't have a particular item I really want).
- Prices vary, sometimes they are more expensive than the store/farmer's market other times they are cheaper. It's not so consistent.
- If they mess up your delivery (this has happened to me once) then your whole week's food is kind of messed up too. Although customer service is usually great about reimbursing you.
- If you order too much, get unexpectedly busy or eat out more than usual the produce can go to waste before you get a chance to eat it.
- You usually can't pick which day they deliver or offer pickup in your area, which doesn't bother me but I can see it being an inconvenience for people with more rigid schedules.
Here's a peek into how they pack the boxes:
Here's all the produce out of the box and also my chihuahua, Primo, begging with his beady little eyes:
Tips and Tricks
- If possible, as soon as you get your box and begin unpacking it, try to prep/or cook items right then and there to make it easier to use the foods throughout the week.
- Store the items in most visible place in your fridge or on your counter by perishability. Meaning, items that go bad first should be the most visible so you use them first.
- The more you prep up front, the more likely you will eat the produce which means the healthier you will eat!
- Keep a running list of the produce you have so that you know what you should eat and when.
- Think of dinners you plan to cook and snacks you want to have when making your order, don't just pick everything that looks good because you may end up with too much or too little produce.
- Pre-cook items that reheat easily like leafy greens, broccoli, green beans and soups (like cauliflower or butternut squash). Then when it's time to make dinner all you need to do is reheat the food in a pot or in the oven with virtually no prep-work.
- Prep items for easy cooking like peeling carrots so you can just grab them for snacking, or prepping green beans buy cutting the ends off in advance so all you have to do is throw them in a pan or skillet for dinner.
- Choose one day and time to do all this prep and pre-cooking so the rest of the week's cooking and snacking is quick and easy.
- Notice if you have left over produce when the next delivery arrives and try to cut back on your next order, or vice-versa.
Alright guys, well those are some of my thoughts on CSAs, at the end of the day I highly recommend them!