CSA - is it worth it?
But I am doing this post anyways.
For me, joining a CSA isn't about cost efficiency. It's about supporting a local organic farm that is practicing sustainable agriculture. It's about knowing where your food comes from, being able to meet the farmer and visit the actual working farm. It's about eating local food that is in season and gets to you fresh off the vine. So many nutrients are lost when produce is packed and shipped hundreds of miles to your grocery store.
That being said, this post is about cost efficiency. We spend close to $200 a month on CSA produce. We get a weekly produce box from Tanaka Farms and a biweekly citrus/fruit/avocado box from Farmer Steve (website soon!). I also supplement with the South Central Farmer's when needed.
We've been a CSA family for almost 3 years and we love it! Papa has been asking me to do a price comparison for a while now and although I tell him over and over again it's price comparable (and that it doesn't matter anyways) I thought I'd do an actual test to quiet his mind. It's not just him though, I am the coordinator for the CSA program at my daughter's school, so this question comes up a lot. I wanted to be able to say with certainty that yes, it's worth it.
For this test I am comparing our weekly vegetable/fruit box that we get from Tanaka Farms. We pay $30 a box...keep in mind that this is a school fundraiser and $5 from each box goes directly back to the school. If I were to order this same box straight from the farm it would only be $25. Everything is grown on the farm except the clementines and avocados (they come from another local organic farm that Farmer Tanaka works with) and the apples. The apples are organic Fuji apples and come from the USA, but are not always necessarily local. Here's what was in the box this week:
1 small head of cauliflower
1 large bunch of Swiss Chard
1 huge 5 lb cabbage
1 large head of red leaf lettuce
1 box of shelling peas (just over 1 lb)
1 box of strawberrries
Total=$30 ($5 goes to school)
So I packed up the kids and went to the local grocery store that has a good selection of organic produce. No, I did not take the time to drive to 5 seperate stores and find the best prices because a) it takes too much time and gas b) what's in the box is what's "in season" and should be a good price at any store.
I was asked to stop taking pictures of the produce, so I'll share the ones I got before I got "caught"!
3 avocados $1.69 each = $5.07
8 clementines $2.99 a lb = $2.99
Total=$36.22 (no $5 going to school)
Hmmm.....looks pretty good to me! I saved $6.22 plus I donated $5 to my daughter's school and I didn't have to make a trip to the grocery store. Ha!
Don't know where your local CSA program is? Try searching Local Harvest and join the CSA revolution.
Happy healthy eating!