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 Post subject: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:16 am 
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We sadly don't have any real farmers markets near our house but my husband & I were driving around about 20 mins away from our house in a more rural area & I saw a sign at a roadside farm stand advertising CSA crop shares!!!! I'm psyched at the idea but I also really don't know what it means!!!
I don't need to contribute any crops right since this sounds like you buy in?
I have to email them for pricing & info but in general do people find it more affordable than buying crappy grocery store produce??
I'm quitting my job soon so finances are a concern but I'd also much rather get quality produce & support a local farm.
Do you get to sometimes pick what you get or do you get what they give you?

Also it appears they raise their own animals for slaughter. This is making me feel icky but I'm also thinking its probably pretty typical of small local farms?

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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:23 am 
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You give the farmers money up front, they give you a box of produce every week (or two weeks, etc). You don't get to pick what's in it, you get some of whatever they're harvesting at the time.

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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:34 am 
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I hope it's not boxes of turnips! ;-)

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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 11:37 am 
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Yep, that's it. You're providing the upfront costs and you share in the risks. If there's a drought or crop failures your weekly share will be smaller or contain less variety. Most CSAs don't give you a choice in what you receive. Some years are great, but there was one year where my friend pretty much just got beets, beet greens, and winter squash.


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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:19 pm 
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Ask, though. With my CSA I am able to trade out 3 things each time.


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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 3:27 pm 
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Oh yeah, there is that... the CSA I used to be part of (which I loved) had a swap box where you could trade out stuff you didn't like with other people. That too is hit or miss of course, you gotta hope someone else doesn't like something you do like, but in my experience it mostly worked out...

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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:04 pm 
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their website says to email them for an info packet and pricing so i did that.
im sure it has the rules.

looks like the due a lot of different community food stuff. none of it applies to me be looks like they do a lot of this sort of thing. you can add farm eggs to your CSA, they have a meat buyer's subscription, and meat club (barf)

so yeah. im psyched to learn about the veggie part.

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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:45 pm 
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On the happy veggie side: Once a year they have a day or two when all members are invited to the farm for a tour and are treated to a farm fresh meal. The time I went they had vegan options and we could pick and eat strawberries right from the vine.


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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:57 pm 
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ermagherd!!! strawberries off the vine are sooooooo good :-D

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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:03 pm 
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we have a swap box, but the way ours works, if you don't get there to pick it at the beginning of the pick up window, the swap box ends up being 100% escarole by the end of the night.

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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 6:05 pm 
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Yes, all sun-warmed and sweet. All you can eat! It was a fun, memorable day.

Growing up there was a strawberry farm in my town and each year we would pick our own berries. I would get yelled at by the farmer for eating too many. They were irresistible!


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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:33 pm 
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bah! it costs $550 for a small harvest share plus a $50 new member fee.

bah bah bah.

they say it breaks down to about $25 a week. i think over the entire summer and into the fall it works out to be not a bad deal but i dont think we can afford to plunk down $600 up front (have to pay up front for a new member) this year.

maybe a different year i can jump into CSA adventures. :-/

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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:43 pm 
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You should ask them, even if it says you have to pay up front as a new member. Maybe you work something out! Maybe you can give them post-dated checks for a few payments or something. Definitely ask them and let them know how interested in it you are! In my experience, most CSAs really want people to join and supporting people who can't afford that much money up front is sort of part of the community aspect of community supported agriculture. The community is supporting the farm, but the farm is also supporting the community. Talk to them for sure.

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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 8:47 pm 
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that's a really good point. perhaps ill go have a chat with them see what they say.

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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sat Mar 02, 2013 9:02 pm 
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That's how much mine is. But they let you pay in two chunks to help. Maybe this one allows for that kind of thing, too? Really it seems like a lot to plunk down but then you don't have to buy veggies all summer and mine still puts out until late October.


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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 7:04 am 
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def go talk to them. when i was first involved in ours i got a discounted "work share" and my work was not in the fields, it was helping with distribution and delivery, there were other options as well. it's also good to talk to them and get a feel for what they are like as people (will they be pushing you to buy happy meat?), talk to them about what they grew last year and what their plans are for this year, and see what people said about them online about how they were last year. $550 is a lot of money and you don't want to pay just to find out that last year was all turnips and lettuce.

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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 8:10 am 
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torque has a really good point. Definitely see what other people have said about this CSA. A friend of mine ended up paying around $550 for hers that year she got nothing but greens and beets. It would have been cheaper for her to go to the store.

However, I know there are also some really good CSAs around me too that people really like.


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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 10:53 am 
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my husband and i discussed the CSA thing at length last night because he had found another one about hte same distance but in the opposite direction. theirs was $650 but they had a half share (every other week) for $350.
the $350 wasnt quite as good of a deal and then we just figured this year is a bad year for us. ill be leaving work at the end of April and having a baby sometime at the beginning of May so it may be a bit too much for me to be getting the hang of taking care of a newborn and also going out to the farm and picking up our share and then figuring out what to do with all the veggies.

or on the other hand it could be perfect but i dont want to sink $600 into something and then be crazed.

BUT now that i wont be working it will be SO MUCH EASIER for me to drive out there just to get veggies at their stand and get the lay of the land and the people and see what they are producing. previously driving 20-25 mins just to get veggies while working full time was a pain in the asparagus and we never did it even though we knew there were farms out there. now it will probably be a welcome adventure outside the house.
we do have a small roadside stand on the way to/from where the dogs go to training classes but it's pretty small and limited selection and no animals to pet.

the woman who emailed me back with the pricing and info was super nice and she said to go on facebook to their page to check out pictures from last years CSA they posted and also customers had posted and shared comments/reviews.

i was perusing their FB page and it looks like they do a lot of community oriented stuff and seems like i will be able to bring the kid to the farm to check out the animals and they do kid programs and stuff. so that is really cool. it's a few years down the line for us but im sure even babies will like to go look at all the animals and if they dont care well mom wants to go pet cows!!!

though that will eventually bring up the "why is Bessy my favorite cow from last year not at the farm this year mommy?" "oh that's because she's in someone's freezer now" :-(

thanks for all the info guys!

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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:00 am 
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My CSA farm has animals, but they are just pets! the meat you can get though my CSA comes from somewhere else, so it was kind of cool to see animals that I knew were just there to hang out.

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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:57 am 
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That's cool that you get to go to the farm. The one I do is in the city, so I don't get to see that. You're invited to go see it, but it's not part of the routine. For me it makes get veggies super easy because the pick up spot is just two blocks from my apartment. Then my regular trip to the store is just staple items for the pantry. It is sometimes a challenge to use some of the veggies (not a fan of giant rutabagas or celeriac roots) but usually I can trade for something I do want. I seem to be the only person that wants kale, so I can always trade for more kale.

Anyway, if you don't do it this year it sounds like something good for later.


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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 11:59 am 
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Mine has chillin' out animals too! And mine is a group of farms that work together to put some diversity in the boxes. It probably would be cheaper for me to buy imported and poor quality vegetables and fruits from the grocery store, but it's a nominal charge for big, beautiful, local, organic produce. And they managed to keep the winter months interesting: tonnes of different squashes, potatoes, beets, berries frozen from the previous year's harvest (smoothies!), kale, celeriac, onions, garlic, etc...which is pretty exciting for a Canadian winter.

The farms the stuff comes from are all around where I live, so I love the little updates from the CSA about how Kristin's leeks or Claudia's daikon are doing. And I always pray that Bob's celery is dying, but it appears nearly every week.


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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:06 pm 
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vijita wrote:
And I always pray that Bob's celery is dying, but it appears nearly every week.


ahahahaha that seriously made me laugh out loud.

i wish this farm had chillin out animals! im not sure it does though.
i know they raise their own angus beef because there is a whole big thing about it on their website and they have a "meat club" and they even had a "meet what you eat" event.
im like half and half between what i think about that.

on the one hand the vegan in me DOES NOT understand how you can go and learn about the process of raising cows and then slaughtering them and not think it's horrifying but on the other hand i have to say people eating locally raised and slaughtered animals is a step way above factory farming. i mean i dont believe the myth of the "happy cow" but its' better than factory farmed tortured shiitake.

i saw a picture of what im 99% sure is an alpaca on their website so i dunno. im not sure if they do stuff with whatever people do with alpacas (wool?) or if they have some hangin out animals

also i think i read some where that this farm also brings in produce from other local farms so they have an even wider selection.

at the very least me and BabyPunk can go get local vegs, support a local farm, and pet some farm animals. i figure i got a good 4-5 years before i have to answer the "mommy what happens to the cows?" questions

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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:11 pm 
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vijita wrote:
And I always pray that Bob's celery is dying, but it appears nearly every week.


I don't know what I would do with weekly celery! Uck.

I really want to hop on the CSA bandwagon. I've got loads of farmers markets and roadside farm stands around me, but I can only remember one CSA in previous years. I should get started looking since it's that time...

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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 4:14 pm 
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I've never had celery in a csa and I freaking love celery! Damn.

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 Post subject: Re: What's a CSA in a nutshell?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 03, 2013 5:42 pm 
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Two of my local CSA's sell produce at local markets. That is good for me because I don't live close enough to either to pick up weekly or bi-weekly. What they have varies greatly from what you would get because Florida' growing season is so weird.

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