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 Post subject: CSAs
PostPosted: Mon Oct 25, 2010 11:46 pm 
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I've contemplated joining a CSA but have some concerns. I like to cook and tend to use cookbooks to guide what I eat each week. For those who like to cook, is getting food through a CSA limiting?


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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:37 am 
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I haven't found it limiting - the opposite, in fact. Most things I've gotten have been things I'd buy anyways, so I haven't felt my cooking change much, and the things I'm not as used to are a fun challenge. I end up looking up vegetables in the indexes of my favorite cookbooks and trying recipes I hadn't really given a thought to before.

I split a smallish share with my roommate, so I never feel like I'm flooded with vegetables. I think if it really felt like a challenge to get through everything, I wouldn't like it as much. Do you have any other specific questions/concerns? In addition to subscribing to a CSA, I used to work at a CSA farm.


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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:51 am 
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Saggy Butt
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i agree, i found the exact opposite! we're in our fourth year of csaing & i definitely know about lots more vegetables than i did before. it is a fun adventure to find ways to use up the new vegetables that i would never have thought about buying otherwise.

you can always sub the crazy new vegetables from your csa for the more familiar vegetables in the cookbooks you like, too. just because it calls for spinach doesn't mean you can't use calalou or rainbow chard or crysanthemum leaves or whatever crazy green your csa gave you!


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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 2:10 am 
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radish sandwich wrote:
I end up looking up vegetables in the indexes of my favorite cookbooks and trying recipes I hadn't really given a thought to before.


I do this too. It's often just what I need to get out of a cooking rut.

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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 6:57 am 
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blizzful wrote:
I've contemplated joining a CSA but have some concerns. I like to cook and tend to use cookbooks to guide what I eat each week. For those who like to cook, is getting food through a CSA limiting?


Ok - looks like I'm going to be the wet blanket here. First off, let me say I think it's a great experience and I agree with the other posters that it will definitely open you up to new veggies and recipe ideas and it's awesome to support local growers!

We did a CSA this year with an accompanying fruit share (Tuesday pick up,) and I found it hard to plan menus for the week when in many cases you only have a few hours' notice before pick-up. I thought I'd be saving money but as I got the veggies I'd say to myself, "Wow, I need some ___ to go with this..." and I think I ended up buying just as much or more at the supermarket. I'm probably totally anal-retentive but if I don't have a little lead time to plan shopping trips and menus for the week, I end up totally spazzing out when it comes time to make meals.

While I don't for a minute regret the experience, next year I probably will support these same farmers at our local farmers' market so that I can better plan for what we are eating during the week. When the kids are a little older and self-sufficient I might be able to take a little more time to be spontaneous but for right now, we'll go the farmers' market route.

I think you should definitely give it a try, though. The worst that can happen is you'll be overrun by veggies! Really, the only way you'll know for sure if it works for you is if you jump in and do it! Good luck!


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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:47 am 
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This was our second year with a CSA. I love it, but I'm pretty bad about using cookbooks precisely. I substitute in the best circumstances so with the CSA and changing vegetables I just wing it. But I have found new recipes that I wouldn't have tried without the CSA forcing me to by giving me veggies I never buy.

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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:58 am 
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Mine is coming to an end now. We have one more week. I loved having it. It really expanded my diet. I tried some new things that I never would have otherwise.


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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 9:07 am 
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I work at farmers' markets so I don't get CSAs, but I think they are really great. It helps people to expand what they will eat and you can find a small farm that you feel really good supporting!

I rarely go to the grocery store and if getting a CSA will help you to support local food then I think you should go for it. If you already are shopping at farmers' markets then it is great to support your farmers there, OR you can start looking at what each farmer offers and see what items of food you like and see if they have a CSA program.


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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:04 am 
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Saggy Butt
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elsa1028 wrote:
I found it hard to plan menus for the week when in many cases you only have a few hours' notice before pick-up.


well, this certainly varies with the csa -- some are better at giving advance notice of the week's share than others! also, you could always put a little lag into your planning, right? like, on the day you get your new veggies, you finish up the last week's share & plan your new week. though i get that tuesday is not an ideal day for that! our pick-up is at the end of the week, which i never really thought about before but seems like a much better time than the beginning of the week.


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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:49 am 
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We CSAed for the first time this year and we loved it. Our pick up day was on Tuesday but, since I shop on Thursday, it didn't really interfere with my meal planning. In fact, it helped.

Our CSA is a bit different than others I have seen. Our produce is from 9 different farms in the area. So, while we would get an email on Monday night informing us what we should be getting, we didn't always get exactly everything listed in the email. We never were shorted items but sometimes there was a substitution. Often, we actually received more items than were listed. In the beginning, our share was small - maybe 6 items. On average, though, we received about 8 things each week and sometimes 10 or more.

This is our last week and we should be getting:

Cabbage
Celeriac
Swiss chard
Sweet Potatoes
Herbs
Raspberries
Head Lettuce
Popcorn
Apples or Cider
Tomatoes
Sugar Pumpkin
1 quart frozen sweet corn

My husband loved it because we were really exposed to lots of things we might not have picked up on our own at the grocery store. I loved it because the quality was SO much better than the grocery store.

I would definitely recommend giving it a try.


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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 10:53 am 
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AndyDufresne wrote:
radish sandwich wrote:
I end up looking up vegetables in the indexes of my favorite cookbooks and trying recipes I hadn't really given a thought to before.


I do this too. It's often just what I need to get out of a cooking rut.


Yup!


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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:20 am 
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We have been part of a CSA for two years, and love it! Lucky for us, we have a Saturday pick up, so that helps with planning, but I love the diversity of veggies. Lots of things that we may not normally buy, and occasionally, things that we have never tried (arrowhead cabbage, anyone?).

I don't find the produce to be limiting at all- the best part is thinking up ways to use what we have, or even better, getting more familiar with certain cookbooks to find new and interesting recipes. Honestly, having 8 winter squash in the fridge has led me to seek out and try recipes I have not thought of before, or ones that I have wanted to try for ages but always put on hold 'until next week'.

Also, if this matters (and it should), the vegetables just *taste* amazing. Delicious and fresh and much better than what you might get at your local grocery.

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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 12:23 pm 
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Due to some strange weather this spring and summer, my CSA was very heavy on the greens (and parsley, inexplicably) - this has been great for me. Having the greens already paid for and in my fridge is exactly the incentive I need to USE them.

As far as menu planning goes, I typically don't plan too far in advance. A couple days at most. This allows for plenty of flexibility come Monday. (This week: three types of chard, endive, parsley, and a stir fry mix of mini-squash, snow peas, and some green I've never heard of.)


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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 1:57 pm 
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How do CSAs usually work as far as getting you the product? Do they ever deliver? I really like the idea of it, but I don't have a car, and the ones I've looked into have mentioned pickup. I'm sure it varies.

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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 7:18 pm 
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kara kara wrote:
How do CSAs usually work as far as getting you the product? Do they ever deliver? I really like the idea of it, but I don't have a car, and the ones I've looked into have mentioned pickup. I'm sure it varies.


sometimes, though it might not be to your house -- that kind of stuff really varies. or you could split a share with someone who can go pick it up & give you your half?


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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 8:47 pm 
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So I used to have a CSA share, and I LOVED it. I really enjoyed the challenge of figuring out how to use all of the produce I got, and it introduced me to a lot of vegetables I hadn't had before. It was great when I was a grad student and didn't necessarily have the time/energy to go to the farmer's market every week.

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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Tue Oct 26, 2010 11:24 pm 
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I joined a CSA for the first time last year and I loved it. Like most people have already said, it introduced me to vegetables I wouldn't have thought to buy at the farmer's market. I don't really meal plan though, but when I got the CSA, I would mentally make a list of stuff that I could make with the vegetables I got in my share that week (like kale could go into spaghetti, butternut squash could be roasted for a brown rice salad, etc.)

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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:17 am 
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Quote:
I thought I'd be saving money but as I got the veggies I'd say to myself, "Wow, I need some ___ to go with this..." and I think I ended up buying just as much or more at the supermarket.


This sound like something that happens to me.

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences. I think I'll hold out on subscribing to a CSA and visit the MANY farmers markets around me.


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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 12:58 am 
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I've been getting one for a few months and sometimes I really like it, and other times I want to cancel. Sometimes they send me so much of the same stuff time after time and I get sooooooo sick of it. I don't end up buying much produce at the grocery store because of it, which is nice. For example, last week I got three bunches of cilantro and the biggest bag of beans I've ever seen, and it was just hard to use up on my own! I ended up freezing the beans and sadly had to compost one of the cilantro bunches as I didn't get to it before it went bad.

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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 7:30 am 
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kara kara wrote:
How do CSAs usually work as far as getting you the product? Do they ever deliver? I really like the idea of it, but I don't have a car, and the ones I've looked into have mentioned pickup. I'm sure it varies.


mine doesn't deliver. we pick it up. it's about a half hour walk to get there, but we time it so that we can catch the bus on the way back when we have all our stuff! i guess it depends on where you live, but if you don't have a car hopefully you can find one that's walking distance. ours is totally worth it although we wont be getting a winter share because that walk would be a little brutal in the snow.

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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Wed Oct 27, 2010 8:38 am 
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blizzful wrote:
.
Quote:
I thought I'd be saving money but as I got the veggies I'd say to myself, "Wow, I need some ___ to go with this..." and I think I ended up buying just as much or more at the supermarket.


This sound like something that happens to me.

Thanks everyone for sharing your experiences. I think I'll hold out on subscribing to a CSA and visit the MANY farmers markets around me.

i just realized you were in oakland! when/if you do decide to get a CSA i would go with shooting star csa. their farm is in fairfield, so it is a very local program. they have excellent produce, carrots, beets, tomatoes, peppers, padrons, onions, etc. i know they go to jack london square on sundays if you want to check them out. it is also owned and operated by a really sweet young couple that just got into farming a couple years ago.

terra bella is located in pleasanton, they are pretty good, lots of peppers and tomatoes, not sure if they have much else.

tomatero is a really great farm, lots of greens, tomatoes (duh), beets, basil, turnips, strawberries, etc.

i also love fifth crow farm and blue house farm. they are both located in pescadero, i am not sure if they make drops in the east bay though. both of those are also run by young people. i have been to blue houses farm, it is really an incredible place.

everyone that i listed is organic!


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 Post subject: Re: CSAs
PostPosted: Wed Nov 17, 2010 1:02 am 
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Thanks for all the advice and recommendations. I decided to subscribe to Shooting Star CSA. I received my first box today. Beautiful.


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