How to Choose the Best CSA For You

I have spent the afternoon looking through all the CSA’s in our area. Whew! It’s been a lot of work. You might be wondering why someone as frugal as myself and who loves to garden is “giving up” and choosing a CSA?

For those of you that don’t know, CSA is Community Supported Agriculture. You get a box of produce from them every week.

Last year the weather here was awful and I didn’t get hardly anything out of my garden. That and I don’t have a ton of garden space at my house. Our last house had a lot more space and I was able to make that space go over farther with growing things up. In this house we don’t have a big or good sun spot.

I will plant a few things for sure. I can’t have enough tomatoes or cucumbers, so you will still see a few tips and tricks from me this season. Plus lots of recipes from my new stash.

What to look for with a CSA (and I did my search in this order) ::

Where are they located and how close is the drop off location. There are many that have drop off points, but few have convenient drop off points. Once I found one that was close it made my list.

What is the price? And what is included in that price? I saw some as expensive as $950 for 20 weeks and as low as $365 for 18 weeks. The one I am looking at includes fruit and vegetables. I am very excited about that. It’s $410, with delivery, for 18 weeks.  That comes to about $23 a week. I was spending about that much last year at the farmers market every week. The interesting thing will be to see if I get more with the CSA or the market.

How do they grow their food? You will find that most, if not all, are organic and pesticide free. Figure out what is important to you and research it.

Do they offer any bonus pickings? The one I am probably going to go with offers a free Strawberry festival, with a bonus strawberry picking. Another one I am looking at offers a salsa time where you can pick 50lbs of tomatoes, onions, peppers and garlic.

Can they convince you they are the best? I called and told her I was looking around. Here’s what the competition is offering, now sell me on your farm. It was a beautiful thing. Very educated, honest and willing answer questions.

If you are interested in a CSA you need to start looking for one now as many, at least here, do sell out of shares quickly. The one I talked to today said I should have it confirmed no later than April or I might miss out.

Here is a great resource for you and your area!!

Have any of you used CSA’s? Were you happy?

photo courtesy of comprock@flickr

Trackbacks

  1. […] I can’t wait to really get into it, but for now this is a start. Although I can slack a little this year since I decided to get a CSA. […]