My Review of French Prairie Gardens CSA

I have never done a CSA – Consumer Support Agriculture. The biggest reason is everyone tells you that you will get so many veggies you won’t be able to eat them all. Early on my kids weren’t big veggie eaters, so it didn’t make sense. Now it’s changed and they eat a lot.

The other reason is because you are bound to get things you don’t know what to do with. I am pretty adventuresome now and will try about anything.

I did a lot of research and unfortunately it really comes down to which ones are the closest and have the best drop off location. I narrowed mine down to 2 different ones.

I paid $18 a week for mine. This is my review of French Prairie Gardens CSA.

Week 1

2 small bags of lettuce and a bag of spinach. For our family of four, the salad was gone in 2 meals.

2 containers of strawberries

1 beet, yep 1 lonely beet

4 radishes

asparagus-enough for 2 meals (not larger servings, but I made it last)

I called to ask them a quick question and while I had them on the phone I asked if they were still off to a slow start because of the weather. She SNAPPED back “we gave you $22 worth of food!” Apparently they pick their strawberries by hand…doesn’t everyone??

So not off to a good start. We had to supplement with grocery store veggies. Pretty much everything was gone in 2 meals.

Week 2

Barely 1 meals worth of asparagus

2 pints strawberries

small bags of lettuce. It would have been cheaper and we would have gotten more at the farmers market or at the local grocery store, Haggen, buying locally grown lettuce.

radishes

big bunch of rhubarb – I don’t know what to do with this, so I froze it.

1 lonely beet again. Should have saved the one from last week.

We supplemented with the farmers market. We purchased a pound of giant sugar snap peas that were amazing and a bunch of baby carrots. They were each $3. Eating them with nearly every meal they lasted a whole week, but our kids were gone that week.

Week 3

2 sticks of rhubarb – what does one do with that little? At least I can add it to last weeks.

small bags of lettuce

17 snow peas. Why did I count? Because there were so few.

sugar snap peas, barely more than 17, but I couldn’t make myself count, I couldn’t face the disappointment.

3 pints of strawberries

Supplemented with the farmers market again. While at the farmers market I saw a friend who had 2 bags full of veggies and paid $7.50.  I looked at my husband and said she got way more than us.

Week 4

Finally we have started to hit the CSA jackpot.

6 containers of amazing strawberries

a whole head of lettuce

a very small bag of spring greens

a huge bag of snow peas and sugar snap peas

I have skipped a few weeks, because things were fine. We were getting a decent amount of stuff, but I have had to supplement every.single.week with food from the Farmers Market.

Week 8

Green beans – enough for one meal for my husband and I

Walla walla sweet onions – 3 tiny ones. 2 went into the greens beans

small bag of spring greens. Not quite enough for our family of four, will supplement with Farmers Market

2 containers of Blackberries

2 containers of Blueberries – they do have amazing blueberries

2 small heads of broccoli. One was so filled with aphid it was completely gray on the inside. I tried to clean it out before my family saw. Ended up doing a number on the poor broccoli. When that didn’t work I blanched it, which I was bummed about because I wanted it raw. Still tons of aphid, so I finally threw it out.

This one wasn’t nearly as bad as the others. I didn’t take pictures of the other one, because in trying to get the aphid out I mutilated the broccoli. That’s when I tried blanching them. You can tell by the color of the broccoli that this one was blanched and those dead aphid still held strong.

I sent them an email telling them It was full of bugs, and when I say full I mean the whole inside was gray, and here is their response ::

Hi Amy,

Feel free to soak the broccoli in salt water upside down, or blanch it and
then rinse it with warm water.  We chose not to spray our broccoli and this
year has been a tough one for aphids.  Last week’s broccoli was grown in our
greenhouse, which is the reason why there wasn’t any bugs.  I apologize, but
you can still use it!  It just means we didn’t use any pesticides on the
veggies.

Thanks!

I tried the blanching and you can still see the bugs. I emailed them back and said I had to throw it away, and they never responded back.

My dad is a farmer so I know how bad aphid can be. But my dad had to make sure his stuff wasn’t loaded with aphid or he couldn’t sell it. Unfortunately when you prepay you don’t get the luxury of not getting bugs. (since this I have checked all the broccoli from the Farmers Market, even organic farmers, and no one was selling broccoli that was infested with bugs.)

Not gonna lie, I am so done with CSA. I wish I could get my money back and just buy from the Farmers Market, it’s so much cheaper.

Week 9 & 10

Still slim pickings. For the most part we still pick up our CSA by 4pm on Wednesday and by Friday it’s all gone. So on Friday I run to the Farmers Market, spend $10-$15 and that holds me the rest of the week.

During week 10 I got so few green beans I had to add them to a bunch I had picked up else where in order to make enough for our family. The bunch they gave me was enough for maybe 2 people.

The peaches (4) we got from them were amazing. Those only lasted a few days longer because they had to ripen. What a treat they were though. (And they were the only ones we got all season.)

Other than that pretty lacking still.

Week 11

I went to pick up my veggies today and ran into a lady who did it last year. She said last year there were nearly 20 people doing it and this  year only 5. Hmmm, sounds to me like it was similar last year and many people chose not to do it again.

This week I got carrots, 2 pints of blue berries, a pint of black berries and a big bag of yukon gold potatoes. Also another small container of tomatoes, cucumber and it said zucchini, but I don’t remember if it was in there.  I eat so much zucchini that 1 wouldn’t even make enough for a meal.

This week the potatoes and tomatoes made it through the weekend because we were gone and no one cooked. The rest was gone within days.

I am now officially used to the disappointment.

The few weeks in between were just ok. We had enough to last for a few days. I still supplement with the farmers market.

Week 13

This week was definitely better and even the newsletter said “Mother Nature is coming on strong and we finally have some great produce coming on!”  They couldn’t admit it earlier….

Anyways I got a very small container of blueberries, it lasted about 1 hour. More of these great blackberries, more tomatillos, and I have learned to make amazing salsa verde, if I do say so myself. A few small roma tomatoes, green beans (I picked out of my garden and added to what they gave us to make enough for 1 meal), bell pepper, the worlds smallest cabbage (about 3 inches around), ananheim pepper, yukon gold potatoes (not enough for a meal), and a cucumber.  Because I don’t know what to do with some of the stuff, it will last a little longer. It was all good, and definitely lasted longer than 2 days.

I did supplement with the farmers market again this week and I picked up some tomatoes at a stand 8/$1.

DONE

Well I finally made it to week 18 and we are officially done, and I couldn’t be happier. I quit writing down weekly reviews because it was just so disappointing. I never made it a whole week without having to buy elsewhere.

We got corn the last 3 times and it was pretty good. The cabbage was never bigger than 3 inches across and it was spicy like radishes, not sweet.  We did get some winter squash. The one they gave us was on sale at Fred Meyers this week for 50¢ each.

I ended up with so many Anaheim peppers. A few are fine, but I had a lot in the last 4 weeks. More than I could ever cook with. We got some tiny little apples the last few times that were really good.

I also talked to friends that had done CSA’s through other farms and they were happy and had tons of veggies and paid nearly the same as me.

Overall I was truly disappointed. After this experience I may never do a CSA again.

Anyone else disappointed or did I just choose poorly?

Moral of the review ::  Plant my own garden again!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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