Thursday, April 8, 2010

CSA: $15 a week for lots of organic produce

I don't know about you....but I absolutely LOVE fresh fruit and veggies. They are so tasty!! The homegrown veggies and fruits are my favorites....they remind me of my grandparents and they taste so yumtastic!  Organically grown produce taste so much better than the ones that have been grown with chemicals.  The process of growing veggies without all of those chemicals is so much healthier also!!!

UNFORTUNATELY fresh Organic produce is just not readily available for many folks because we can't afford to pay the higher prices for the produce.  There are occasionally some fantastic sales but for the most part you pay more for organic.
Before I began extreme couponing...we ate salads occasionally and my daughter ate canned or frozen fruits and veggies. Once in a while I sprang for some fresh but not like i'd love to be able to. Now I do spring for the fresh stuff because I can afford it since I get everything else so cheap.  I shy away from organic produce unless the price is incredible. Well I found a solution courtesy of Frugal in Franklin.  When I originally wrote this post a year ago, that was an active blog.  I don't think Becky blogs much anymore, I know she retired her blog and I totally understand her reasons but it made me sad.  She was such an interesting person!!

Well I am going to tell you how to get about a bushel of fresh organic produce for  roughly $15 a week!

Have you ever heard of a CSA? Me either!! CSA means community Supported Agriculture. According to the Delvin Farms website:
"Community Supported Agriculture is the basic principle of pairing local consumers who want fresh organic produce with local growers who want a stable and appreciative market for their produce. A group or "community" of consumers supports a local farm by purchasing, in advance, shares of that farm's next season's harvest. The farmer grows organic produce for this community and divides the harvest among shareholders."

I found this page of CSA's available in the Nashville area. I had never heard of a CSA until June but I spent a long time thinking about it since then. There are so many great points to this...
  • $15 for a ton of fresh produce each week.
  • Your health should improve as you are now eating lots of fresh fruits and veggies
  • You might lose a few pounds by substituting fresh fruits and veggies for higher calorie foods.
  • You get to try new foods without spending a fortune for them.

 According to the Delvin Farms website here are some of the advantages to using a CSA:

  • All produce is Organically grown, which means no pesticides and no herbicides
  • Produce that tastes better because it is straight off the farm and only hours old.
  • Weekly distributions of quality produce such as broccoli, cabbage, green onions, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, radishes, lettuces, tomatoes, bell peppers, a variety of hot peppers, squash, zucchini, eggplant, kale, melons, and Irish potatoes, turnips, kale, collards, beets, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, turnip greens, sweet and hot peppers.
  • Supporting local farming business, which in turn brings more money to local community.
  • Knowledge of where your food comes from.
  • Developing a mutual trust and friendship with a farmer.
  • You can actually get locally grown produce that is grown organically for basically 15.00 a week!!!!

In my research I found two farms I want to participate in CSA's for. One has a winter CSA and the other has a Summer CSA. The winter CSA runs from November till April. the full season would be $700.00 which is a full bushel box every other week and i'm not sure I can eat that much even with 4 other people eating!!
I am going in for a half share which is a little over half a bushel box every other week for 24 weeks. So that amounts to 12 half bushels of veggies and fruits. (Includes berries too!!!!) That will cost me $400.00 which is a large up front cost and man...that hurts initially! But then you realize it works out to $15.00 a week which is reasonable.

The Winter CSA is through Bountiful Blessings.
Their CSA information from their website:
Our goal is for each box to contain the following "staples" of the winter diet:

Salad greens (mainly lettuce, with spinach and others in smaller quantities)
Irish Potatoes
Sweet potatoes or winter squash
Alliums (either garlic, bulb onions, leeks, shallots, or scallions)
Brassicas (either Brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower or broccoli - with emphasis on broccoli)
A "mess" of cooking greens (either kale, collards, Swiss chard, turnip or beet greens, etc.)
Herbs - at least one variety (parsley, chives, cilantro, thyme, oregano, dill)

Then we plan to include items from the following groups on a rotating basis:
Root crops (beets, rutabagas, turnips, radishes, etc.)
European greens (endive, escarole, radicchio, arugula, mache, claytonia, cress, sorrel etc.)
Asian Greens (Chinese cabbage, pac choi, tatsoi, mizuna, komatsuna, mustard, etc.)
Misc. (kohlrabi, fennel, etc.)
Raspberries (fall)
Strawberries (spring)
We hope to have extra produce so you can order additions to your basic box

The summer CSA is through Delvin farms. Again I would be going with a half share which is half a bushel box every other week for six months. (kind of nice!) this works out to $15.38 a week

From the Delvin Farms website:
The vegetables and fruit you can expect in the spring include strawberries, broccoli, cabbage, green onions, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, radishes, and lettuces. Summer will bring blueberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, a variety of hot peppers, squash, zucchini, eggplant, kale, melons, and Irish potatoes. Fall crops include turnips, kale, collards, beets, tomatoes, sweet potatoes, cabbage, turnip greens, sweet and hot peppers.

This is my plan. Now i just have to find a way to earn $800.00!!!
Still confused as to why I would spend this kind of money on vegetables? Please read Becky's post in Frugal in Franklin about why a frugal person would pay $700.00 for vegetables.

Just an update since I posted this originally last July/August...I do NOT have the money saved so am not participating currently.  Do any of you currently participate in one of these?


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