Is a CSA Right for Me?
All told, the magic of any CSA is eating and cooking with the season. I have found that CSA does not work for everybody. In my experience, these are the types of people for whom a CSA arrangement works:
- You cook from scratch: The number one reason people do not sign up for a second year in a CSA is because 'it's too much food.' We are constantly thinking about the right portions for any veggie in the box. For example, we will put in about a pound of beans (enough for a meal or two), but not some crazy amount just because we have a lot. If you aren't in the habit of cooking, look out because it just keeps coming. A lot of folks on the fence will sign up for every-other-week deliveries, so that would be eight deliveries over four months.
- You are a bit adventurous: We are always thinking about the right mix of crops to fill out the season. We make sure everybody receives the staples you'd expect like sweet corn, tomatoes, and green beans. These staples are 80% of the veggies we grow, but we do sprinkle in some items which you may not be familiar with like fresh fennel, herbs, and some greens. Sure, you will receive standard green leaf head lettuce, but one week you may get a pretty red oakleaf lettuce or red butterhead. I do want our members to 'live a little' and try some new things...this is part of the fun. We supply a good mix and we will never send out a box with only 'weird stuff.'
- You are committed to making it work: Being a CSA member isn't like joining the army; it's not that much of a commitment. However, a box is coming every week or every other week no matter what for four months and it needs somebody to take care of it. We don't want to leave veggies on your doorstep to wilt in the sun for three days because you are out of town. We simply ask that you pay attention and communicate so things work for everybody. You will receive an email from us each week and invitations to some events over the season, including the 'rules of the road' about returning your box (keeps some stuff out of a landfill) and other logistical details. We're pretty flexible and we simply ask that you make it work on you end.
- You are willing to share in the risks: The philosophy behind CSA is that both the farmer and the eater are sharing the risks of the season together. We haven't missed a weekly box in over ten years of being CSA operators, but there is always the risk that a tornado will hit the farm and we're out of commission for the season. This is a risk we take together. Members are our insurance policy. If the growing season is good, you receive greater abundance than if the growing season is bad. We can't control mother nature.