Tuesday, August 24, 2010

One Small Green Change: Buy a CSA Share!

My Small Green Change for August is to buy a CSA (Community Sustainable Agriculture) share of vegetables for the summer. The way a CSA works is that you buy a share of a farmer’s food crops for the summer. Every week you get a selection of that week’s harvest.

My CSA is extra special because it’s the only one in the city that delivers. Every week Blitzkrieg turns inside out with excitement when our delivery comes to the door. Here his is with our first delivery. Being such a good dog, he excitedly sniffed around the crate but didn’t attempt to help himself to a few samples. Blitzkrieg was rewarded handsomely for his good behavior.

It’s like Christmas every week!

It’s the laziest way to eat seasonally and buy fresh vegetables. I always have the best of intentions of buying all of our summer produce from the farm market but summer activities and life usually gets in the way. I end up buying it at the regular grocery store.

Does buying a CSA share save me money on fresh fruits and vegetables? Well, no. It’s a luxury, especially with my CSA because I pay extra the delivery service.

Look at all of this gorgeous farm fresh produce!

I like that our CSA share is making us eat outside of our comfort zone. We tried kohlrabi for the first time and loved it raw, dipped in hummus, and stir fried. I made kale chips, borscht, and Tadzhik sauce for the first time too. I developed a great orange summer squash bread to deal with the summer squash. Husband successfully prepared okra that was not breaded or fried or slimy mush like we find in frozen okra. I made my first batch refrigerator pickles with the cucumbers and banana peppers.

We still swimming in banana peppers. If you have any ideas for them, I'm open to any and all suggestions!

We have not had any food waste, which was a concern. To make sure that doesn’t happen, I freeze the previous week’s delivery if we haven’t eaten it or have plans for it when our new delivery arrives. I hope that this will even the cost out a bit since I’m stretching our summer vegetable delivery past summer

Another benefit is that it’s cut down on the number of grocery shopping trips I do each month. We do a smallish grocery store trip once a month for staple items with milk runs in between. This is a nice time saver because you never know what fun activity is going to come up on grocery shopping day.

The biggest benefit is how it reduced my household trash and recycling. I saved up all of my plastic trash for a week and only had four items!

A fruit sticker, cheese wrapper, and bottle of Tahiti.
My Plastic Free Life would be proud!

Will we keep our CSA next year? I don’t know. It is a lot of food for two vegetable loving people. But it forces to eat seasonally, and try new things which we both like. Fortunately, we have a whole year to decide if we want to give it go again next summer.

What about you? Have you ever bought a CSA share? What was your experience?