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CSA's

Jim Grinsfelder | Jul 25, 2003 10:52 AM

Are CSA subscriptions a chowhound-ish thing? CSA = Community Supported Agriculture, not Confederate States of America. How many of you subscribe to a CSA? If you are a subscriber, are you having a good experience? What do you like about your CSA? What do you dislike?

We subscribed. We're in our second year. Last year was a bad year - weather resulted in low yields, but this year is more than making up for it. We get a canvas bag full of vegetables every thursday. There's a pair of drop-points within 1 mile from our house. One drop off spot happens on monday, the other on thursday. I like thursday because I can use the fresher stuff when I do weekend cooking.

The food quality is, in some instances, superior to organic in grocery stores. The broccoli we had last night was amazing. Baby carrots that taste sweet, unlike those little orange bunny-luv cardboard pellets. I didn't think potatoes would taste better, but they do. Herbs are ok, but I'd rather use the ones I grow. The lettuces are good. Zucchini, fennel, and tomatoes have been decent. Corn is coming soon and that's a treat.

I think we get some benefits beyond the $/weight of vegetables. We tend to change our diet during the summer months to eat what comes in on Thursday. For four months, we eat more vegetables and less meat. We also eat more seasonally and locally during these months. Unfortunately, in Minnesota, eating seasonally seems to mean eating meat, fish, canned fruits and vegetables, dried grains and/or root vegetables from October through May.

It's also fun to go visit the farm. The kids love chasing the chickens and catching frogs. Our farmer is a middle-aged back-to-the-lander who fled Berkeley for rural Wisconsin. It's fun helping her with a little planting, weeding and harvesting. She hires local teens for serious work and has a couple of WOOFERS staying in a small bunkhouse or tents throughout the summer.

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