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Ever join a farm CSA?

Post in 'The Inglenook' started by Adios Pantalones, Mar 5, 2013.

  1. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I've been thinking about joining a farm CSA.My only concern is that I have a decent garden, so I'm not sure if I need another 20# of tomatoes on top of the ones I'm growing. Any way around some of that? How much do they usually cost?

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  2. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    My wife was very interested in joining one last year... Many around here have waiting lists to get in, and we ran into the same issue... You need to be ready to eat nothing but kale for a month at times ;)

    One thing the farms suggested was to find another interested family and split a share. This is apparently very common.

    We are building our own garden beds this year instead...
    firebroad likes this.
  3. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    That's not a bad idea at all (splitting it). I got a pressure canner last year, which should help some
  4. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    I've been thinking about it for a few years. Our HMO even pays a big chunk of the cost for subscribing. But we have a big garden too, and the other negative for us is that we would have to drive about 30 minutes for pick-up.

    As an alternative, we are regulars at our local farmer's market. We also buy a quarter of a grass-fed Highland beef and free range eggs from a nearby farmer.
  5. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    If you already have a sizable and well producing garden, what is the advantage? I must be missing something here.
  6. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    Our garden is pretty basic. We have asparagus, tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, carrots. The CSA's that deliver to Madison and Baraboo have a lot of variety and over a longer part of the season than we've been able to attain. This is a sampling of what one of more popular CSA delivers.

    http://www.harmonyvalleyfarm.com/vegprograminfo.pdf

    That file also shows the cost which ain't cheap: $960 for 30 boxes, May to December.
    Adios Pantalones likes this.
  7. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I can see that. Even for somebody like me, that might not be a bad deal. I don't have time to do a garden properly. I plant and whatever survives gets eaten. And you are correct - it ain't cheap.

    Man - I could live happily retired right now.
  8. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    I like the idea, but a no go for me. $600.00 for full share around here June to Oct. As mentioned, l lots o' veggies I would probably not eat either. Local farm stand and farmers markets fill the void for corn and squash. We can get tomatoes, peppers and cukes from friends and family. I've been doing some checking on square foot gardening for our yard, maybe even vertical for peas, pole beans and even cukes.
  9. Mrs. Krabappel

    Mrs. Krabappel Minister of Fire

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    I consider it every year and decide against it. For those of you planning gardens, if you're on FB there's some cool ideas on the page Grow Food not Lawns
    Adios Pantalones likes this.
  10. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I get their updates. Lots of cool recycled verticals stuff.
  11. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I would love to be able to limit the size of my lawn. I am heavily considering foresting a 1.5 acre corner to start.
    rideau, Trickle and Mrs. Krabappel like this.
  12. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Never heard of such a thing. We have a farm market you can buy vegetables. Makes more sense to do that for me, buy what I need.
  13. granpajohn

    granpajohn Minister of Fire

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    Yes...based on my neighbor's experience. They did split it with another family too.
    The farm has you on the hook for the season, and that means you get the items they can't otherwise sell; and/or is in surplus.

    It reached a point where the kids almost refused to eat anymore.
  14. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones Minister of Fire

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    I do think it would only make sense if you have a big family, or are canning like mad.
  15. midwestcoast

    midwestcoast Minister of Fire

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    It just depends on the farm really. We did one in Chicago (Angelic Organics i think) that was pricey, but had good variety and a fairly long season. It was a bit too much veggies for us at the time. We were both working a lot...
    We now do a local one that is very well priced and just get a half share (way cheaper than organic at the grocery store). There is always a good mix in the bag, never just bushels of Kale. The early deliveries are heavy on greens & the later ones heavy on root vegetables, but that's kinda the point; eating what's in season. My wife likes finding recipes for what we get now, but it's an adjustment from just finding a recipe then buying ingredients. As for me I look at a veggie and ask: Can I grill it? If not, then: Can I put it in a Stir-fry? If not then it must be salad. :)
    We are novice gardeners with a small plot so we don't mind a bit of overlap. Enough with the Purslane though!
  16. Mrs. Krabappel

    Mrs. Krabappel Minister of Fire

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    Part of it is about supporting your local farmers by investing in their season and sharing some of the risk.

    I am am not so good at commitments::-) , and I have a small family. Picking up the box is also a challenge.

    But we could eat kale chips forever!
  17. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    Is $900ish a "normal" price? I spend about $1200 or so on groceries a year for 2 people.
  18. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    A friend and I do a huge garden with every imaginable vegetable except corn for way under $960 a year. We share some work and some seed/plants with another neighbor. Feed all three of our families, with extras to give friends and exchange with other friends who also garden. That way, if one of us has a less than stellar crop, the other can usually supplement it. Last year I got twelve gallon bags of beans, picking a neighbors crop after they had used all the beans they could freeze. Also got a half dozen nice butternut squash and some celery before mine was ready. I was heavy on pumpkins and moschata squash last year, but not butternut variety. Vegetables seldom go to waste, and when they do they enrich the compost. We have great salads, stir fries, soups, stews and casseroles, and vegetable lasagna, as well as plain old fashioned steamed vegetables, and the occasional special preparation or squash pie. If you have the sunlight, and the space, find a friend or two and share the work. You can easily produce a huge amount of food for very little if you don't buy into all the junk that various businesses try to sell you. A bale ot two of peat mix for starting plants, some straw for mulch, seeds (if you get OP seeds you can save them year to year), some manure and molasses and kelp and fish, good hoses and a sprinkler, drip hoses, a shuffle hoe, some trowels, a regular hoe, a fork and a spade, a watering can or two, and you are fine. Depending on your soil, maybe rock phosphate and greensand, bone meal and blood meal or manure. Large bags will last several years. Recycle containers for starting plants.
    We grow peas (snap, shell and snow), carrots of every color, 8 varieties of spinach, 8 varieties of summer squash and at least as many of winter, 6 or eight varieties of bush beans in all colors, 4 colors of pole beans and scarlet and moonlight runner beans, four or five varieties of cukes, three of broccoli, five of cauliflower, including orange, purple, white, and light green as well as traditional, chinese vegetables, five varieties of beets and beet greens, three varieties of chard, kale, mustard, radicchio, many lettuces, garlic, onions, leeks, celeriac and celery, sage, lavander, basil, parsley, borage, nasturtiums, calendula, camomile, egyptian walking onions, rhubard, red currants, kohlrabi, turnips, parsnips, brussell sprouts, green, red and orange peppers, mini peppers, 12 varieties of potatoes, purple and white cabbage, and about 30 varieties of tomatoes, apples, cherries, pears and plums, crabapples. We buy corn and sweet potatoes. Are going to grow eggplant this year. And maybe add strawberries and blueberries. I have lots of wild strawberries, red and black raspberries at my place. Really nice to be able to pick your dinner and eat it fresh. And frozen gets to the freezer o fast that it tastes fresh when prepared months later. We fill four six foot long freezers every year, as well as get all our vegetables fresh from May through November, and root cellar store potatoes, carrots and beets, as well as put up many vegetables, and prepare jellies and jams and applesauce and apple cider.

    A lot of work, but light going when shared. Gardening: self sufficient, and eat better and healthier. Wood burning: self sufficient and healthier and warmer. Both save a ton of money and are better for the environment as well as better for you.
  19. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    WOW.
    With a family of 4 we blow through that much every 2 months, sometimes even more (im including cleaning/paper products,etc). And we dont eat much junk food.

    how do you do it?
    ScotO likes this.
  20. northwinds

    northwinds Minister of Fire

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    I haven't spent $25/week on groceries since I was in college living on generic macaroni and cheese. The $960 works out to about $30/box, which for organic
    vegetables isn't that bad. Also, as was pointed out, being part of a CSA means you are supporting a local farmer, which I view as a good thing. I try to keep
    my money in the community. If I was going to join, I would pick the half share for $600, and my HMO would reduce that cost to $400. That still doesn't solve my problem of having to drive too far to pick up the box. I don't particularly like to garden, but my wife does so we probably won't ever join. My job is to go get the horse manure each spring from a buddy who is only too happy to give it away. After I spread poop and till, I'm done for the year
  21. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    We looked into it as a lot of local ads are starting but with it just being my hubby and I, we just don't see the benefit of spending $500 to buy a credit of stuff we don't know what we get when I can go to any of the local farm stands and buy what we want, not what they over grew for no where near that.

    We "square foot" garden and get A LOT out of a little bit of space. It's a step up from the kiddy pools I had been using ;)

    As a matter of fact, I have 90# of cabbage to pick up from the farmers market tomorrow to make sauerkraut, there isn't much I can't get, what I don't grow, I buy in case lots from local farmers and can it. I'm itching already as I'm almost through all the quart jars of tomatoes, need the season to get here quick ;)
  22. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    My two cents...I am no crazy couponer or anything, it's about smart shopping and relationships. Since I buy most of our produce from local markets and regardless of the store, paper, cleaning products and other misc stuff varies little to me, not brand loyal for the most part, I focus on meat, being the most expensive part of my shopping.

    My advice :

    1st Check the meat department every time you go, go different times of the week until you learn their cutting schedule. Take note of the sell by dates, the day before that day or that day are your "cheap meat" days. At my store, there is no butcher on the weekend so they cut a lot Friday, by Wednesday, it's 30-40% off. I've also made friends with the butcher. He knows I smoke meats so when they either over buy big butcher cuts or mark down retail cuts like whole picnics or pork butts, I get a call. Last week was whole picnics, .69 a pound. We have a chest freezer so I have a place for it. During Sandy, my neighbors were glad I had a freezer full of food and a generator to run it, fed everyone, nothing went bad.

    2nd, Shop the season, like now, corned beef or brisket to make corned beef are on sale for St Patty's day. Like I just posted, I buy cabbage this time of year, a lot of it, to make kraut and can.

    3rd Don't be afraid of discount stores like Bottom Dollar or Aldi. I bought some if the best ribeye steaks I've ever had from Bottom Dollar for $4.99 a pound. Aldi sells a bacon wrapped filet mignon for $3 per portion, decent size round, add frozen shrimp, $4 a pound for a surf and turf dinner on the cheap. Not that I don't also support my organic farmers for oxtails (for stew) and pork bellies (to make bacon) but I love my grocery store bargains too ;)

    Lastly, find local ethnic markets and make it an adventure. You haven't shopped until you've bought something just by the picture on the label since every language BUT english is on it ;) I frequent an asian market, best prices on fresh seafood, year round. The indian market has great spices, beans, etc as well awesome produce, entire case of mangos $5, yum! Russian market, best of anything pickled or smoked. Also, perogies, pelmini and all sorts of goodies. Mexican market, sausages, hot sauces, etc. These places are around, you just have to look and you will be surprised!

    Have fun shopping!
  23. granpajohn

    granpajohn Minister of Fire

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    It's Alaska. I imagine his entire meat budget is less than a buck a cartridge.

    [​IMG]
  24. firebroad

    firebroad Minister of Fire

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    CSA (Consumer Sustainable Agriculture) is a good way to keep the developers away from the farmland. Most farmers have a tough time making ends meet; this is a way to sell the surplus and make a little money on the side. The customer gets fresh produce, the farmer gets $$ to buy a new tool or whatever. I personally have, like Mrs. Krabappel, considered it, but have not committed myself, as my garden is enough, and I can't really come up with the coin for a steady supply of meat, eggs, etc. I do however buy locally from the Carroll County Farmers Markets, so I feel like I am helping.
  25. jharkin

    jharkin Minister of Fire

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    Jeni thanks but we already do most all of that, including shoping at all the local farmstands. Some of it we just cant do because of schedule limitations with 2 toddlers.

    The bottom line is that Kids are just plain expensive.
    ScotO likes this.

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