Friday, January 28, 2011

CSA dilemmas

It's that time of year to decide what (if any) CSA we should join this year. We've never joined one before, although if we hadn't been moving in the middle of last year we surely would have joined up with our friends Raluca and Ed and their phenomenal farm/CSA in our old town. Alas, we knew we would be moving in the middle of the season, so it made more sense to continue buying from farmers' markets.

But, as I've posted before, we've really been let down by this area's farmer's markets. The options for organically grown produce are extremely slim. The farmer's market in our neighborhood we found to be devoid of even one natural grower. What a disappointment for those who want both local and chemical-free food.

Our CSA options in this area are somewhat limited. Our neighbors just asked if we want to share a share of a farm in town. The great advantage of this farm is that it is local with a capital L. It's right in our town. The downside is that they do use "limited" pesticides and herbicides. At least the farmers are willing to talk about it and tell us how/when they spray, and how they do it so as to avoid large amounts of chemicals making their way into the food they produce. Still, do I want to commit to having all our produce come from a farm where I know they use non-organic methods? Not really.

The other CSA we are considering is a good 20 minute drive from our house. Not hugely inconvenient, but certainly not around the corner. I can see us missing a share now and then due to conflicts. They, however, do not use chemical fertilizers, pesticides, etc. I like that! They also are a pricier farm, and while I don't doubt for a second that the food is well worth the cost, it doesn't actually make my bank account any bigger. If it were around the corner, I would buy into it without question. The 20 minute drive may not sound like much (and it's really not), but on some days, especially in the heat of the summer, I can see us missing out on occasion. It's one thing to pay well for good food that will nourish the mama, papa, and baby bear. It's another thing to pay well for food we only pick up sometimes.

Of course, we can continue buying produce from farmer's markets and not buy into a CSA at all. That's certainly what we've done in the past. Another option, and probably a totally unrealistic one (but the one I secretly fancy) is joining the CSA in our old town, and driving over an hour every week for our "local produce." Talk about missing our shares .......

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