The Ins and Outs of our CSA

If you’ve been a regular reader of this blog then you are well aware that this past year Eric and I joined a CSA for the first time. I have been wanting to join a CSA for a while, but the timing was never right. When we moved to Philadelphia I knew it was the time to join one and after some research we settled on one. We received a lot of questions about our CSA so I thought a post answering those questions would be beneficial to all. Unfortunately winter is not really CSA season, so I will be sure to post a reminder in the springtime when they start up again and when we join ours again.

Ok so what is a CSA? Well CSA stands for community supported agriculture, and it’s sort of like a vegetable subscription. It’s a mutual relationship/support system between local farmers and community members who pay the farmer a membership fee and in turn receive a weekly share of the harvest. It’s a great opportunity to support your local farms and in return receive fresh, local and usually organic vegetables.

So you want to join one, but how? Well a good starting point is Local Harvest. You can search for CSA’s by location, and that’s how I came to find out CSA, which is Lancaster Farm Fresh.

Cost, produce, length, etc. will all vary based on which CSA you choose, so for this post I will talk about Lancaster Farm Fresh, since that’s what we used.

Our CSA lasted 28 weeks, and from checking the Web site it seems like the 2011 season will last 25 weeks. That’s a really long time!

Lancaster Farm Fresh offers two sizes, the full share and the half share. Eric and I weren’t really sure which size to pick since we eat a lot of produce, but we ultimately decided on the half share. The half share was PLENTY for two people.

Lancaster Farm Fresh delivers all around the Philadelphia area and is expanding to NYC and D.C. Click here for pickup locations. We were able to pick up about 3 blocks from our apartment, which was very convenient.

The cost for a full share is $700 and the cost for a half share is $425. I think the 2010 cost was slightly higher, but probably because it was 28 weeks, and 2011 is only 25. But by taking that information, the half share breaks down to $17/week. For local, organic vegetables for two people!
When the share first started I actually did a price comparison with the produce and Whole Foods (because that is where we do our shopping) and we were definitely saving a lot of money. I never felt like we weren’t getting our money’s worth.

There are a ton of reasons you should participate in a CSA:
Eat more fresh food. There was a huge taste difference in the vegetables we received versus vegetables from the store. Our CSA veggies were amazing, especially the carrots!
Eat organic.
Eat locally.
Eat seasonally. It was awesome to really learn which veggies were in season at which time. I had no idea that there were two lettuce seasons.
Eat new vegetables.
My only complaint was about our CSA was in the beginning when it was mega lettuce seasons and we were receiving so much lettuce. I have never been so sick of lettuce, ha. But you just roll with it, and after a week or two we got a lot more variety.

Lancaster Farm Fresh CSA Week 10

If you have any questions please let me know! Eric and I both loved it so much and are now huge supporters of CSAs. Everyone should join one and support local agriculture.

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7 Responses to The Ins and Outs of our CSA

  1. Stephanie says:

    Thank you for writing about your CSA! I joined one last year and I loved it and am fully planning on joining the same one again.

  2. I’ve heard the lettuce complaint from other people before too. I’ve not joined a CSA because I’m such a control freak and I like to know what produce I have on hand. But I do love the idea of supporting farmers. I usually just go to the farmers market with a list in hand. I kinda wish I could just loosen up and join a CSA.

  3. Lizzy says:

    Joining a CSA was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I miss it now that its winter. Great descriptions. And one of my favorite things is not knowing what I’m getting week to week and coming up with creative recipes based on what we get.

  4. Ms V says:

    This was our 2nd year with Lancaster Farms. We opted for a full share and were able to get a 3-week extension ($25/week) for December.

    Last year I was a bit put off by all the lettuce, but this year I took advantage of it. They key is large meal salads or dressings that will wilt the greens (like raw cashew caesar). Now that it’s cold out, I want more lettuce!

  5. Pingback: It’s CSA Time! « Goodbye Texas, Hello PA

  6. MissL says:

    Thanks for posting this! Just signed up for LFFC for 2011.
    Have you tried the fruit share as well?

    • Peg says:

      I agree! The CSA is delicious! The fruit share was AMAZING! cantaloupes! and the most sugary sweet watermelons for a few weeks…..oh! I can’t wait till spring now! :)

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