my first csa: a review and reflection

I’ve been obsessed with the idea of a CSA since I was in college. For those not in the know about all the hot new acronyms, CSA stands for community supported agriculture. Basically, you are purchasing a share in a local farm which pays out in the form of delicious produce from that farm delivered to you on a regular schedule. I pretty much thought this was the coolest idea ever, and I was really excited about being a real adult and taking the chance to sign up for a CSA this past summer. After much research (shout out to the Urban Ecology Center for their super useful resources), the roomie and I signed up for the “flip flop” (every other week) staple share and an every other week egg share from LotFotL Community Farm. I was so excited to stop by Anodyne and pick up my very first share.

First CSA share of the summer!

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Unfortunately, after nearly 6 months of deliveries, I can say that the CSA system is not for me. It really all came down to one simple fact that I had somehow forgotten in my enthusiasm to be involved in supporting local farming: I just don’t eat that many vegetables. And the vegetables I do go for tend to be the boring stuff: tomatoes, spinach, potatoes, carrots, corn. You know the drill. I don’t really know what I thought I was going to do with a huge bunch of kale, assortments of turnips, and a fistful of beets every other week. I did make an effort to expand my horizons. I sauteed swiss chard like a boss, if I do say so myself, and we made some damn good ratatouille. It was also pretty great not to have to buy carrots or potatoes once fall hit. I think my favorite thing we received were adorable super round watermelons that turned out to be yellow inside. I had no idea watermelons came in yellow! But on the whole, I mostly just felt really guilty about wasting food when the greens went limp before I worked up the gumption to use them, and spent a lot of time gazing sadly at the boring veggies I really wanted to eat at the store. My roomie isn’t too into cooking, and even this small share was overwhelming for us.

I learned some hard truths about myself this summer. One of which was that all the good intentions in the world aren’t going to make me eat kale. I do really want to support local farmers, but it’s best for me to do that at a farmers market where I can buy the appropriate quantities of produce that I know I’ll eat. I’m glad that I tried the CSA, even if I did end up deciding it’s not right for me. This had noting to do with the farm, which was excellent and very communicative with great customer service. If you’re a vegetable fanatic in the area, I would definitely recommend checking out their CSA program. I might still do the egg share next year, because a consistent supply of fresh local eggs was pretty great.

Is anyone else a CSA failure? I kind of feel like I’ve lost some of my hip indie cred by admitting that I totally flopped on this. (Note: I have zero cred of any kind. Except maybe as a punster.)

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2 thoughts on “my first csa: a review and reflection

  1. yes! this was my first year with a CSA as well. my boyfriend and i received a small share from a farm in Plymouth. i love cooking, but i felt the same way that you did – we tried really hard to cook different things, but i felt so guilty if we couldn’t eat something. i think at times we probably ate twice as much because we didn’t want to throw something out. the jury is still out whether we’ll do it again next year, but it was definitely something fun and different to try…i think if i had kids i’d be more inclined to do it again.

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    • It was so much tougher than I expected! You really have to be on the ball/dedicated to it AND a big eater of eccentric vegetables to have it “work” for you. I did previously buy “market baskets” from Growing Power, which was a bit more my speed in quantity/type of produce!

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