As I continue my value of CSA posts to record what we spend on organic veggies in a CSA, I find myself looking at prices around the area. Lots of choices these days in Howard County to eat fresh organic foods. I wonder in the future are there too many, and what may be the fallout? Will some of them fail? Will the surge in interest in eating organic whole foods sustain all these choices?
Yesterday we needed to go to Elkridge library to pick up a book not on the shelves anywhere else in the county. So, I requested two detours on this trip. Tacos at R&R. And, a visit to MOM’S. MOM’s carries a crispbread that I love to take on picnics and spread some good Bowling Green Farms Chesapeake cheese on top of them.
Crispbreads bought at MOM’s organic
I got prices of organic veggies while in the market to compare to what we saw at Wegmans, what we pay for Love Dove Farm, or Breezy Willow at the county farmers markets, and the value of our Sandy Spring CSA veggies that we have prepaid a year’s worth with a set fee.
My value of CSA posts go all over the place to try and compare my savings, but since pricing changes weekly and the sources have vastly different pricing, it is pretty tough to stay on top of what organic veggies cost week to week.
This week I used the pricing from MOM’s to compare. It was a huge savings to belong to a CSA. If one lived in Eastern HoCo, MOM’s and Wegmans are the closest sources of organic foods, and most Wegmans prices were cheaper for produce than MOM’s. Will that difference drive people to shop at Wegmans? Only time will tell.
As for CSA value this week, here is the breakout. I decided to round up by a penny for all the items ending in 99 cents to simplify my accounting. I did not include the holy basil (tulsi) as I have no idea what to use to compare it. So, my total is for eleven of the twelve items in the previous post I wrote Thursday when I picked up the box. The one difficult item in the box is lemon cucumbers, not something you find in stores often.
lemon cucumbers from CSA box
Potatoes $2 a pound. We got 3 pounds, total $6. This is more than they cost at Wegmans for organic.
Red Onion $3 a pound. We received a pound bag, total $3.
Mixed specialty squashes, use zucchini price of $3 a pound and we had one and a half pound, total $4.50.
Cucumbers, $2 a pound, we got 1 1/2 pounds, so $3.
Beets $3 a bunch, total $3.
Italian eggplant, $3 a pound, ours was 12 ounces, so $2.25 total.
Japanese eggplant, these were $4 a pound, and our three totaled a pound, $4.
Heirloom tomatoes were $6 a pound there, I know we find them for $5 at markets, but to use MOM’s, they totaled $6.
White Bell Peppers, MOM’s only had purple for $4 a pound, we got a pound so $4.
Pint of grape tomatoes, $4.
Heirloom carrots $3 a bunch.
Total cost at MOM’s to buy approximately what I received in the CSA box minus the holy basil was $42.75. We pay $29.75 a week. This week’s difference would be $13.00 more if I went to MOM’s to shop.
Cumulative total value saved by joining the CSA is now at $102.80 after eleven weeks, with fourteen to go.
The important question is whether we are actually eating all the things we get, and the answer is yes, for about 90-95% of the items, we either process them for freezing, eat them in two weeks or less, or can them. This week I will be blanching and freezing the remains of the green beans from last week, and making bread and butter pickles from the last of the cucumbers.
I also learned that I can grate, then blanch, then freeze little zucchini packages to use in the winter for chocolate zucchini muffins, or for zucchini fritters. The rest of the zucchini will meet this fate.
The tomatoes, lemon cucumbers and two of the white peppers will make a gazpacho. The other peppers will be blanched and frozen. I know this is time consuming, but definitely cheaper, and healthier than buying ready made processed foods. And cheaper than shopping at the organic markets.