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CSA in the Rear View Mirror

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The 2013 Spring/Summer CSA is over. Every season I do a spreadsheet summarizing what we got, and was the cost worth it.

We belong to Sandy Spring CSA, which uses the Lancaster Farm Fresh Cooperative as the source of our vegetable, fruit, egg, cheese, flower and herb shares. The coop includes 75-80 farms spread across Lancaster County. They directly supply 2500 members, and they supply 500 members through Sandy Spring. This is the 5th year Sandy Spring has used LFFC, and the third year we have been members. We get the basic 100% share of veggies. No add ons, as I like using the farms and markets for my other items.

We pay $740 for our share. 24 weeks. We are promised 8-12 items weekly. We received 283 items, 131 of them unique. That averages out to 11-12 weekly. It also averages out to $2.60 an item, for organic foods. We really do get our money’s worth.

By unique, I include different varieties of the same vegetable. Like green and red tatsoi are different. And, green or red romaine. You get the drift.

The most frequent occurrence this year? Garlic! And, orange carrots. Both were in our box nine times this season. Green beans showed up eight times. Slicing tomatoes seven.

As for very unusual items, this was the year we saw bitter melon, purple mizuna, eight ball zucchini, bintje potatoes, blue radishes, white beets, Gai-lin Chinese Broccoli.

csa week 19 2013 and al fresco dinner 023

I found out I liked okra. Particularly when it is grilled. I made my first habanero jelly.

habanero jelly 413

One of the reasons I like this CSA is that unexpected strange item. With so many farms, providing members from Harlem, Brooklyn, Philly, DC, NoVa, and points between, they have greatly expanded their heirloom and ethnic varieties.

You want Southern soul food? Okra and collards. Chinese? Bok Choy. Tatsoi. Mexican? Habaneros. Jalapenos. Cilantro.

The challenge, which I embrace, is that discovery of a new vegetable, and how to use it.

Thankfully, my better half is just as adventurous and likes almost everything we get. OK, OK, the bitter melon was a fail.

We begin a seven week fall extension this Thursday. I have added a bread share and a chicken share. I will be getting two chickens on the 1st, 3rd, 5th and 7th deliveries. Bread every week.

no food from strangers 011

It took us three years to become really skilled at using all of the bounty we receive from the CSA. At first, it is overwhelming but changing how we eat and making lunches and dinners that highlight our CSA veggies has been good for us. In our health and in how we feel.

If you wonder what in the world made me do all this math, it’s that mathematician background. What can I say?


About AnnieRie

Retired, I am following my dream of living in quiet west Howard County, a rural oasis, not far from the urban chaos, but just far enough. I love to cook, bake, garden, and travel. I volunteer at Howard County Conservancy. I lead nature hikes, manage programs and show children all the wonders of nature, and the agricultural connection to their food.

One response »

  1. I am grateful for your mathematician background. I know my CSA is a good deal, because we’re eating from it year ’round (I do buy other veggies, it’s not solely our vegetable source) but it’s nice to see someone else run the numbers to confirm what I’ve long suspected.
    Once you get the hang of it, a CSA is a really good deal for your health, your wallet, your farmer, and your community.


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