Thursday, March 11, 2010

Is anyone a part of a CSA?

I'm considering joining a CSA (community supported agriculture). We are trying to switch our diets to be more natural and healthy but have encountered a few hiccups.

1 - The produce we can get at the grocery store in AK is usually a step away from spoilage
2- I didn't grow up using a lot of produce so get a little lost when I look beyond the carrots, celery, onions and potatoes
2b- My husband is getting really sick of carrots, celery, onions, and potatoes
3- I'm intimidated by the prices of produce in the grocery store and tend to only bring home an item or two
4- We're both still learning how to cook
5- We need to keep our budget in check

The CSA I'm thinking of joining, Glacier Valley CSA, is Alaska based (not all the CSA's that deliver in AK are actually based out of Alaska farms). They try to use as much local produce as possible from a variety of farms but in the winter they do supplement the root cellar offerings with organic produce sent in bulk from farms in the lower 48. Each box is $35 and you can buy them weekly, bi-weekly or monthly. It seems like you get some staple veggies in each box and some new and interesting veggies to experiment with.

I'm hoping some of my readers who've tried CSA programs or something similar will chime in with their experiences and help me decide. It's a big expense and I'm a little nervous about making a commitment to get boxes of fruits and veggies when we haven't been the best about eating them in the past.


  1. Just go for it! I get one chicken and a veggie box each week and it does us fine (with some dry good like pasta, rica and cous cous). Start with chicken and roast veg, then use the leftover chicken in something like curry (with veg in it too), pasta, risotto or cous cous. You can then make soup using pretty much any veggies you like and chicken stock. You'll be forced to come up with new recipes- it'll be good. Why not try it for a month like we did before committing to it full time?

  2. I have been mulling over something similar but more for the winter months as during the summer I have access to the farmer's market and would not need a CSA. I understand how intimidating cooking with veggies can be, it is more work for each meal but the way it makes you feel on the inside is worth it in my opinion. I feel much healthier all around.

  3. Thanks for the responses.
    Rachael - The one I'm looking at doesn't do meat (sadly no chicken) but otherwise sounds very similar. Luckily I've already got a line on local organic meat. My dad has managed a small local meat processing plant since I was little and I grew up knowing all the farmers.

    Jen - One of the reasons I'm considering this CSA is that it was started by some of the farmers from our local market. It gives them a little security to know some of their produce is preordered and they aren't loosing business to CSAs based in Washington state anymore. They do take one week off a month that they encourage you to hit up the farmers market and try something different.