Sunday, January 20, 2013

To CSA, or not to CSA?

My favorite farm stand at the Greenmarket had CSA sign-up sheets out this morning.  I have one sitting next to me, blank and waiting.  I have to put a deposit down on Feburary 3rd.  But I can't decide whether I actually want to do this.

I'd order a half-share.  That's $260 for 26 weeks, starting the first week of June.  I'm also debating a fruit add-on, which would cost an additional $130.  So that would be $10-15/week.  I'm spending at least that much now on produce each week, so from a money standpoint this would be a good move.

On the one hand, I like the idea of being forced to try new things by having them on hand.  Particularly in the summer, when I'll have more time to cook and experiment, I think that will be pretty exciting.  Although I can see the week that the "featured item" is eggplant or hot peppers being an unhappy one.

On the other hand, I've heard from many other folks about getting way too much produce in their CSA box each week.  I'm one person, with very little food preservation knowledge at present.  There will be additional cost and labor.  I forsee that a CSA share would also involve me buying more freezer containers (at minimum), a dehydrator (likely), and possibly canning equipment (least likely, but apparently another girl in my department knows how to can so maybe...). 

Also, I don't have a good temperature-controlled space to store food in.  Our apartment tends to be very warm, but if we live a window open overnight the temperature drops by a lot.  So storing garlic and onions will be a challenge, since they barely last a month as it is, and potatoes and carrots usually don't last a week before they get soft and start rotting.

Decisions, decisions.


  1. If you have the time, I vote CSA. Use the freezer. Get a copy of The Victory Garden Cookbook. Process things the weekend you get them if not earlier.

    Do you not have a fridge?

    1. I have a smallish ("apartment-sized") fridge - I guess I never thought about using it for long-term storage. I was always taught not to keep onions and potatoes in the fridge, but I suppose compared to the alternative, it might work ok.

      I saw that book in your article about cookbooks the other day - I'm definitely going to check it out

  2. You can probably get more in your freezer than you think you can, provided you're willing to use plastic bags. If you freeze things in ziploc bags, think "pancake", not "ball". They stack like CDs very space-efficiently. We used to do once-a-month cooking, and we could store 30 meals in the freezer, plus still have room for ice cream, a few containers of leftovers, etc.

    As long as you don't use the bag to store meat, you can wash it and reuse it. (I knew someone who turned bags inside out and washed them with laundry in the washer, but I can't vouch personally for that).

    1. Yeah, I'm still deciding about plastic bags. I brought a few last semester and washed them a bunch of times, but they eventually gave out, and I haven't bought more.

      I've read that you can use straight-sided canning jars for freezing, so I might try that.