Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Our share

We (me, R., my brother and SIL) have joined a CSA (city/community supported agriculture) group for the summer. Basically you buy into a farm crop from ~May-November, sharing some of the risk with local farmers. From what I can tell CSAs come in a variety of forms, but generally you will get a weekly share of vegetables/fruit for a set price, based on what is in season at the time.

We're going with Greensgrow Farms, which runs an urban garden here in Philly. What I really like about this one is that the share not only contains fruit and veggies, but also cheese/dairy + meat or fresh pasta + yogurt, butter, eggs, or milk. All from local dairies and businesses. The price ends up being around $32 per week, or $16 per household, way less that what I normally spend for these items on a weekly basis. You can pay for everything up front or in three installments.

A couple of disadvantages to this one: Some CSAs in the area have multiple drop-off points where you can pick up your share, whereas in this case we have to pick up our share at the farm stand each week. For those of you who are familiar with the Philly area, Greensgrow farms looks to be a bit North of Northern Liberties, probably a 20-30 minute drive for us. Shareholders choose whether to pick up on Thursday or Saturday, and we've decided to just rotate pick-up responsibilities weekly. They emphasize local produce and products, but the farm itself is not organic (although milk is hormone- and antibiotic-free, grassfed, poultry is free-range etc).

Another issue with many CSAs in general (at least the ones I've been reading about) is the fact that a "share" is based on a family of four, and many times a "half-share" is not half the food but a full-share dropped off every two weeks rather than weekly. So I'm excited that brother+SIL are into the idea - they live in the same apartment complex as us, and this way I know food won't go to waste.

I'll let you know how it goes, I'm looking forward to planning meals around what's in season and whatever shows up in our share for the week. It's going to require some organization and commitment on our part but I'm also looking to diversify what we eat (especially in the veggie department) and support local businesses at the same time.

Here is the application form for Greensgrow Farms, to give you an idea of options/pricing
Red Earth Farm - another Philadelphia CSA, organic produce and local drop-off points. Full for 2007!



Blogger nikandmike said...

we have always wanted to do this! i'm excited to hear what you cook up --i know you will find some delish recipes for some interesting veggies. maybe once we have a real home somewhere then the green delivery man can come to our house/apartment/shack/box with a bassinet too!

please share what you do with the goods!

5:15 PM  

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