If you're checking in here to figure out whether or not to join our CSA, I encourage you to review the recommendations that some of our members have made via Local Harvest - www.localharvest.org. Input our zip code under the CSA tab (48103) and scroll down until you find our listing. I haven't figured out exactly how that site preferences listings so you might have to search.
There are so many CSA options now available which is a great thing. So how do you make a choice about where to join?
- I encourage people to make sure that they're joining a CSA because they really want to. Whether it's because you want super-fresh veggies or because you want to help ensure a stable food supply by supporting a local farm or because you have a desire to eat more veggies or because you want to connect more deeply with your food. Any of these reasons alone are enough to make the leap but hopefully, over time, all of these reasons will keep you coming back to your farm.
- After you decide to join, call the farmer or go and visit. It's a big commitment to pick up your veggies every week. Some find that it will save you time because you don't have to go to the store and make choices about what to buy. Others find the opposite because they're so busy and it's a hassle to add one more task to the list. I find the most satisfied members are very flexible with their menus. So, whatever you choose, the pick up needs to be enjoyable so make sure the farm and its distribution method fits with your lifestyle.
- Review the past distributions. I maintain a blog which is attached to this one that's called "What's In the Box". It's not all encompassing but it does include photos of most of the distributions so you can get an idea of what we distribute. I try to give enough for 2 serious veggie eaters or a family with young children and I also try to distribute enough so that you get at least what you paid for. Depending on the time of year, the amount will vary. For example, the first two summer distributions are generally relatively small as the plants in the field haven't matured. Right now, during the fall season, the distributions are huge and include everything from tomatoes and peppers to bok choy and winter squash! Members are able to prepare food and freeze it for the winter months. Generally every season has it's peaks and valleys. When the winter distributions begin we'll still have some storage crops to offer along with fresh greens from the hoops. As we turn to spring, we'll have more greens. If we have another blazing hot spring, the plants in the hoops will bolt (go to seed) so the mix will change. This is how it goes. We offer a mix of fruiting veggies, root crops, and greens. Fruiting veggies generally don't hit their peak until late summer to early fall. In 2011, we supplied lettuce nearly every week (it was rainy and a bit cooler so greens did well). This summer we didn't have much lettuce but had tons of eggplant, tomatoes and peppers (dry and hot which greens don't like). In general, I focus more on heartier greens which you can use in salads but can also be used in cooking (yukina savoy, spinach (winter and spring), tatsoi, arugula, mizuna, mustard, etc.) than on lettuce. We work to provide a variety of types of veggies.
- Make the plunge. If you get into it and find that you're over-whelmed with veggies, don't feel badly. One of the biggest reasons that I find that people quit is because they feel like they're wasting veggies. It's OK if you don't use every last scrap. Your participation keeps the farm going and if you have extras, you can always bring them back and feed them to the goats or add them to the compost pile. I'd rather give you too much, than not enough.