CSA conclusions

Since my last CSA delivery two weeks ago, I’ve had a lot of time to think about whether or not I would sign up for a winter CSA (Boston Organics or Enterprise). In the meantime, I’ve resumed weekly visits to the Central Square farmer’s market, which is open until Thanksgiving.

The best thing about the CSA was convenience. Having a weekly vegetable delivery forced me to eat a lot more vegetables than I would have otherwise. It also forced me to try things that I wouldn’t normally pick up at the store – kohlrabi, anyone? That part was fun and gave the whole thing an Iron Chef feel. But I had a lot of trouble keeping up with a half share, so I had to learn how to preserve things. And I have a freezer full of beefsteaks and a cupboard full of jam to prove it! I am embarrassed to admit that there were several times when I had to throw food away.

When I go to the farmer’s market, it’s an entirely different experience. You pick and choose not only what vegetables you want, but the exact bunch of carrots or head of lettuce that you want. The major downside: it’s difficult to plan a visit to the farmer’s market during the workday, even if it is right down the street. But every time I went I loved it, even if I was just picking up a bar of Taza Chocolate. The whole experience is so much more interactive and social. You get to talk to the person who actually grew those plants or caught and smoked that fish, and they are more than happy to share recipes with you.

While my financial contributions to Community Supported Agriculture were more significant through the CSA share, the social nature of the farmer’s market makes its own contribution to the community. Not only am I making friends, but I know a lot more about where my food is coming from – and that was one of the reasons why I joined a CSA.

I haven’t ruled it out yet, but I guess the bottom line is that a weekly CSA delivery isn’t for me. My schedule is too unpredictable and I go out far too often to be able to eat all of that food every week. When I do cook, it’s usually just for me. And as much as I love to cook, cooking for one isn’t as much fun as cooking for someone else.


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