CSA Haul (& Will it Save Us Money?)

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Does a CSA help you save money and eat healthy? See what’s in our basket this week and find out!

pingraphic

Last week I shared a live video unpacking our CSA basket and sharing everything we got that week.

We have joined CSAs before, but this year I’m excited to share the process with you week by week so you can see what it looks like in real life and help you decide if a CSA will help you save money and eat healthy.

What Was in Our CSA Basket?

If you want to know what a CSA is, why we chose to join one this year, and whether it might be a good fit for you, scroll down. Otherwise, here is our CSA haul this week. Watch the video and read the list below.

Our CSA Haul:

  • 1/2 gallon of strawberries
  • 1 small bunch of tuscan kale
  • 1 large head of savoy cabbage
  • 1 small bunch of radishes
  • 20-30 baby carrots
  • 8-10 smaller heads of green lettuce

Plus:

  • 2 heads of broccoli

The broccoli was a bonus this week because the farmers said that they over-planted. The broccoli didn’t have to fit in our baskets – we could just take them home.

Our CSA basket haul on the table

What is a CSA?

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.

A quick internet search will tell you everything you need to know, but our farm defines a CSA like this:

You, as the ‘community’, decide to support your local farmer (us!), and you buy a ‘share’ in our farm. Then, every week for 22 weeks during harvest season, you come out to the farm and pick up your food – your ‘share’. So you are getting local, fresh, organic food – straight from the farmer, and you’re learning to eat with the seasons.

Allenbrooke Farms, Join Our “Farmily” CSA

Every CSA looks a little different. Some have weekly pick-up/drop-off locations, some you pick up at the Farmer’s Market every Saturday. We get ours from the farm itself. There are even CSAs for local pastured meat and eggs.

our CSA basket

CSA Pros:

  1. You pay for it all at once (or in 3 larger payments, depending on the farm) – so once you pay for it, you don’t have to work that Farmers Market cash into your weekly budget. Simply pick up your basket and enjoy your produce.
  2. It forces us to eat local – on Saturday morning, I tend to postpone visiting the Farmers Market and pretend that I’ll hit it next week. Since I prepay for my CSA, I have to pick up my basket or I technically lose that week’s money.
  3. It costs the same or less than a normal trip to the Farmer’s Market.
  4. Many farms take great care of their CSA members – whether it’s a weekly email with tips and recipes or a farmer at pickup ready to chat about what to do with patty-pan squash.
  5. It encourages us to try new things! The baskets all cost the same, so why not try the fancy tuscan kale?
  6. It’s convenient – no waiting in line, fighting crowds at the market, or wondering what to try this week.

CSA Cons:

  1. You have to pay for it all at once (or in 3 larger payments, depending on the farm)
  2. If you don’t pick up your basket, you technically lose that week’s money
  3. Sometimes you might get veggies you don’t like (but many farms will let you swap something out of your basket!)
carrots in a barrel
Watch the video to find out why I’m harvesting carrots from a barrel!

Why We Joined a CSA:

We chose to join a CSA this year for several reasons. Last year, I tried to use our local Farmer’s Market, but I only visited a few weeks the whole Summer. The timing and location just didn’t work for our family.

As a result, we did a terrible job eating local and supporting local farmers last year. This is a shame because we live in an area with a very strong local food community.

Why We Chose Allenbrooke Farms:

  1. You fill your own basket – so I can pack baskets perfectly curated for our family and our particular tastes
  2. They encourage you to fill your basket as full as you possibly can
  3. It was a convenient location for our weekly schedule
  4. Reasonably priced – comparable to other CSAs in our area but with the above benefits

Bonus reasons:

  • They are certified organic!
  • They are fun to follow on Instagram

To visit the Allenbrooke Farms’ website and learn more about their farm, go here!

pingraphic

Will this CSA Help us Save Money and Eat Healthy?

You can’t get much healthier than local organic produce grown a few miles away. Between being able to fill the basket as full as possible and being able to choose our own veggies, the CSA was good for our health and our budget. This one works out to about $27 a week. This is a reasonable price for a certified organic farm in our area.

If you are buying most of your produce at Whole Foods or the Farmer’s Market, or you are trying really hard to source local and organic fruits and vegetables, a CSA could be the way to go.

That being said, Kroger markdowns and Aldi fruits and veggies are a lot cheaper than most CSA baskets. If your goal is to save as much money as possible while simply ensuring you eat plenty of plants, a CSA is not your best option.

tomatoes

If you are trying to find ways to save money and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, check out these posts!

strawberries

Have You Ever Joined a CSA?

I would love to read your thoughts in the comments below. Do you think it helped you save money or eat healthy?

If you found this post helpful, let us know! Leave a comment, share it on Facebook or Pinterest, and follow us on Instagram or YouTube for more!

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10 thoughts on “CSA Haul (& Will it Save Us Money?)”

  • We tried a CSA. The produce was great. And the cost was reasonable, although it was a bit tough to pay all of it up front. The only reason we stopped was that we just didn’t have time in our schedule to go pick it up! It started in May and we added the Fall extension to ours so it ran until Thanksgiving weekend. We had to drive out to the farm every Wednesday after 4 pm to pick up. It was fine in the summer when we had no activities, but when school was in, it was very difficult to make a trip out to the farm to pick up. We ended up missing a few weeks. I’d like to try it again, but I’ll be looking for a farm that delivers this time around.

  • Thank you for the post! I’ve been contemplating the idea of a CSA for a year or so. While I like the idea and want to do it in the future, your post helped me see that in our current season, it’s not what is best for us.

    • You’re welcome! So glad to help. We haven’t joined one the last few years for the same reason – just wasn’t the right season for us.

  • We belonged to CSA in our former city and love love loved i! Even the Pickup experience was delightful, because our kids always got to play with their kids.

    With all the challenges in our new life since moving, we haven’t joined one…but really miss it. The Pros and Cons you listed were exactly our analysis, too!

    And I really appreciate the tips about edible greens on radishes and carrots. Very helpful!! Was fun to see and hear you, too—and I like how thorough and encouraging you are, also. Thank you!!

    • You’re welcome, Kimberly, and thank you for the kind comment! Glad it was helpful. And haha, I had the Farmer’s Market on my calendar all last year too 😂.

  • Forgot to say: I have the same experience as you, Steph, with Farmers Markets…bad location, inconvenient day and time, etc.
    But I still put it on the calendar nearly every week. 😄 My sweet Husband says he loves living with an optimist. Ha!

    Another reason I don’t go is to not be tempted to buy the handmade arts and crafts, gourmet items, and more that are not in our budget.

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