Normally I sing the praises of my CSA to anyone who wants/has to listen. I even convinced two of my friends to join this year. And wouldn’t ya know it…as soon as I convince people how spectacular it is…we get a bit of a dud season.
This year’s CSA crop has been less than satisfying. Not a lot of stuff….certainly not enough for my little fruit bats. What we are getting is good…but not the staples I rely on for feeding the boys. Almost no broccoli, green beans, salad greens, etc. Now granted, we eat more than the average share of produce. That was one of the motivating factors for joining the CSA. The shares aren’t cheap but in the past they have covered the bulk of the produce I need for the week. This year it didn’t cover even half of what I need to keep the family going.
Last season we were able to get by on the CSA produce, only buying our favorite traveled indulgences like avocados and bananas. Honestly, this year, even what we have been getting in abundance isn’t ideal. All the potatoes, beets and cilantro in the world aren’t going to create a decent primavera. Nor do my kids want to snack on yams at the playground. ( If that ain’t begging for an atomic wedgie, I don’t know what is. )
But…I guess that is part of the lesson of being a part of a CSA. You experience the highs and lows…just like a real farmer…without having to touch horse poo. The difference for our organic farmer is that because we have all invested in him he won’t go under from one or two bad seasons like many small farmers would. But on the other hand….in terms of my own finances…because the crops have been so low, I am buying a lot more California goods than I would prefer for this season. We will have to seriously consider next year’s sign up. Perhaps we will just have to get more organized about going to the farmers markets around town and still try our best to support local guys. My worry with that is that crazy weekends will mean no market trip…and me buying all imported stuff at the local Stop & Rob. And that not supporting the local organic farm when things aren’t going great will mean not having a local organic farm at all.
So…should I stick it out one more year or pack it in and throw myself into the open market? We are committed for this year. I am even one of the official CSA annoyers. (My official duty is to call people after they do their shift to find out if they were called before their shift and to get them to confess any misdeeds during their shift. It annoys the ever loving f*&k out of people.) Hmmm…I wonder why they picked me for the job? Love to hear from any of you who have wrestled with the CSA question…but for now I need to make a few reeeeeeeeeally irritating calls.
(Book image from Overstock.com.)