Adventures in CSA (week 3): The price gap narrows…barely

Last week, the price difference (the savings by going with the CSA) was driven primarily by the Asian Pears – which only now appear to have ripened! This week, the more pedestrian items in the box kept the savings down to a minimum BUT I have to note a couple of caveats: 1) My grocery store doesn’t carry rainbow carrots or Italian eggplant, so in both cases I had to price out the nearest equivalent, and 2) in both of those cases, I’m sure that the nearest equivalent was cheaper than the actual item would have been in the store.

Here’s how it came out:

Week 3 CSA


Grocery Store Unit Price
(per lb)

Grocery Store Total Item Cost
Tomatoes 1.12 $2.79 $3.12
Eggplant 0.83 $1.59 $1.32
Italian Eggplant** 0.68 $1.59 $1.08
Radishes* 1.00 $0.99 $0.99
Green Peppers 0.71 $1.59 $1.13
White Onion 1.19 $0.99 $1.18
Macintosh Apples 0.79 $1.59 $1.25
Rainbow Carrots** 1.05 $1.59 $1.66
Cucumbers* 3.00 $0.89 $2.67
Acorn Squash 1.75 $1.79 $3.13
Corn* 3.00 $0.60 $1.80
White Potatoes 1.01 $0.99 $1.00
Grocery Store Total Cost $20.33
Week 3 Savings (Deficit) $0.33
Program-to-Date Savings (Deficit) $10.61
* Items are priced by the unit or bunch; I checked for rough equivalency (and they were close enough).
** Exact matches weren’t available. Closest equivalent was priced, but these prices are likely to be lower than actual if the exact item was in-store.

So, there is still a (very) modest savings by going the CSA route versus the grocery store. Furthermore, the variety of the items in the box outmatched the grocery store. That was probably what surprised me the most – that I got two items my grocery store didn’t even have. I had considered going to the nearest Whole Foods to see if they had the Italian eggplant or the rainbow carrots, but I decided against it; if the idea is to compare the CSA against where I shop normally, then the only fair comparison is against my regular grocery store. Feel free to put your own store to the test and see how they do…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *