Adventures in CSA (week 6): What’s $0.47?

According to my spreadsheet, this is the first week that we haven’t come out ahead. However, I refuse to believe it for the simple reason that the item that I had the hardest time pricing (eggplant – which was on sale at the store this week) was also the one item where no good equivalent could be found. Our grocery store carries only the big, hulking purple eggplants. The one that we got in this week’s CSA was a more delicate globe eggplant, referred to as a Rosa Bianca on the painting on the back of a Cooks Illustrated. It also didn’t help that the grocery store’s sale price tag was so huge and so wedged in that I couldn’t even peel it back to see the regular price (without drawing unnecessary attention). So, I know that the price for the actual eggplant I have *should* be higher, but I have no way to prove this definitively. So, the deficit stands…all $0.47 of it.

Prices have gone up again for a few items – beets have reverted back to the higher $2.99 that we saw in a prior week, and both apples and potatoes have started to go up a little. I find it interesting that items which are most definitely IN SEASON in this area have gone up in price. One would really expect the opposite, no?

Furthermore, there was some serious irony in the fact that our grocery store was touting how the devastation from Hurricane Irene makes it all the more important to buy local produce. Why yes. Yes it does. But, since most of the items they put out (unless they go out of their way to note it) could come from Outer Mongolia and I wouldn’t know it, it makes it really hard for me to be sure what’s local and what’s not unless they note the origin. A little information could go a long way, guys.

Without further ado, here is this week’s price comparison…

Week 6 CSA
Grocery Store Unit Price
(per lb)
Grocery Store Total Item Cost
Leeks 1.00 $2.99 $2.99
Beets 1.00 $2.99 $2.99
Butternut Squash 1.84 $0.99 $1.82
Garlic 0.05 $2.99 $0.14
Carrots 0.91 $0.99 $0.90
Parsnips 0.84 $2.49 $2.10
Macintosh Apples 1.98 $1.59 $3.14
Red Potatoes 2.02 $1.49 $3.00
Corn** 3.00 $0.60 $1.80
Globe Eggplant* 0.55 $1.19 $0.65
Grocery Store Total Cost $19.53
Week 6 Savings (Deficit) ($0.47)
Program-to-Date Savings (Deficit) $15.30
* Items were not available; closest equivalent was used.
** Closest equivalent is husked corn cobs sold in 5pks; unit price was derived from this comparable item

Of course, there was enough savings already built up that we’re still ahead. I’m now wondering whether we could end up basically getting 9 weeks’ cost of veggies out of the 8 box program, since we are still within spitting distance of $20 savings. Then again, with only two weeks left to go in this program, it may not be possible. I’m still coming out ahead, so far, and that’s a wonderful thing. I’ve also discovered that I really like roasted beets – and that’s a VERY good thing. Plus, I’ve branched out in some of my cooking and rediscovered how much I like puttering in the kitchen. Were the kids younger, this would be a lot tougher, and were they older, this would be a lot easier. Still, I think we’re managing okay. Of the people that I know who are really major kitchen putterers, the overwhelming majority have no children or have children old enough that you can leave them on their own for a while.

And really, I do love that all I have to say to my daughter on a Friday afternoon is…”Guess what I have in my car…?” and she enthusiastically responds: “VEGGIE BOX!!!” That’s pretty fantastic, regardless of whether I’m coming out $0.47 ahead or behind on any given week.

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