Adventures in CSA (Year 2 Week 1): No surprises

Color me completely unsurprised that this box wasn’t up to the price that I paid for it. Thinking back on last year’s CSA through work, the veggie box program that seemed destined to build my upper arm strength as I faithfully carried the boxes from my office building allllll the way to my car (not parked next-door), I remember those boxes being filled FULL of stuff. So, when I got this week’s box and it wasn’t nearly as heavy as I expected, and there seemed to be more air than I anticipated, I knew that something was up. In fact, I was fairly certain that I wouldn’t be earning back my $22 investment this week.

I was right.

Here’s how it came out:

Year 2 – Summer Week 1
Grocery Store Unit Price
(per lb)
Grocery Store Total Item Cost
Strawberries (pint) 1.00 $3.50 $3.50
Sugar Snap Peas 1.00 $4.99 $4.99
Snow Peas 1.00 $4.99 $4.99
Zucchini 1.25 $1.99 $2.49
Spring Onions 0.31 $0.99 $0.31
Red Russian Kale 0.31 $1.29 $0.40
Red Mustard Greens 0.63 $1.29 $0.81
Carrots 0.50 $0.99 $0.50
Grocery Store Total Cost $17.98
Year 2 Summer Week 1 Savings (Deficit) ($4.02)

Now, it’s not like I’m anywhere near ready to throw in the towel. First off, I have until July 2nd to make a move on whether or not I want to get in on a full season at work’s program for the summer (I can just go month-by-month, otherwise, with no financial penalty). Second, it’s not like there’s a quality issue. This stuff is good, tasty produce. Third, my grocery store isn’t even great about stocking all of these things all the time. In fact, the mustard greens gave me a run for my money, since they didn’t even have them in store this week and I had to look at their price for their “To Go” program (similar to a Peapod-type service) to find out what they usually charge. Plus, my grocery store doesn’t carry Red Russian Kale. They carry (regular green) Kale. Period. That’s not a knock on them; it’s just a statement of fact. Lastly, I understand that the farm has to make money. Really, none of these programs survive if they give away more food than they can afford, offering boxes that routinely are worth more than they produce. I get the concept of profit margin, really I do.

What’s funny is how fast we’ve already gone through a few items. The mustard greens were cooked a day after we got the box (tasty, simple recipe to follow), and the strawberries are greatly depleted. This farm is our regular source for strawberries when they’re in season, and we’ve been going through about 1/2 dry gallon of strawberries every week for the last two weeks. DH had to act fast and stock up, since dd finally caught up to ds on falling in love with the tasty red berry.

So, we’ll see how week 2 goes. I’ve already threatened to use up the snow peas, carrots and kale on a stir-fry, so the week 1 box will disappear RAPIDLY. If week 2 goes similarly, my decision-making process on which box program to use (irrespective of the financial value) may be really tough.

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