Adventures in CSA (year 2 week 6): Savings a-go-go

Rather impressively, this week’s box was cheaper than the grocery store by more than 25%! It’s rather impressive, really. Maybe it’s something about being mid-summer, that you’re neither dealing with light and inexpensive greens nor are you dealing with heavy (but similarly inexpensive) winter squash. I remember the first grocery shopping trip I did before dd went off to camp and needed to have her lunches packed for her. The list of fruit and veg was quite long and, though I was happy filling my cart with so much lovely produce, our wallet did take a hit once I got up to the register. This week, in particular, certainly does show that it’s possible to eat local fruits and vegetables without breaking the bank ANY MORE than you would if you purchased the exact same items as the grocery store.

Actually, cancel that last statement – or let me amend it. When I do my pricing, I price against the mass-market fruits and vegetables, as it were; I don’t price against the more expensive “organic” varieties offered in store. So, technically, if you were to buy the organic versions at the grocery store, you’d be spending EVEN MORE than what you’d pay for the veggie box through the local farm. That’s just lovely.

Here’s how it all broke down…

Year 2 – Summer Week 6
Grocery Store Unit Price
(per lb)
Grocery Store Total Item Cost
Green Peppers (each) 2.00 $1.99 $3.98
Potatoes 2.74 $1.49 $4.09
Zucchini 2.48 $1.99 $4.93
Cucumbers (each) 2.00 $0.99 $1.98
Cherry Tomatoes (pint) 1.00 $3.99 $3.99
Wax Beans 1.02 $2.49 $2.53
Heirloom Tomatoes 1.24 $3.99 $4.96
Corn (ears) 6.00 $0.50 $3.00
Grocery Store Total Cost $29.45
Year 2 Summer Week 6 Savings (Deficit) $7.45

It’s clear, from looking at the numbers, that certain items – like the heirloom tomatoes – really helped me get a lot of extra value out of the box. (They’re also terribly yummy, too.) The sheer heft of the box also helped; though they claimed that I was getting 2 lbs of potatoes and zucchini, both came in well over that weight. Even had they come in right on the dot, the quality and expensive nature of some of the items included (specifically the cherry tomatoes and heirloom tomatoes) helped out quite a bit.

Of course, here’s where you then start to diverge from a simple value discussion. The cherry tomatoes we get from our farm aren’t like the cherry tomatoes you get at the grocery store. Take the best, most wonderful, sweetest cherry tomato you can get at a grocery store and then double the flavorfulness. You may then come close to approximating how incredible these cherries are. The sheer wonderfulness of them makes them disappear in a heartbeat; we had most with dinner Saturday night and the remainder got snapped up at lunchtime on Sunday. In fact, my prediction of caprese salad fell flat but was replaced instead by dh doctoring half a Digiorno cheese pizza with the fresh basil, halved cherry tomatoes and a few cloves of garlic. Holy cow did that take the pizza to a whole other level. It was fantastic.

So, looking at it from the point of view of savings, this box hit one right out of the park. From a taste perspective, it also went a long way towards validating that buying this week was the right choice.

3 thoughts on “Adventures in CSA (year 2 week 6): Savings a-go-go

  1. Yeah for the box! And I’m sure I said this before but with the box, it’s likely that 3x more money stays in your community than with the chain grocery store.

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