So, as I noted when I listed off what was in this week’s box, I really wanted to see how much of the fruit and veg we could go through in a single weekend. I can’t say we polished off the entire box, but we certainly made a running start at it.
For one thing, the corn, cherry tomatoes, and cucumber made for an excellent set of additions to the pasta salad recipe I’ll post later this week. Second, the peppers went in a flash at the party (and leftovers were quickly gobbled up by the kids at dinner last night). Third, we got to the Melon Sunday (we had so much food out at the party on Saturday that more fruit would’ve been overkill), and it was very tasty and completely too much for us to kick all on our own in a single day. The blueberries are still in the fridge, as well, due to the fact that the grapes (not part of the CSA box) made the bigger impression on everyone. The grapes from our farm are tiny green grapes (sometimes trending towards a slight red), and they have thicker than usual skins encompassing a squishy fleshy orb. They have a tart flavor that I’ve never encountered in other grapes, and ds was eating them by the handful this morning (as was I).
Everything that we put out on the table that derived from our farm, including their pickled garlic and pickled asparagus (also not part of the CSA box), got rave reviews. It was a nice thing to be able to point to more than half the table and say, “That’s local” (even the tzadziki my sister brought was made with tomatoes and cucumbers from her garden, along with locally-produced yogurt). Of course, I’m still not ready to go full-on locavore (I just don’t have the energy to make it my life’s passion), but I love that we’re able to find a balance point between the reality of our busy lives and the hope that we can eat from a more environmentally-palatable, locally-sustaining supply chain.
So, looking at this week’s tally, it’s fantastic to see that the veggie box not only yielded lots of compliments but also yielded a savings. Fantastic!
|Year 2 – Summer Week 8|
|Grocery Store Unit Price
|Grocery Store Total Item Cost|
|Sweet Green Pepper||0.21||$3.99||$0.84|
|Blueberries (1/2 pint)||1.00||$2.50||$2.50|
|Cherry Tomatoes (pint)||1.00||$3.99||$3.99|
|Grocery Store Total Cost||$24.76|
|Year 2 Summer Week 8 Savings (Deficit)||$2.76|
The melon clearly had a hand in keeping us in the black this week; that sucker weighed over 5lbs, and it’s really yummy stuff. Also, rather randomly, the price of corn is increasing. Since this is LOCALLY produced corn that they offer at our grocery store (although not as local as what we get at the farmstand, which is grown AT that farm), the drought sweeping the nation shouldn’t be affecting the prices that much, eh? Given that it jumped 20%, I’m glad to see that corn is still relatively cheap. A jump of 20% on more expensive items, like peppers, would probably start to hurt. And I remember seeing seasonality and odd price swings last year, especially in things like beets, so I’m curious to see whether the corn price stays up from this point forward.
So far, overall, I’m up nearly $2.50 for the season. Of course, that’s small change…but when you factor in the lack of truck fuel and exhaust to bring the fruits and veggies to the store (since I’m buying instead from the farm where the stuff is grown), the overall financial impact is greater. Additionally, the more my farm sells, the more likely they are to stay in business, and there should be some measure of property tax coming from them back to my town. The grocery store where I tend to do my regular grocery shopping is one town over, so my town gets NO financial benefit from them if I give them more business.
It all adds up…it’s just a matter of how you want to look at it. And, to be frank, the quality of what I get from the farm so vastly outweighs what I get at the grocery store, it’s not even funny. The cherry tomatoes are the perfect example, where what I get at the grocery store is practically cardboard by comparison. When you put together the farm-fresh veggies, the preparation can also be infinitely smaller since you need to do so much less to it in order to get flavor from it.
OK – off the soapbox. I love being a CSA purchaser, but I know it’s not for everyone. But for those on the fence, really – GIVE IT A TRY. If you don’t like it, I get that. But if you DO like it, you’ll just be ever so glad you gave it that shot.