Ask the Readers: Are You Part of a CSA?

By Ashley Jacobs on 17 June 2014 (Updated 24 June 2014) 71 comments

Editor's Note: Congratulations to Ashley, Harrison, and Louly for winning this week's contest!

Community-supported agriculture (CSA) is a great way to buy local, seasonal produce (and more!) straight from the farm. A CSA membership allows you get a regular supply of fresh fruit, veggies, eggs, or other groceries through the season. However, this kind of service isn't available everywhere, and the subscription cost may not be worth it for some.

Are you part of a CSA? What do you like and dislike about it? If you have not joined a CSA, would you like to?

Tell us whether you're part of a CSA and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

Win 1 of 3 $20 Amazon Gift Cards

We're doing three giveaways — here's how you can win!

Mandatory Entry:

  • Post your answer in the comments below. One commenter will win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

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Giveaway Rules:

  • Contest ends Monday, June 23rd at 11:59 p.m. Pacific. Winners will be announced after June 23rd on the original post. Winners will also be contacted via email.
  • You can enter all three drawings — once by leaving a comment, once by liking our Facebook update, and once by tweeting.
  • This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered, or associated with Facebook.
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Good Luck!

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Guest's picture
Mary Happymommy

I'm not part of a CSA.

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Christine Hill

No. I live on an island 7 miles out to see. We don't have any farms. My goal is to start one and run my own CSA!

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Elena

I am not part of a CSA. I wouldn't join them because my family only eats certain fruits and veggies

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Gina

This is the first I've heard of a CSA. Don't think we have any in my area.

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Leslie

I am part of a local CSA, it's a great way to eat local organic farm fresh foods while supporting a local farm.

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Meg

No, I am not part of a CSA, but wish I was!

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summer

I'm not part of a casa, but I do participate in an organic co-op.

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Jennifer

I am and I love it! The veggies are fresher and tastier than I can get at the supermarket while also being cheaper than the farmers' market. Plus it forces me to try more varieties than I would get on my own.

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Harrison

Yep, my wife found a local CSA that has drop-off points just a couple blocks from our house. We pick up every Tuesday and love all the fresh veggies, including some we've never seen or tried before. New veggies that I learned I like (but would have thought was icky in the grocery store): zucchini, swiss chard, and kale. Can't wait to pick ours up tonight!

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MELISSA HANSSON

We do not belong to a CSA. I'm such a picky eater and we travel or have evening plans so often that food ended up going bad as often as it was eaten. We've found that it suits our budget much better to shop at the natural grocery store or farmer's market according to how often we'll be home to cook, rather than being at the mercy of a weekly delivery.

Guest's picture

I've never heard of a CSA, but I will look into now!

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Maren

Yes, I am a member of a CSA! We have been members of several different ones, as we have lived in MN, CA, and IL. Each CSA has its own flair and offerings, so I always recommend that folks talk to current members (and the farmers) before joining. This is our third season with our current CSA and we love it. Great way to eat lots of local, fresh veggies cost effectively. As it is just two of us, we split our share with another family, so we waste less and it costs less.

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Ashley

Yes I am! I had a CSA living in NYC for three years and I absolutely loved it. I love to cook, and the surprise of unfamiliar ingredients popping up over the season was great for trying new things. You cannot beat the cost; you pay up front, but the average cost per week in every CSA I've checked out is around $20. $20 for so much fresh produce!

The cons are eating all of that produce (which leads one to learn to preserve whatever you can't eat), and the repetition of certain items. You can get sick of eating a pound of swiss chard every week, or figuring out another way to eat radishes.

I now live in Connecticut and am awaiting the start of a CSA this weekend. Invested in locally raised eggs and meat this year, too. Love supporting local producers!

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KelR1

No, I'm not part of a CSA. Such programs are available in my area, but I actually prefer going to the grocery store myself and selecting my own produce.

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Paige Bowman

I'm not part of a CSA, but I occasionally order from a company who creates a seasonal basket that I can pick up.

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Rob

No, I am not part of a CSA. We do a lot of gardening in the summer so we get our own vegetables. We may join one during the winter months though.

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Jessie

Yes! I'm lucky to live in an area with several CSAs to choose from, and ours offers a great balance of fruit, vegetables and most importantly, a convenient pick-up time. Rather than intending to go to the farmer's market every week but only making it occasionally, the pre-payment to the farm means that picking up our produce share is at the top of my to-do list.

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TM

We've been part of a CSA for about ten years. The produce we receive is amazing, but there's often too much for us; we give some of it away to friends and family. This year our CSA sold partial name-your-week shares, so we cut out a few weeks in spring and fall and this should help with the too-much problem.

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Ernest S.

I am not a member of a CSA, but I love the concept. What a great way to connect and support your local community.

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Tina in NJ

I am not a CSA subscriber. Hubby doesn't think we would use all that food. We have a friend who is diabetic and belongs to one. She feels a lot better since changing her diet (either gluten-free or vegetarian, can't remember which).

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Mel

I have looked into it, but have not taken the leap yet.

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Happy Love

No, but I've bought from a local CSA at the farmer's market before. Currently we grow food in our own large garden.

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Dee Dee

I am not part of a CSA, we plant our own garden.

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Aleighanne

I'm in a meat and egg share which is similar to a CSA. I put down a $150 deposit and then pay $88.50 a month. I get 20 lbs of meat a month (I actually thing it might be more than that) and 2 dozen pastured free range eggs. The meat is pork, beef, and chicken all of which are pastured & free range from a local farm. And it is yummy.

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emily

Yes! We use Full Circle, which I think purists would say is not a CSA because it doesn't support one specific farm. However, I LOVE that you can customize the order, which you can't usually do with CSAs and you can put the delivery on hold if you're out of town.

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Liz

No I'm not, but I've been thinking about joining one for awhile.

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Matt

No, I'm not part of one.

Guest's picture

~~~No, we are not part of a CSA because we are avid gardeners ourselves and raise enough to share with friends and family. CSAs are an interesting concept though! I am not sure of the money aspect though, as it does not seem like a MORE affordable option, if that is one's goal. I think using a portion of your property as a community garden seems like a more affordable option, or a produce swap.

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Aya

We are on our second year of being part of CSA. We love the hearty veggies we get from CSA and proud to be support local agriculture.

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Betty

I don't have a CSA in my area. I buy from a local produce market, which has great prices. I hope it comes from local farms.

Guest's picture

Yes, we belong to a CSA in Mount Bethel, PA. This is our fourth year and we love it! You can't beat the freshness, and it's fun to see what veggies you get each week.

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Margaret Davis

I am not part of a CSA. I can't commit to one since my schedule varies and I don't want to waste food!

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lostAnnfound

We do not belong to one, although we have several in the area. Often in the summer we're coming and going and not always eating at home, so I think about the food not being used/spoiling. Plus, the teens are still a bit picky about veggies!

To make up for that, we do shop at the local farmers market or one of the farmstands in the area during the summer/fall and also grow just a few of our favorite vegetables at home during the summer (tomato, bell pepper, summer squash, zucchini, cucumber).

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JSR

I am and I love it. Between the CSA and Zaycon meat purchases, I only go to the grocery store for a few items. Its cuts my spending and we eat a healthier diet.

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Guest

I would like to join a CSA soon, but sadly am not a part of one now :(

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Nancy

I was a member of a CSA, but for customer service reasons I reluctantly cancelled. I shop at the local farmers market now.

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Cathie

We just became members a few weeks ago. What I dislike about it is that the farm is 40 minutes away, so this takes up a chunk of my Saturday. What I like about it is that our farm has PYO included on certain days of the week, it's an organic farm, they have a payment plan so the whole wad doesn't come out of your budget all at once, we have fresh organic greens every week, everyone we've encountered so far has been really nice.

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Jennifer B

I'm not a member of a CSA but would really like to especially during the summer months.

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Julie

My partner and I are part of a CSA. We have been part of the same one for two years and prior to that I worked as a volunteer at a CSA. I would recommend a CSA for anyone who enjoys cooking or wants to switch up their vegetable intake diet. If the cost freaks people out-- they should look into volunteering at the CSA-- a couple of hours a week, helping on the farm sometimes they give their volunteers a box of produce.

The best part of our CSA is that we know it's local, organic and that it's healthy. Our CSA provides a newsletter that gives us recipes, what the "unknown" vegetables will look like and taste like and then offers a yearly "pulling" of potatoes, garlic and onions for it's members at it's annual potluck.

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Christie

I wish!! We did it several years ago, one that we worked a few hours a week and it was $200 for the season. But honestly, the director was not the most pleasant person and if he wasn't happy, he took it out on everyone working that day. One season was enough! Plus, I'm allergic to many things that would come in the box (probably close to 1/2 of it), so we had to give away a lot of it anyway. I would love a CSA where I could choose what my family could actually eat healthily. (Being allergic to garlic, onions, peppers, radishes, cucumbers, and a few other things really stinks at times.)

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Guest

I belong to a CSA and love it - it forces us to eat more fruits and vegetables, and to eat more variety. It also supports the local agriculture and reduces shipping waste. Our CSA also has a farm where you can go and pick bonus produce, which my kids love.

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Bee

Not yet. A gal at work is putting one together for the summer, so I'm eager to give it a try!

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kr

Yes, my sister and I share a fruit CSA from a local farm.

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Monique

I'm not part of a CSA, but it's something I'm interested in for sure. I think it would challenge me to try other fruits and vegetables more regularly in dishes.

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Rebecca B. A. R.

No, but I wish I were!

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Jenn

I have a CSA and love it. I appreciate that I support the local economy, biodiversity of crops, regional crops, and support of small farms. The benefits I receive are getting tips from my farmer on recipes, her knowing my particular food preferences, and seeing her love of her work. Practical benefits include: not having to do a big run to the supermarket, cost savings, and healthier eating habits. There are no cons.

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Catseye

I'm not a member but am definitely interested in joining one, if I can afford it. I need to do research to see if there is a CSA in this area.

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Guest

We are not members. Where we live there are limited numbers of of them and they are very expensive

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Bethany

Nope.

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Angie

I'm not part of a CSA

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Louly

Yes I am! I love it. I get tons of fresh produce delivered to my door for only $35/week.

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Candice Cameron

We belong to a local CSA, and we just started our third growing season. We love the opportunity to try new veggies, and the fact that everything is locally grown and organic is a huge bonus. Plus, our CSA has partnered with a local gourmet shop to offer free cooking classes to the members once a month. The menus for the classes are based on what is available and in season at that time. Our CSA also offer fresh breads, honey, jams and jellies, fresh eggs, and free-range chickens. It's been a great investment!

Alaina Tweddale's picture

YES! For five years and counting. I love knowing the farmers who produce my food. I can ask them questions about their growing methods and ask advice about what to do in my own (failing) garden. I love knowing that my veggies are locally grown and that they use organic methods. (When I shop at my local supermarket, there's a label on the food, but who really knows what happens to those veggies between South America and here?) I also know that I'm not paying to have my food transported half way across the globe. My farmers know me and we always have a nice little conversation when I pick up. It's also much cheaper than buying from the grocery store. The only downside is that I pay for the entire season up front, instead of as I shop each week, although farmers are offering payment plans more and more often.

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Alexis Feldt

No, but i'm currently looking for the right one for my family size! Or...a friend to split the large portion with. :)

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An

No I've heard about it but have not explored it yet. Sounds promising tho. I would really love the fresh veggies and fruit

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krossbow

I ♥ our CSA - Clagett Farm. We've been members since 2005 and every year from May to November we get over 45 different varieties of crops. They are part of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and are a field trip destination for inner city students to learn about how farmers can farm without negatively impacting the watershed. Part of our fee goes to sponsor memberships for economically challenged families and extra fresh crops go to the Capital Area Foodbank.

https://www.flickr.com/groups/clagettfarm/

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Guest

My husband and I joined a CSA for the first time last year. It was like Christmas every Thursday when we picked up our "share." It was fun coming up with recipes for the things we received every week. The only thing I didn't like about it was that the weekly share included 12 ears of corn every week (which I froze and had all winter) and less of some of the things I really like (for instance tomatoes, green beans, melons).

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Susan Smith

No I'm not a member. I'll have to look into it.

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MLBN

Yes, and we love it! Last year we dipped toes in with a biweekly share. It was really hard to use all the goods before they turned. However, this year instead of passing, we doubled up and changed our pick up day from Saturday to Wednesday. We kill every Wednesday night with pick up, cleaning, storing, cooking & meal planning. But it's the best way for us to get fresh vegetables in our diet. And we're spending less on meats and other grocery items, since we do feel the pressure to use our investment return.

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Lynda

no i'm not part of a csa

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OFG

I'm not but I have considered it many times!

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Elle

I joined a CSA about 3 years ago when I was pregnant and have loved it. What motivated me to make the jump was the fact that The Produce Box offered weekly payments, front door delivery, and I could skip weeks as needed. It was a wonderful way for me to try out a CSA and not plop down a big chunk of money upfront.

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Emily

I had a winter CSA and it was pretty great! much cheaper and I got all the root vegetables I could handle!

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Carmen

Not yet -but we've thought about it.

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Laura J

I am not, and actually have never heard of it! It sounds wonderful! I actually started my first...very mini garden this year! I am so excited about it! I am going to check in the CSA more! My New Years resolution was to cook and eat healthier as a family!!!

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Amanda Sakovitz

im not part of a CSA

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Caitlin

No, we have our own garden. CSA's are a great idea though!

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Tabathia B

I am not part of a CSA and I am not familiar with that term. I don't think we have one near me, but not sure if the cost would benefit me if there was one near.

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Sara C

I am not part of a CSA. I am a volunteer with a community garden and am able to get a wonderful supply of veggies through that.

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Thomas Murphy

I am not part of a CSA but would like to join

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Kim D

No, I'm not but I've definitely considered it. Looking forward to reading others' comments about this topic.