Sunday, August 21, 2011

Community Supported Agriculture

Have you ever wondered how fresh your produce is when you buy it at the supermarket? My grandparents had a small farm when I was a kid and I remember how good the freshly picked fruit and vegetables tasted. Someday I would love to grow my own vegetable garden. But for someone who lives in large metropolitan area like LA it is not really an option, at least not for me anyway. So, I had too look for other options.

With that thought in mind we decided to try out the fresh produce delivery from a local farm. This is what they call joining a CSA. I've been thinking about this for some time, talking to people who've done it and just comparing our options online. A number of my friends signed up for Farm Fresh to You deliveries and have been more than satisfied with their fruit and veggie boxes. So I thought why not give it a try? It's all organic produce delivered to your door directly from the farm so it is much fresher than stuff at the stores and the prices are quite reasonable as well ($25 for the small box and up).

I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to navigate my way through their website. They offer a variety of options and the information on all of them is very clear. Another thing I like about FFTY is the flexibility you get. There are no commitments, you can cancel any time and you don't get charged until your box is delivered. You are able to customize about anything - the size of your box, its contents, how often you want it delivered, and even pick the day of the week when you want your delivery. With your account on the website you choose which fruit and veggies you don't want to find in your box (and that can be changed whenever you want). They also post a list of produce for each week so you know what you're getting and can plan ahead. This definitely helps when planning meals for the week.

Now about the value. I made a rough cost comparison for what I got in my box if I were to buy all that elsewhere. And again, I was pleasantly surprised. At FFTY I paid 31.50 for a medium sized box and it would have cost me around $40 to buy all that produce at the local super market. Besides, most of it would not have been certified organic so I am pleased with the value. As far as quality, the fruit was ripe and yummy, veggies fresh and crisp. We really enjoyed our farm produce box.

One more thing I wanted to mention is the 'community support' part of our decision to join a CSA. Let's say you don't care whether or not your produce is organic, maybe you're very good at finding deals so the price margin is not your problem and let's assume that in your mind the supermarket fresh is as fresh as the produce can get... What can you get out of this whole farm delivery program is you support local farmers. To some people (including myself) this is a big deal.

The bottom line is that I found myself in a win-win-win situation: fresh local produce at a good price delivered to your door and support to the local farmers. It doesn't get better than this :)

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