It's a Makes Me Happy Monday, and keeping with the subject of buying food that we talked about yesterday. today we're going to talk about CSA's.
If you're not familiar with it, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and it's a pretty simple setup: You pay a set fee upfront to a local farm or co-op and in return, you get a certain poundage of fresh produce every week throughout the summer and harvest seasons.
Usually there's quite a variety of items, as you always get whatever is freshest and ready to be picked. Some CSA's have an option allowing you to participate in the growing/harvesting process, which might appeal to those with children for the educational aspect as well.
My CSA makes me very happy! We're currently nearing the end of the run on our local CSA; this was our second year participating. Hands down, this is one of the most cost-effective ways to get fresh produce I've ever found. There's no way I'd ever get what we got for the price we paid if I had to buy it retail - even from the farm stand that runs the program! It has been an excellent option for us and we plan to sign up again next year.
Disclaimer: CSA's are not for everyone. You do not get to choose what produce you receive, and you do have to be able to pick up your share each week. However, I believe that the cost effectiveness of the program is well worth those minor inconveniences.