To CSA…

…or not to CSA – that is my current dilemma!

We participated in a CSA two summers ago. Because we have a tendency to “go all in” AND be frugal we signed up for a weekly CSA, which was going to supposedly provide enough vegetables for two vegetarian meals/week for a family of four OR enough for an entire week of veggie sides. We figured we could freeze/can/preserve the extras to enjoy during the off-season. Because that sounds reasonable, right?

As with everything we plan – it didn’t go according to plan. I didn’t realize just how many greens we’d be getting at the beginning and end of the growing season! Combine all those greens with the fact that not much else was available at the beginning of the season and I had decided that since we were spending so much on the CSA that we wouldn’t be supplanting with veggie purchases made elsewhere with the exception of onions and potatoes, of course, or if we were having dinner guests – because tangled webs are the only ones I weave 😉 Suffice it to say I was pretty sick of lettuce by the time our CSA ended.

Another thing I didn’t anticipate was all the time I would spend meal planning, prepping, and preserving all our goodies. While it was fun and interesting at the beginning when everything was novel and Monster napped three or four times a day, by the last month I felt I was in survival mode just trying to keep food from spoiling and at that point Monster was down to two naps a day and it felt like all my free time was spent dealing with those gosh-darn veggies!

So the following year we decided to just skip the CSA. Instead we’d grow our own garden full of our favorite vegetables. What could be more convenient, right? Any vegetables we didn’t grow but wanted/needed would be purchased from a local farmer’s market. But then we put the garden in late and I never weeded it because there wasn’t enough time in the day and so it our garden died a slow painful death by weeds. And we only visited the local farmer’s market once, for a play date, and all I purchased was apple cider and ginger (which was grown in China – so much for local, eh?).

Are you still there? Most riveting blog post ever, amiright? Assuming at least one of you didn’t click away or doze off from boredom I’ll wrap this up.

Here’s what I’m thinking for this year – bi-weekly CSA membership AND growing a small vegetable/herb garden. Anyone have experience doing this, especially with a three-year old underfoot? Can it be done without losing the little sanity I have left? The factor in our favor for this year is that P will officially be done with school in May, so I like to pretend he’ll be home more to help out. But since nothing ever goes how we plan, he’ll probably get a new job that will require lots of travel or something – so for the purpose of my sanity let’s assume me and Monster would do the majority of the gardening. Is a rambunctious little boy + a garden a recipe for disaster?

Tell me what you think. I’m all ears.

My little CSA helper

My little CSA helper

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4 thoughts on “To CSA…

  1. I think he’ll think it’s so cool that you can eat what you grow. I have a few posts to help with things like this so if you do go back to CSA full time or get stuck with a bi-weekly delivery, let me know.

  2. Go for it Lynn! What’s the worst that can happen? You don’t use all the veggies, give to the neighbors, or they can make great mulch for your garden next year, besides, monster will probably love digging in the dirt, even if he digs up the plants, it will be a terrific memory. Good Luck!,,, Aunt Tricia

  3. I think you have expressed the biggest value of a CSA in a nutshell here. The box comes every (or every other) week, so you are committed, but it you simply resolve to go to farmer’s markets, or eat better, or garden, life can get in the way. I think that the every other week box might be the right answer for you. Volume is probably the biggest challenge when you are new to this. If the variety was poor, sometimes a different CSA might make a difference. We actually do two and one is much better than the other on that. I do sympathize with the tons of lettuce though. I swear that someday I am going to figure out lettuce soup! (But if you get arugula, that works great in pesto which can go in the freezer). Good luck in your decision!

  4. Raised beds can cut down on the weeding…… And I had a friend who lined the paths between rows with cardboard to keep the weeds in check! There’s a good chance that a three year old will also be a pretty good helper 😉

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