Is CSA Right for Me?
We are super lucky to live in the Madison area, where local, organic produce can be found at farmer’s markets and some grocery stores. If you want to support local farmers, there are lots of ways to do it!
CSA is just one way and it’s a good idea to consider whether this way makes sense for you. CSA isn’t for everyone.
The members who return to our CSA year after year are a certain kind of customer whose preferences fit the CSA model well.
Consider the following questions to see if your preferences fit the CSA way:
1. Do you value high quality vegetables with real flavor?
Call me a snob, but I can’t eat tomatoes out of season anymore. They are missing flavor and depth. Harvested green, gas-ripened, traveling on a truck thousands of miles. No taste. No thanks.
Vegetables grown on our farm never travel more than 20 miles to their end destination. We harvest them, cool them down, and send them out. Fresh. From. The Field.
Freshness like that leads to fabulous taste.
And the fast field to fridge time leads to vegetables that store longer than you are used to.
Members are constantly telling us that our food tastes good, that we ruin conventional produce for them. Once you get used to the flavor of field fresh, it’s hard to go back.
If you want delicious vegetable ingredients to create your meals, CSA can do that.
2. Does the relationship with the farmer who grows your food matter to you?
By joining as a member of our farm, you know who grows your food.
You’ll learn about our life and our kids. Each bite you take ties you to us and knowing that you directly support our farm family.
You can meet us. Share a meal with us. Walk the fields where your food is grown.
You’ll feel guilty if you don’t eat all your veggies, because you’ll know how hard we worked to produce them.
If you are craving an intimacy with your food and the hands that grow it, CSA can do that.
3. Do you want to taste and use new vegetables?
Successful CSA membership means an openness to new vegetables.
We grow around 50 different types of vegetables – we can help expand your veggie pallet, but you have to be ready for that adventure.
You are going to discover some vegetables that you love! You are also going to encounter new vegetables that you hate.
If you are up for the experience, the scale usually tips in favor of finding more new foods to enjoy.
Our members tell us over and over that one of the things they love about CSA is that they now cook with and enjoy vegetables they never would have tried otherwise. Their now-favorite meal showcases a vegetable they’d never heard of before CSA.
4. Are you willing to learn to eat the CSA way?
Eating the CSA way is going to teach you to do two things that are probably new to you: to eat veggie densely and to eat with seasonal ingredients.
You want to get healthy? You want to reach that goal of each meal having half veggies on the plate? CSA can help you do this. Undoubtedly. Each box you receive will be packed with high quality vegetables to make healthy meals.
Eating the CSA way also means eating seasonally. That means making meals with what’s available. What’s fresh right now. And that means your typical recipes based on grocery store-type availability won’t always work.
I’m not going to lie. Transitioning to veggie dense, seasonal cooking has a learning curve. Most of us, including myself, weren’t taught to cook this way. And like learning anything new, it takes time.
You have to prepare yourself to be challenged. You have to be excited about trying new recipes and shaking up your kitchen menu.
We’ll provide loads of resources and recipes to help you do this. But remember, most our members say it’s not until their 2nd season where they feel like they really get the hang of using all the vegetables in their box.
Once you transition to this style of eating and cooking, it’s so rewarding for both your health and your pallet.
5. Do you need control in the weekly menu plan?
Even with the ability to customize your share, your vegetable choices will always be limited by what’s available in the field.
Grocery stores offer constant availability of most vegetables by sourcing them from all different locations of the country and continent. That’s not what CSA does.
If you want to have spinach in a meal every single week, that’s not going to happen with CSA. Spinach is grown in the spring and the early fall in Wisconsin. If you want spinach in your salad regularly, CSA may not be for you.
CSA requires flexibility in your menus and your kitchen.
CSA cultivates a sense of treasuring and savoring the flavors of now. Nothing tastes so good as the first cucumber of the season. And just when you begin to take cucumbers for granted, they are gone. This is the nature of eating seasonally. But it’s not for everyone.
6. Does need CSA to be a deal?
We’ve had members tell us that they compared the value of what they got in their boxes to what those same items would cost in the grocery store, and the savings were big. We grow quality organic produce and try to reward you for supporting us with great value.
However, joining us just for the deal isn’t always the best idea.
There’s risk inherent in farming, and if you join, you join knowing that come hail or flood, maybe we won’t be able to provide you the best deal in town. To be a member of CSA means to join us for the bounty AND the risk.
Also, customization (while an awesome way to give you more choice as a member) forces us to try and price tag a system that doesn’t follow conventional price tagging. We are going to fill your box with what’s ready and available – an early season box, full of leafy greens, won’t have near the same value as a box in late August plush with high-value tomatoes and peppers.
If you are type that wants to know an exact value and make sure everything is equal in value across every box each week, CSA isn’t for you. Our value lens is scoped-out and seasonal.
So, is CSA for you?
If you’ve read through these questions, and think – yes! I want to eat healthy. I want freshness and flavor. I want to discover. I’m up for a challenge. I can let go of some control and open up for creativity and exploration. I’m ready to try this alternative way to buy and eat food. We hope you’ll take the next step and join!
But hey, if you have discovered that CSA’s not your bag, we get it. CSA isn’t for everyone. We really appreciate the time you’ve taken to read through this and think about what fits you best.
CSA is just one way to support the local, organic movement. There are others out there like the coops and farmers’ market.
We just want to make sure that you know what to expect from CSA before you join. After all, achieving satisfaction and success with an experience starts first with getting your expectations in line with what the opportunity can offer.
CSA is not mainstream. What we do is different. It’s special. CSA can change how you think and feel about your food and who grows it forever. It can be a rich, meaningful, satisfying experience.
You Ready for This?
If you’ve decided that CSA makes sense for you, joining is easy!
Click HERE to sign-up.