Tammy Donroe lists local farms that sell shares in their output, says you need to be thinking about signing up now, because shares sometimes sell out as early as February (just like Sox tickets).
Unsecured creditor. Ie, what you are if you fork over a couple hundred bucks to any of these CSAs and they implode. You will be absolutely last in line when what little assets they have are divided up by bankruptcy court.
You won't have any trouble finding a CSA in late march or early April. May? Yeah, that's gonna be a bit tough.
To get on the list, you first have to attend an orientation in March.
Are they serious? On top of that, they want $50 for a "new membership" fee? I have to be a member and sit in a classroom to buy groceries from them?
For those with lives- check out Boston Organics. Much of the same end result, but a more efficient and technologically advanced operation. Watch the prices, however- in many cases, Peapod and others will beat them. Peapod has a growing collection of organic goods...
Or, you know, just go to the local grocery store, where farms have magically delivered their goods and they are available for inspection and selection in quantities you prefer, at the hour of your choosing...a shocking concept!
I hadn't thought of the unsecured creditor problem.
Still, I don't know how big a risk that is. And farm shares can have value beyond the transaction of grocery purchase. My ex-girlfriend had a share, and going out to the farm was like a lifestyle event.
You share in the risk as well as the gain. I haven't heard of any who were running a pyramid scheme or who otherwise weren't planning to try to make it work that year. Sure, it's a trust exercise -- I was leery my first time because this was some guy I'd never heard of before -- but if you can't afford to maybe lose that money if there is very bad luck, or you hit a scam (never heard of one, doesn't mean there aren't any) a farm share may not be the right choice for you.
I have been a member of the Stillman's Farm CSA for over 5 years and I have to say it has been well worth the money. Initially, I remember thinking that $250 was a lot to pony up in advance for produce but I changed my tune after my first year.
I am sold on CSAs for a number of reasons:
*I am directly supporting a local farm (less than 150 miles away) that practices sustainable agriculture.
*I get to meet the farmers who grow my food and exchange recipes, pick their brains about how to manage my own vegetable garden, etc.
*I get to try fruits/vegetables that I would have been afraid to try (like kholrabi) and I get introduced to a wide variety of heirloom products.
We get a half share and, with the exception of the first few weeks of the season, get a full box of all kinds of fresh, non-gmo produce. The family that runs Stillman's is great and fairly accommodating too, like if we don't want anymore eggplant we can take extra tomatoes/beans/whatever...
I agree that many grocery stores have improved their selection of organic produce. However, I don't see the appeal of eating a tomato trucked in from California/Mexico/Columbia during the height of the growing season in New England.
Hey, nobody's twisting your arm.
The C is for Community. If all you're in it for is the cheapest possible box of vegetables, you're better off at Stop 'N Shop.
I used to live on the Food Bank Farm in Hadley. Best time ever. Spreading moldy hay in 100-degree weather on a Saturday rawks when you're among farmers.
Beyond excess kale and occasional tomato crop failures, do you have any evidence of what you are saying people should fear here? Or, absent an actual supply of reasons to be concerned given the decades long track record of CSAs (fearproduct), do you just want people to buy a share in your fearmongering operation and receive boxes of fear throughout the summer?
You are quite welcome to not participate in a CSA. I haven't in the past for several reasons and have gone to the farmer's markets instead. Unfortunately, I think your post indicates that you assume that people who do participate in CSAs are blind to the reality of what they are getting into just because they don't share your decision. That simply isn't true in my experience.
As mentioned above, investing in a CSA is NOT buying vegetables. You are investing in the farm for a growing season. There is a difference, and most investors in CSAs know that. You get a vegetable dividend in whatever gets grown and sent to you. What those veggies end up being may depend on what grows well in a particular year. Again, people understand this going in.
So ... if you want to just buy groceries or go to the farmer's markets, go ahead. If you want to invest in a local farm so that the land is there, the farm is there, and the farmers stay in business year after year, and you can buy locally grown produce - and get overwhelmed with leafy things in late July - go ahead and buy a share.
Brett: As far as I know, the farmers aren't sitting around concocting elaborate get-rich-quick schemes. Paying for your produce pre-season allows them to have money up front to buy seeds and tools. Dirt. Lottery tickets. Things like that. Sure, if there's a really bad year weather-wise, you may not realize your money's full worth, but you could argue that having a stake in that is good for a community, not bad. Why should the farmer take on 100% of the risk of feeding you?
We've always gotten more than our money's worth at our CSA, and I'm going to be super-pissed if I find out you stole my spot!
Anyone have a list of farms like this in SE Mass?
Best thing would probably be to look at localharvest.org and put in your zip code to find farms in your area with CSA shares. I've been a member of a Boston-area farm for about 8 years now, and love it.
I seem to remember a CSA that delivered to Constitution Beach in East Boston on Saturdays. Does anyone know which one this was or of another CSA with deliver to the East Boston area?
This is something they have every year, from April through October. It's worth it, because one can get some good, cheap produce and not have to always resort to going to places such as Whole Foods, which is notoriously overpriced, imho.
CSA = Community-Supported Agriculture
My personal agricultural option = fries vs onion rings.
Harry Mattison talks up Dragonfly Farms, which will deliver your veggies each week to the Allston Farmers Market.