Our CSA 2011 review

So yesterday I actually went to the grocery store and wrote down prices for a huge list of items.  I looked like a shopping spy and I think Joe wanted to disown me!  I didn’t get prices for a few things which just aren’t available in the store and I forgot a couple of other things but here is a recap of all the produce we received this year during our CSA season and an approximate guess as to what it may have cost us in-store to purchase all of these items.  Keep in mind that it is just my rough estimate, I didn’t weigh each item to get exact amounts (I did weigh a few things in the later weeks when I knew I was going to make this post, but for the most part I am guessing and I’m the lady who thought our 20lb cat was only like 15lb…so keep that in mind – I’m not a perfect judge on how much things weigh… although I am more familiar with produce than with cat weighing!) and a couple of prices are just a guess (for example the sprouts I used the same price of mixed sprouts for all 3 types even though the type doesn’t match exactly and I counted the braising mix bags as equivalent to salad mix bags since you can’t purchase braising mix in the grocery store).  Not to mention that I used just normal grocery store prices for almost everything and the items we got in our share were local, fresh and basically organic.  Like I mentioned before I don’t think they are certified but they do not use pesticides so I consider them a step above store food in that regard and probably worth a bit more.

Joe and I tried out a half-share of produce this year.  The season ran for 18 weeks and we got our produce every second week for a total of 9 shares.  It cost us $165 which came out to $18.33 per share.

Share 1 (total for the week: $29.15)

  • 1 large leaf lettuce ($1.69)
  • 1 bunch green onion ($0.99)
  • 1 kohlrabi ($4.99)
  • mizuna ($1.50)
  • kale ($2.99)
  • sorrel ($2.99)
  • 3 bok choi ($2.53)
  • braising mix ($3.49)
  • bean sprouts ($1.99)
  • garlic scapes ($2.99)
  • 1 bunch of radishes ($3.00)

Share 2 (total for the week: $25.16)

  • Chard ($2.99)
  • Head Lettuce ($1.69)
  • Salad Mix ($3.49)
  • Cauliflower ($1.69)
  • Basil ($2.99)
  • Green Onion ($0.99)
  • Snap Peas ($3.50)
  • Shell Peas ($3.50)
  • Braising Mix ($3.49)
  • 1 Green Pepper ($0.83)

Share 3 (total for the week: $27.47)

  • 4 baby bok choi ($2.50)
  • Rainbow chard ($2.99)
  • 1 large kohlrabi ($4.99)
  • Green Onions($0.99)
  • 1 Green Pepper ($0.83)
  • Cherry tomatoes ($2.50)
  • thyme/basil ($2.99)
  • 1 head lettuce ($1.69)
  • Braising mix ($3.49)
  • Fava beans ($4.50)

Share 4 (total for the week: $22.62)

  • Eggplant ($1.75)
  • Tomato variety ($3.50)
  • Parsley ($1.25)
  • Basil ($2.99)
  • 1 Yellow squash ($0.62)
  • 1 Cucumber ($0.79)
  • Kale ($2.99)
  • 1 Bunch Beats ($2.50)
  • Radicchio ($3.99)
  • 4 Pearl onions ($0.55)
  • 1 Head Lettuce ($1.69)

Share 5 (total for the week: $28.88)

  • Lots of Tomatoes ($6.00)
  • 3 Large Carrots ($1.25)
  • 1 Onion ($0.30)
  • 1 Garlic ($0.25)
  • Eggplant ($1.50)
  • 2 jalapenos ($0.37)
  • 6 Summer Squash ($2.49)
  • Sorrel ($2.99)
  • Basil (lots!) ($6.00)
  • Mint ($2.99)
  • Parsley ($1.25)
  • Escarole ($3.49)

Share 6 (total for the week $22.82)

  • Kale ($2.49)
  • Brussels sprout tops ($1.50)
  • 2lb Cherry Tomatoes ($8.00)
  • 2 squash ($2.49)
  • 2 large zucchini ($1.99)
  • 1.5lb Potatoes ($1.10)
  • 2 Garlic ($0.50)
  • 2 Onions ($0.50)
  • Fennel ($2.00)
  • Parsley ($1.25)
  • 2 Cucumbers ($1.00)

Share 7 (total for the week $20.03)

  • Large bunch of carrots ($1.69)
  • 2 apples ($1.00)
  • 1lb cherry tomatoes ($4.00)
  • 2 onions ($0.50)
  • 1.5lb potatoes ($1.10)
  • Parsley ($1.25)
  • 1 jalapeno ($0.20)
  • cilantro ($1.29)
  • 2 cucumbers ($1.00)
  • 2lb green cherry tomatoes ($8.00)

Share 8 (total for the week: $15.93)

  • Tomatillos ($5.00)
  • 6 apples ($3.00)
  • Large bunch of carrots ($1.69)
  • Sprouts ($1.99)
  • Spaghetti Squash ($1.50)
  • Tomatoes ($2.50)
  • 1 jalapeno ($0.25)

Share 9 (total for the week: $13.38)

  • 1lb sweet potatoes ($1.29)
  • 1 Large bunch of Carrots ($1.69)
  • Oregano ($2.99)
  • Parsley ($1.25)
  • Clover sprouts ($1.99)
  • Kale ($2.99)
  • 2 acorn squash ($1.18)

The grand approximate total for the whole cost of the produce we received is $205.44 which comes out to $22.82 per share. So we got local, fresh produce grown without pesticides and crazy chemicals for the same price or less than we could have purchased the same produce from the store.  If we had purchased a full share it would have been an even bigger savings (that came out to about $16.00/week), and if I had compared it to our Co-Op/organic prices it would have been an even more incredible savings.  We used and ate almost everything in our share although we did have trouble using some of the produce we got because we were less familiar with it, and a couple of things we ended up not using in time or I cooked badly (I tried to cook the radicchio and failed miserably!)… so a couple of things did end up going to the chickens (and the rabbits got to eat a couple of the apples too!) but nothing was remotely wasted because those chickens love produce and they need to eat too so they were happy to have it!  I think next year I’ll be better at using the produce that we get and planning meals around it so we use even more of it and now we’ve seen some new kinds of vegetables so we will know what to do with them better (like beets and kohlrabi and fava beans-which I just loved but had never cooked any of those before!).  I think next year I’d also like to dry some of the herbs to save for the winter. I did dry some of the greens this year to add to spaghetti sauces etc. and I made pickles with the cucumbers (although we haven’t tried them yet!).  So I could have done a little bit better about preserving some of it to save for later as well.

Some of my favourites of the season included: sprouts, fava beans (I could eat these and the sprouts everyday), beets (beets and hotdogs mmm!), lettuce, basil (for pesto and pizza!), potatoes, carrots, squash, eggplant, peas, cauliflower, garlic/onions and the brussel sprout tops.  Some of my least favourites were: kohlrabi (new to us so I didn’t cook it the best, but next year I will do better!), parsley, cucumber (but I like pickles so I hope they turned out ok), tomatoes and a couple of the more bitter greens.  I generally do like tomatoes cooked so when we roasted them or added them to a meal I loved them… I just don’t like raw tomatoes very much so that is the only reason it is less of a favourite… most of the time we cooked them though and they were great!

Overall it was a great experience and I’d love to do it again, it was nice to know where our food was coming from and to see some new kinds of things that we may not have seen otherwise! Next year Joe and I plan to run a marathon in June and Joe has his full Iron-Man triathlon in September so we’ll be looking to eat well for all of that training and vegetables are a perfect thing to have!


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