Bird in Hand Farm

Bird in Hand Farm is an imaginary place.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The CSA Recap

Last Tuesday was the final week of the CSA season.  CSA is community supported agriculture.  Basically, you pay in advance for a box of produce from a local farm each week.  In our case it was $565 for 20 weeks.  Our CSA offered a "working share," where in exchange for 20 hours work on the farm, we get $150 back at the end of the season.  

It has been a mixed experience.  I do not know that we will contract with this particular farm again.

The cons: 
  • We did not always get what we were told would be coming.  It made it hard to plan a menu in advance.
  • Sometimes the produce was bruised, old, or just not the best quality.  I would not have purchased it at the farmer's market.  It sucks to throw out 3# of rotten potatoes the night you picked them up.
  • Some of the stuff we did not want.  No one here likes rhubarb.  And, to quote Rory, "Beets taste like dirt."  Some we did not need.  We had a ton of basil and tomatoes.  Getting more from the CSA was not helpful.
  • .Sometimes it was a challenge to eat all of it in time, especially the greens.
  • This group was not always well organized.  We did not contact them much, but when we did, they were sometimes slow to respond.  One Saturday, the farmer went up to work as arranged and there was no one there.  He finally found one of the farm workers who confirmed that he was in the right place but could not put him to work because the Volunteer Coordinator was not there.  This weekend, he again drove up and there was no power, the owner and workers were shouting at each other, and they told him that they had no work for him.  He drove 30+ miles for that?  I wonder when we will get our working share back.  I suspect it will be very delayed.
  • When we were away, we gave it away.
  • Its expensive.  Sometimes it did not appear that what was in the box was really worth $25.
  • We missed going to the farmers market, but we did not need more produce so it was silly to go most weeks.
The pros:
  • It was local.
  • it supported a small farm.
  • It was easy to pick up the box. 
  • It encouraged us to try new things: garlic skapes, tatsoi, chickory, mizuma, and a host of greens, sun chokes, tomatillos, celeriac, turban squash, etc.
  • Most of the produce was in good shape.
  • We ate a lot more vegetables.
  • We spent time in the kitchen together cooking
  • We had to carefully plan our menus.
  • It gave me the push to start this blog.
I am glad we did it. I don't regret the adventure at all.  But, knowing what I know now, I suspect that we will do some more research this winter about what other CSA's are in our area and maybe just be more adventurous at the farmer's market.


  1. My mother in law participates in a CSA. I couldn't tell you what farm it is with, but I beleive it's west of Rochester so I don't think it would really be close enough to you. She's really happy with it though. Is there a website you can look on to find a different one local to you?

  2. I'll take your rhubarb and beets! Nom...