Why should you join a CSA? Week 2: Cost efficient

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This week we’ll show you how joining a CSA can be cost efficient for you and your family.

One of the tenants of a CSA is paying all of the money up front, at the start of the season, for a share of produce on a periodic (usually weekly) basis.  So by the time you begin receiving produce in June, the costs you’ve incurred are already sunk costs and you may not think of them.  But if average out the cost of our 1/2 share (our most popular item) over the course of the season, our members are paying $19/week.

Let me illustrate the deal our members are receiving: Because our members care about locally-sourced and chemical-free produce, we’ll compare a week of produce through the CSA share to a week of produce purchased at a farmer’s market (vs. a grocery store, so we’re comparing apples-to-apples instead of apples-to-oranges).  In Week 10 (August), members can expect to receive the following:

  • Parsley
  • Beans
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Leek
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Apples
  • Lettuce
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet peppers

Our 1/2 share has enough produce to feed a family of 2 for the week (and quite honestly a family of four with 2 smaller children are likely to have enough with this share!).   Buying this same quantity of the above-produce at a farmer’s market, on average, would cost $29.  But our members are paying $19!

This is in line with a 2013 study done by Utah State University, which  found one group of individuals who attended farmer’s markets 4-7 times per year, spent an average of $26.80 each week at the market. A separate group who frequented farmer’s markets 8-12 times per year spent an average of $67.97 per week.  So our members can skip the trip to the farmer’s market and save money!

Finally, while a head of lettuce at the store may cost only 49 cents, that price doesn’t reflect any of the hidden costs, like federal subsidies, pesticide regulation and testing, and hazardous waste and clean up.  But more on that next week.

Image credit: FreeImages.com/Matteo Canessa

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Why should you join a CSA? Week 1: New Vegetables

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be telling you all the great reasons why you should join a CSA. The first benefit of a CSA? Trying new vegetables!

 

Did you know the average Wisconsin adult intakes vegetables 1.5 times per day, but the recommended intake is 8 cups of fruits and vegetables per day? In 2010, the US Department of Agriculture modified the old food pyramid and released MyPlate, which recommends half your plate be filled with fruits and vegetables.

 

According to WebMD, diets that are high in whole foods are associated in a reduction in cardiovascular disease, cancers, and type 2 diabetes. In addition, vegetables are relatively low in calories, which can replace high calorie foods and aid in weight loss.

 

Trying new vegetables can teach your children healthy habits. Eating vegetables in a variety of colors can make trying something new more fun and gives the family a broad range of nutrients.

 

So how can you use these new vegetables? We’ll be providing you newsletters each week with some common preparation methods for all our vegetables that week, as well as some featured recipes. But here are some additional recommendations from Fruits and Veggies More Matters.Org, which is a joint effort between a non-profit and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to help spread the word about health benefits of adding more fruits and vegetables to your diet:

 

  • Sauté mixed vegetables
  • Try spinach salad with dried cranberries, mandarin oranges and red onions with your favorite vinaigrette
  • Roast a whole head of garlic to make a spread for an appetizer or sandwich
  • Steam edamame for a fun snack
  • Make a Greek-inspired salad: romaine lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, chickpeas, black olives, and artichoke hearts
  • Make confetti coleslaw: shredded green and red cabbage, grated carrots, julienned kohlrabi and chopped peppers
  • Make a Mexican pizza with tortillas, refried beans, salsa, and Jack cheese
  • Add vegetables to a stir fry, soup or stew, or frittata
  • Make pizza for breakfast with an English muffin, tomato sauce, scrambled egg and fresh spinach, topped with melted cheese
  • Try some different veggie toppings on your pizza
    • Eggplant & black olives
    • Pineapple & onions
    • Peppers & mushrooms
    • Tomato & spinach
    • Broccoli & green olives