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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