Wednesday, October 14, 2009

CSA - Yay!

I picked up my first ever CSA box today - what an thrilling experience! It's like Christmas, opening up that box and not knowing what you're going to find inside. (I kept saying "this is so exciting!") I was pleasantly surprised with the bounty I found. (More on that later.) I've been eagerly anticipating our first box for several weeks, so it's a wonder how I managed to forget to pick it up yesterday. Thankfully, we had 24 hours to pick it up before it's given away. So on the way home from preschool, with my 3.5-year-old and 11.5-month-old in tow, we picked up our lonely box. (Technically it had 2 other boxes to keep it company - clearly I wasn't the only one who'd forgotten - but there was a tall stack of empties sitting next to them.)

How did I get here? Well, I've been kicking around the idea of joining a CSA for some time now and after reading "The Dinner Diaries", I was inspired to finally take the plunge. A few weeks ago. I signed up with Plan B Organic Farm in Flamborough. According to their website: "Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) is a system of growing and distributing organic produce that restores the link between the farmers and city dwellers." Basically, you pay ahead of time and then every week you pick up a box full of produce from a local depot. Plan B is a multi-farm CSA, so the summer produce comes from 12 organic farms in southern Ontario. In fall and winter, it comes from "local and imported origin" although you can choose just local (that would mean slim pickin's in the dead of winter). Go to their website to see all the yummy goodies you can get in a box.

I only signed up in September, so I did a single share for Fall 2009, which spans Oct.13-Dec.31. It amounts to $25/week for 12 weeks. It's a real bargain for organic produce and saves so much effort trying to locate a good variety of local food every week. A single share is: "One week's worth of fruit and vegetables - approximately 8-10 items/week, enough for a household with 1-2 adults." To be clear, 8-10 items does not mean 1 apple, 1 pear, 2 potatoes, 1 head of lettuce, etc. Take a look at what came in my first box!

FrugalMaman's Fall CSA Box Week #1
3 red cubanelle peppers - 431 g
2 onions - 521 g
4 small potatoes - 435 g
6 beets - 558 g
5 carrots - 408 g
2 heads of broccoli - 740 g
1 bunch of spinach - 421 g
1 small bag of salad greens - 159 g
1 extra large butternut squash - 3.5 kg
1 small bag of mushrooms - 136 g
7 apples - 869 g
5 pears - 435 g
5 bananas - 728 g
Total Weight - 9.771 kg

It looks like I'm going to be kept on my toes planning meals around all this fresh produce! I know what to do with these fruits and vegetables, and luckily my family eats everything we received. (My 3.5-year-old son is very excited about all the fruit and was begging to dig in as soon as we arrived home.) I am looking forward to some delicious salads and soups over the next week. I must admit I'm a little nervous, though, about one day finding a lot of strange looking root vegetables in my box. At least this is the easy part of the season!

I intend to track how we fare with our fare. Should it work out well, I'll be signing up for a winter share.

More from the Plan B website:

Why buy produce from Plan B in the fall instead of the supermarket?
- The best selection & value of local and imported certified organic produce
- Plan B "puts local first" in the shares, with stored root crops, local greenhouse greens, and local apples all season long.
- The imported foods in your share are as fresh as you can get. They don't sit out on a store shelf losing valuable nutrients, they go straight from the cooler to you.
-Support Plan B in their ongoing work of developing a local organic farm business by buying from us year round!

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