Tag Archives: CSA

The Price of (Healthy) Food

Today is Monday and, as every Pinto-Atticus family knows, that means that Newsweek is coming in the mail.  And from the looks of its preview articles online, the main story this week is about the Food Gap in America.  You know, things like:  “How is it that Americans on welfare are at a huge statistical risk of being obese?”  or “The new American elitism–buying local/organic.”

I’m hugely interested in the whole thing, to tell you the truth.  But, I’m especially interested in, of course, what a “healthy” diet costs.

Last year, I did the great CSA experiment wherein I discovered that for a family of 2 living in semi-rural Oregon, paying $500 for a produce share in a local organic farm actually kept our total food costs the same or up to $25 a week lower (including that initial big pay-out into the analysis).

Which was innnnteresting.

Today, I bring you another tidbit from the fruits of my research on the cost of a healthy, American food budget. Continue reading

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CSA Experiment update:

Mmmm. Veggies

Mmmm. Veggies

For the past two weeks, our weekly CSA farm notes have been apologetic, assuring us that they were just waiting for some more sunny days to let the vegetables take off and then we’d “see the boxes fill.”  This was a bit of a shocker since we already were overwhelmed with the “lightly loaded boxes.”  Well, this past Friday, we got a little hint of what a full box means*…

And I’m shocked but giddy to report that our grocery bill for this entire week was exactly: $10.23 

Actually, our Saturday “reload” bill was only $5.03 for the week, but then we concocted an “Iron Chef” competition with some friends to help us use up the vegetables before we head to CA on Friday.  We decided to make a veggie lasagna…and well…the cheese put us over $10 for the week.  That’s just what cheese does.

BUT STILL!  I mean, we honestly did not need anything other than milk, bread, and a $1 can of spaghetti sauce on Saturday.  Crazy.

CSAs: Forcing you gleefully into a rockin’ budget since the 1980s.**

*Namely, 3 huge cucumbers (the best I’ve ever had.  Ever.), 2 pints of blueberries, one HUGE walla walla onion, a bunch of green onions, 2 heads of lettuce, 6 large tomatoes, huge zuchinni, huge summer squash, 13 carrots, 2 head broccoli, 1 head cauliflower, 7 beets, parsley.  That’s in addition to the veggies we still had from the week before: 5 carrots, 1/2 onion, 2 bunches of green onions, swiss chard, summer squash, 6 turnips, 3 beets, 1/2 pint of strawberries, and a whole lotta snap peas.

**”Community supported agriculture began in the early 1960s in Germany, Switzerland, and Japan as a response to concerns about food safety and the urbanization of agricultural land. Groups of consumers and farmers in Europe formed cooperative partnerships to fund farming and pay the full costs of ecologically sound, socially equitable agriculture. In Europe many of the CSA style farms were inspired by the economic ideas of Rudolf Steiner and experiments with community agriculture took place on farms using biodynamic agriculture. In 1965, mothers in Japan concerned about the rise of imported food and the loss of arable land started the first CSA projects, called teikei (提携) in Japanese – most likely unrelated to the developments in Europe.

The idea took root in the United States in 1984, when Jan Vander Tuin brought the concept of CSA to North America from Europe.”  ~Wiki Pedia

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The CSA Experiment

It's always loaded

It's always loaded

As you may have followed, Atticus and I decided to pay some booku bucks in March for a 19 week series of weekly farm boxes, filled with local, organic vegetables and berries.  Not only was this an experiment in 1)finding new flavors and dishes to make, 2)learning what and when things are in season around here, and 3) just getting more produce into our diet. 

This was a financial experiment as well.

Abstract:  Disregarding health benefits (organic/produce) or community economy aide (money to local farm), will paying $26 a week for vegetables help or hurt our specific grocery budget?  Will it simply mean $100 extra spent each month, or will we actually save $26 or more a week to balance the purchase?

Six weeks in, I have some interesting results and conclusions. Continue reading

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Limerick Update

Concluded:  Blogging is directly proportional to a) the amount of free time you have when within 50 feet of a laptop with a wireless connection, b) having it assigned for your Writing course -you’re welcome, my students!- or c) a combination of both.

Thusly speaking, I have not had opportunities for a, b, or c recently and therefore, the posting has suffered greatly.  But, you should know, gentle reader, that it’s not you, it’s me.

And now, I give you a series of limericks to catch everyone up (friends, family, lurkers) on my ever so fascinating life. Continue reading

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C.S.A. stands for…

Community Supported Agriculture

AND

Cheerful Spousal Approval

(after my well-presented excel spreadsheet calculations of reasons we should be part of it)

AND

Current Spending Action

(since I ran out the door to sign up and pay for our farm share 5 minutes later…and it was a big hit to the pocket…but will save us money in the 5-month long run if we can stay disciplined.  Actually, we could have done a monthly billing and made it less drastic, but we had the money saved so I decided to just put it all down and stop worrying.)

AND

Continuous Summer Arrivals

(of local, fresh, varied produce in large weekly quantities from June to October)

AND

Culinary Support ASAP!

(since I have no clue how one eats a fennel bulb, bok choy, parsnips…)

YET, EVEN SO, I

Cannot Stand (the wait till our first) Arrivals!

We’ll be getting most of our veggies (and hopefully most of our grocery bill’s worth of food) from a beautiful place called Winter Green Farm this summer.  Continue reading

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