This year instead of making resolutions, my little family of three decided to adopt a word.
This past weekend, with community supported agriculture brochures fanned out in front of us, my husband and I took our first steps toward doing more.
More fresh. More local. More sustainable.
Each farm works its CSA program differently. Most programs, however, ask shareholders to front money in the spring, then provide a weekly supply of farm fresh products throughout the growing season. Some farms have shareholders pick up a prepacked box or bag of produce at either a farm or a specified location each week. Others give shareholders credit to their farm stands or markets so they can choose which products they want to receive.
The type of CSA that will work for your family depends a lot on your fresh food needs.
We are omnivores, but eat mostly vegetarian. Dinners are usually cooked at home and include homemade pizza at least once a week.
Most of our food is purchased from our local Hannaford, but we order dairy and beef from Siberia Farms in Hermon every few months. They deliver to our home, and we love going out to the farm on occasion and meeting “the ladies” (the latte-colored Jersey milk cows.)
Life gets busy in the summer, so we knew we needed a CSA that offered either pick up or home delivery.
It also had to make financial sense.
Our average grocery bill right now is about $130 a week and that includes “optional items” like alcohol, dog food and containers of cheese and stuffed peppers from the olive bar. If we cut out the excess, our total would probably be around $80 a week so we tried to keep that in mind when considering investing upwards of $400 up front for a few months of veggies.
Ultimately, we settled on a 16 week vegetable CSA from Misty Brook Farm in Albion for $352 that we will pick up once a week at the Bangor Farmer’s Market. The drop off CSA gives us the flexibility to either pick up our box and jet, or stick around the market and shop more.
I’m not a huge math person. Hello, professional writer. So, when I saw how much our total upfront costs this spring would be, my heart skipped a beat until I broke the numbers down further.
We’ll be spending about $1,400. But, that includes:
16 weeks of fresh veggies ($352)
A gallon of milk and a dozen eggs a week ($520)
12 pounds of beef, chicken and pork a month for six months ($522)
Side note: We know we won’t eat 12 pounds of meat a month so we’re hoping to freeze most of it and stretch our six month share over the rest of the year.
I would wager if we bought local, organic vegetables; grass-raised beef, chicken and pork; and humanely raised eggs and milk from our local grocery store, we’d be spending a whole lot more than $1,400.
And that my friends is how the Feulner family is doing more and buying more.