Update on CSA Delivery

May 29, 2008

Late last night I got another email from the guy who does the deliveries. He informed me he got to the store too late, it had already closed. Duh! Like we hadn’t figured THAT out!

Supposedly he’s going to drop the baskets off this morning. The store opens at 10am, so The Farmer can go pick it up before his dentist appointment today. (Lucky Farmer!)

And, also supposedly, he’s going to start delivering by noon so the baskets can be picked up any time after that, because in his words, the afternoon drop-off “just doesn’t leave enough time for anything out of the ordinary to happen and get taken care of.”

It took him three weeks to figure that out??? Apologies aside, why did he ever think that would work in the first place? If everyone didn’t get there at the same time, like minutes before the store closed, you missed the delivery and wasted your time, gas and money. (I might also mention that we were never told at what time the delivery would be made anyway, just what day.)

I hope this goes smoother for the rest of the season.

Waiting on CSA Deliveries

May 28, 2008

I had hoped to have a picture to put on here this evening of our latest batch of goodies from our CSA (Community Suported Agriculture) membership. This is our third week, and frankly, it’s not going as well as I’d hoped. It’s not the goodies we’re getting that’s the problem, but trying to connect to get them!

First off, they deliver to various areas. When we signed up, we understood there was going to be a drop-off in the town where The Farmer works. Before I ever signed us up, he agreed to pick the food up on his lunch hour, or after work, so no problem there.

The first glitch was the drop-off point. The store which is the pick-up point isn’t in the same town at all, but in the next one over. Okay, we made that adjustment, though it makes it harder and less cost effective since he has to drive further to pick it up.

The next problem is the timing. The first week the guy delivering the food baskets had to work through the delivery day, and stuff didn’t get delivered until the next day. Okay, beginning of the season, glitches happen, move on.

The next week the Farmer called to check if the food had been delivered before going to pick it up. He called right before he left work, and it still wasn’t there. Evidently the guy came soon after, and the storeowner called The Farmer on his cell phone to let him know the food was there, but he was already on his way home. Considering he was more than half way home and considering the price of gas, he didn’t turn around but figured he’d pick it up the next day.

Here we are on the third week, and due to Memorial Day our delivery date was changed again, and we could live with that, but it’s not knowing what time of day the stuff will be there that’s a major problem. The store closes at 5pm, and The Farmer was there at 4:30 this evening, and the guy still hadn’t delivered the stuff. I suppose he made it there before closing time, but then how is anyone supposed to get their stuff until the next day?

That means the greens and vegetables are going to sit in their basket yet another day. I understand they have to be picked one day and delivered the next, but the way it’s going, it’s the following evening of the third day before I finally get them. The produce has lost quite a bit of freshness by that time, especially since it’s not being refrigerated.

Maybe this is how all CSA’s are run, and maybe it works for people who can drop everything to go pick stuff up whenever they get around to delivering it, but it’s not working that well for us. The timing needs to be consistent. I’m beginning to regret I ever signed up for this. It’s not cheap, but for FRESH veggies I figured it was worth it.

If this doesn’t get better, I’m afraid I’m going to feel like it’s not worth the extra expense and trouble for tired vegetables. And if I feel that way, and really wanted to do this, seems like it would be awfully tough to get people just learning to appreciate eating fresh vegetables to bother with it.

How about it, how does this work for other people? Am I expecting too much, or are there better ways of doing this?

Community Supported Agriculture…

September 2, 2007

… Or more about “Buy Local Now!”

Having been a proponent of organic farming, sustainable agriculture and such for years – I practically teethed on Organic Farming and Mother Earth News magazines! – I often forget that not everyone is familiar with such things. Sometimes it’s due to a lack of exposure, such as people who have always lived in cities and never had the opportunity to garden or farm. Sometimes people have just flat out never heard of such a thing. Other times, it’s just a lack of interest.

However, as more and more people become educated about the importance of the food we put in our bodies, they are taking an interest in where their food comes from and learning more about these things, including Community Supported Agriculture.

This great idea has been around for some time. Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is defined on the USDA’s website as “a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production.

Typically, members or “share-holders” of the farm or garden pledge in advance to cover the anticipated costs of the farm operation and farmer’s salary. In return, they receive shares in the farm’s bounty throughout the growing season, as well as satisfaction gained from reconnecting to the land and participating directly in food production. Members also share in the risks of farming, including poor harvests due to unfavorable weather or pests.

In some implementations of CSA, people why buy a share also do some of the work on the farm. In others, people pay for a season’s share of produce, but the farmer does all the work. Either way, it’s a good deal for both sides. The farmer gets a guaranteed wage for a season’s work, while those who support him get fresh produce on a regular basis.

If you’re interested in participating in a CSA, ask around in your local community, or search online. Places like Local Harvest have a map with farms marked that participate in CSA in the states. Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association has listings for both the United States and Canada.

When you find one, hopefully close to you, ask questions. There’s a lot of variation on how these programs are implemented. If you have the opportunity, give it a try! CSA is a great way to support local farmers and get some great food at the same time.

Fresh food is good for everybody!