March 31, 2010

CSA vs Farmers Market

A couple years ago, a friend introduced me to a Windy Meadow Farm, a CSA. Here you pay for a share of the crops and each week you receive your portion of what ever they harvested that week. Some CSA's require you to work on the farm but this one does not. For various reasons I toyed with it for a couple years and ended up not signing up. This past year I got into going to area Farmer's Markets instead of joining the CSA.

This summer we plan on spending most of our time down at the lake so I started looking into what Farmer's Markets were in the area. I found a few but they were farther away than I was hoping. That's when I found a local CSA that has a pick up point 5 min away from the house. So I was sold on this option. But as I was reading his information I found out the next town over is starting a Farmer's Market so now I'm back to deciding between the two options.

Pros and Cons that I can think of:
CSA Pros:
* I would end up with a wider variety than if I purchased at the market. Obviously I would have the option for the same variety at the market but I would probably stick to the ones I know we eat.
* Good pick up location, probably can just grab and go. Could do easily with all of the kids.
* Prepaid so I don't have to worry about having cash on me
* Every week we would be getting more so we would have to eat it

CSA Cons:
* 20 weeks regardless of my schedule. If we aren't in town, someone else has to get the share or we forfeit it that week
* might have more of things we don't want and less of what we do want that week
* It looks like there is fruit on his list but I would probably want to buy others so may end up at the market anyway.

Market Pros:
* We pick the selection and quantity.
* If we aren't in town or have a lot left over from the previous week then we don't have to go
* Other vendors to choose from as well. The CSA's vegetable list seemed excellent but I would like more fruit varieties.
* I like the market experience.
* Multiple markets to choose from though only one is really close

Market Cons:
* Difficult if I have to bring all of the kids
* We will probably stick to our current vegetable amounts and varieties
* The local market is brand new this year so I don't know how many vendors will be there

Any thoughts?

1 comment:

LeahB said...

Hi Amanda!
We sorely miss the Rochester Public market. :( But, that has nothing to do with your dilemma...or does it? If you chose the farmer's market option, you could still shop at the public market if you're home in Rochester.

We've been part of a CSA here for a few years now. The convenience is nice (same time, same place - in our neighborhood!). We do, however, still buy lots of fruit at the grocery store because we get mostly vegetables in our share.

I don't know if any of this helps - happy summer produce eating to you all!