Archive for July, 2013

Farmers to you — or not?

In the most recent delivery of my CSA share, there was a flyer for “Farmers to you” at the bottom of the box.

It sounds very tempting — you can pick and choose what foods you want, with a $40 minimum per week, and they’ll either deliver it to your home for $10 or you can pick it up at one of their sites on a given day. A cursory look of the offerings show that they offer things that I can’t always get from my usual farm share (celery, beets, milk, buttermilk, cream, etc) and having the luxury of picking what does and doesn’t go into my box would be great.

One of the main problems I have with my CSA share this growing season is that because it’s delivered, I can’t pick and choose what I get in it. There’s no way to efficiently tell my farmshare people that I only want one head of lettuce, that I don’t want the kohlrabi, and/or that I really hate radishes. It would hardly be efficient for them and I understand the limitations, but it is a bit of a negative. I have to say though, not having to fight my way to Central Sq during a set time is fantastic.

The only quibble I have right now is that this can’t actually really replace the rest of my grocery bill. Asides from the vegetables and fruits that I still need to pick up in stores because they’re either not grown locally or I’m buying them out of season (shhh, don’t tell), the selection of meats isn’t as varied as I would like. I use a lot of pork bones and oxtails for stock, for example, and we eat a lot of lamb stew meat and top round steak — none of which is offered. Neither is pork belly, or pork ribs, or beef flank with the silver skin on (for long, slow braising in Chinese dishes, you want the silver skin for extra flavor and texture), or leaf lard, or…or…or… As for other things, I’d like to see more local fruit and vegetables, either dried or frozen if it’s not in season any longer. Right now there’s only frozen blueberries which is all very well and good — but dried apples, freeze dried strawberries, and frozen rhubarb are all possibilities.

This effectively means that I’m not sure that I can get up to the full $40 a week. Add in the $10 delivery fee because there’s no way I can guarantee that I can make it to the pickup site every Wednesday and I’d be looking at quite a chunk of change for something that isn’t going to adequately round out my grocery shopping.

I would love to split a share with a friend, but none of my friends are quite ready to take the plunge into paying a premium for their food.

So, for now I think this is not going to be a viable thing for me, much as I’d love to test drive it. However, I have nothing but the best of hopes for them — if they flourish and their selection grows broader, it would become a pretty amazing service.