Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Autumn Asks: Have You Ever Been A Member of a CSA?

We absolutely love checking the fields first thing in the morning and seeing growth. Get ready, more Home Grown Goodness coming your way very soon!

I have tried to join CSA's all over the states over the last decade or so. CSA stands for Community Sponsored Agriculture.  Basically its a local farm that you buy direct from -- like a membership. Most of them raise organic crops so you can eat healthier than the stuff from the grocery store. Many CSA's have a waiting list as they can only support so many people depending on the size of the farm.

I was delighted when we came back to Texas and found that not only was there a CSA available (actually I think there are two), but they had openings.

The Home Grown Farm is a family owned business. Most of your interfacing is with the two brothers. They are also unique in that they have a website that you go to for your order that next week. You can pick growers choice, or you can customize what you get. Most CSA's just give you a box of what they harvested that week with no choices. This is far better than having things your family won't eat.

Unfortunately I do have to drive into Waco to pick up my box. There are many locations you can choose from, but none of them is close to me. This is hard as pickup is on a school night during dinner time. I do have a three hours window to work with, but it does get old driving that far every week.

And that is my only complaint.

You get more than enough food. You can even choose to skip a week if you want. I haven't done that, I've been putting up the extra instead. Extra doesn't usually happen when Hubs is home, but when he is gone there are many nights that I don't cook from scratch.

Extra cabbage has become sauerkraut. Pinterest instructions of course. I did use one jar in a kielbasa crockpot recipe. It was good and it was on the first day you could use it so the rest should get a little stronger. This first jar was really mild. Also one of the jars did not seal well. I cannot describe to you the horrible odor.  LOL.

I dehydrated some of the extra mushrooms for later use- another Pinterest tutorial. This was my first try with this dehydrator which we picked up at a Goodwill for $5. It doesn't have a temperature control for different settings but it works just great. We have used it for jerky a few times.

I have also frozen mushrooms, onions, peppers, turnips, beets and carrots for cooking.  With extra potatoes I made up frozen hash browns.

So I have been working on canning, dehydrating and freezing. I also have a foodsaver that has a jar attachment for sealing and uses the ziplock bags that you can pull the air out of. LOVE IT.

Although a CSA is more expensive that grocery store veggies, I do recommend them if you can afford it. Its organic. You can visit the farm and get to know the farmers. Its supporting your own community.

Anyone else a member of a CSA in your area?


  1. hi! First of all, I bookmarked your asparagus link for the canned asparagus. I planted asparagus last year, and I don't think I can harvest it until next. It just popped up, I was afraid I lost it over winter. Secondly, I enjoyed your post on the American Girl store visit. I used to push (isn't it always the mom...reliving her childhood dreams?? ha) American Girl dolls on my youngest daughter (couldn't afford them for my oldest when she was young) and we....errr...me...my daughter wasn't crazy about any toys.... always thought it would be neat to go to the store in NYC (closest store to me). But, I am afraid of going into a large city so we never did. And now after reading your post, I'm glad I didn't!

    My oldest daughter belongs to a CSA from Lancaster, PA. I feel it is expensive. Also expensive because you have to pay for the whole season upfront. And, my husband doesn't care for veggies too much. A local paper once did a story on one and the lady tried it out, and came up with the same conclusion as me. The CSA has mainly root veggies and if you don't eat them, it is alot of waste. My daughter is a vegetarian and she eats everything in hers and loves it. (Although this winter was very hard in our area and the "pickens" have been slim lately for her box). I do get milk delivery along with some meat from a nearby farm, out in Maryland. And I love it. ( I also try to shop local for summer fruits and some veggies.) But if my kids were not all grown, I would never be able to afford a CSA or farm milk delivery.

    1. Good luck with your asparagus next year! Its been fun. I do think I will order a few more root for my blank spots in the beds though. I think someone said they can produce for up to 14 years or something like that.

      Isn't it funny what we as parents will steer our kids towards that we like? I think our biggest push was probably music -- not as in instruments, but what you listen too. Lol. Not that it helped much!

      Totally agree on the price of the CSA farms. Very expensive which makes it a little exclusive which is really very sad. I feel very lucky to have the one we have. They offer fresh baked products, eggs,honey, whole chickens, home made jams and such, granola and their winter choices were not exclusively root veggies. These guys do partner with other farms in the area that grow different things also. I love being able to pick what I want or just not pick anything and let the money sit. They also have different ways to pay to make it easier. I tend to just do the one payment in the beginning but they even have monthly.

  2. Yours does sound nice!