Disclaimer - CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. We have participated for several years in two different farming groups in the Chester County area.
I know that I need to make a decision regarding participating in a CSA for 2013. And I know this is a decision I need to make soon, but am so conflicted about.
I will miss the variety of vegetables the most, as I had so much fun learning about all the new types of vegetables we were introduced to throughout the season! The most fun from 2012 were the little baby eggplants - so small and a great texture addition to my favorite veggie dishes. The garlic was the most challenging, as even someone like me who cooks with a lot of garlic, a whole head (or two) each week is a lot to use! I am glad that I learned to roast it, and use as a spread on sandwiches, mixed with mayo, added to grilled cheese, and in marinades.
I am also a bit afraid that I will eat less vegetables this spring/summer/fall when I need to purchase them myself and decide to use them on my own. Having the already paid for, fresh and clean produce in the fridge was the best motivation I could have.
Speaking of the paid for part - the up front $500 - $650 cost is a bit much to swallow when we are in the middle of house hunting. Add in the many unexpected expenses from this fall, upcoming deployment, and Christmas - January is a tough month to make this decision.
There are a few reasons that even with all of the positive things are creating some feelings of caution. If everything goes as planned, Kevin and I will be in a new County, a new home, and just the two of us by the summer. The two CSAs that we participated with before are completely out of the way of our planned move and I seriously dislike the idea of driving 15 minutes in the wrong direction after my workday. Unfortunately, I am having trouble finding a new CSA in Downingtown that is in the price range we can afford. Our two previous CSAs were funded just by Kevin and I, but we did have a third person to help us eat our shares. To be totally honest, I am not sure that even if we ate vegetarian 3 meals a week we could handle the entire share ourselves.
I am sad to say that I think this summer will be the first in 4 years that we'll go without a CSA. I am hopeful that I will be able to find a produce market/farmers market to visit occasionally, and with some menu planning that I should be able to maintain a relatively healthy summer menu. I also need to find a cheap way to supply the dining room table with flowers, as that was the most "exciting" bonus of summer 2013 with SIW's share!
Sorry CSA, we'll miss you!