Thursday, June 16, 2011

Fresh, Local Produce

Last year, we signed up for a weekly produce delivery service that ran through the summer and fall.  We liked it so much that we signed up for it again this year, upgrading from the personal box to the family sized one.  For 20 weeks (June through the end of October), we will receive a box filled with a variety of fruits and vegetables based on what's in season in Ontario at the time.

Here's how it works:

A local Ontario farm, Carron Farms, organizes the service and works with other local farms to provide a variety of fresh vegetables (and some fruit) every week from June through the end of October.  The farm is located a bit too far for us to drive out and pick the box up every week, so we signed up for the home delivery service for an extra few dollars a week.  They drop off the box on our front step every Wednesday.  Yesterday was the first delivery.

Since it's still the beginning of the season, the box is still a bit smaller than it will get as time goes on, but it's enough for us.
We received:

-a large bag of asparagus
-two tomatoes
-a bunch of rhubarb
-a zucchini
-a cucumber
-4 bell peppers
-a bag of mushrooms
-a head of lettuce
-a bunch of spinach
-a bunch of radishes

Along with our produce, we receive an email telling us where each item comes from and includes storage tips.  There is also a weekly featured item, with a recipe to go along with it.  This week's featured item was asparagus.  The recipe is for Roasted Asparagus Bundles tied with garlic scape and tossed in a homemade vinaigrette.  YUMMY!

I like that by being a part of this program I am also supporting local farmers and cutting down on my carbon footprint by eating foods that didn't have to travel hundreds of miles to get to my home.  Everything is really fresh and comes from farms that are certified as having sustainable farming practices.  Some, but not all, of the produce is organic as well. 

I also look forward to trying new vegetables that I wouldn't regularly buy, and adding to my recipe collection.  Last year we ate turnips, rutabaga, celeriac, and a few other things that aren't normally on my radar.  We ate a rutabaga gratin for Thanksgiving and scalloped turnips on more than one occasion.  Since many of the recipes are gluten free as well, this is an added bonus that I wasn't concerned with last year but really appreciate this time around.

And it's affordable.  My initial decision to sign up last year was based on a cost comparison I did.  I compared each item on the "sample" box list on the farm's website, and priced it out online with the supermarket I regularly shop at.  Even with the delivery charge, the price was comparable.  That sold me.  This year, I signed up because the service last year was so good.  The delivery guy was friendly, the produce was always fresh and varied from week to week.  And I was finally putting my money where my mouth is.  I believe strongly in supporting the local economy, I believe in supporting local farmers and in eating food that is as fresh as possible.

I can do that with this program, in an affordable way.  And it all gets delivered right to my front door.  What more could I ask for?


  1. Wow -- that looks fantastic! What a great idea! I wonder if they have anything like that near me!

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  2. Here is a website of all the CSA's in the US and a few in Canada.

    I have always wanted to do it but I'm afraid that I would get a bunch of stuff we don't like and it would go to waste. Maybe I should look into the variety a little more and see what I can find.

  3. Some programs are more flexible than others, and let you either customize a basket or at least request that certain items never get put in. There wasn't much that we really didn't like, and I just chopped up and froze anything that we couldn't eat all in one go.