If you’re looking to join a CSA, or “Community Supported Agriculture”, you may be confused on exactly how to choose the perfect CSA.
There are usually quite a few available and this can mean that you will need to pick one. If you’re confused, there are a few ways that you can help yourself choose the perfect CSA for your family and your grocery budget.
Take a look at these six things and keep them in mind when you’re choosing your CSA.
Location should be the first thing you check.
Most CSAs only cater to specific locales. This means if you try to buy in to one that is out of your area, you won’t be able to. While this isn’t a huge issue, it is a waste of time and potentially money.
Cost is a factor for all of us when buying groceries and your CSA membership should come out of your grocery budget each month even though it is an upfront payment.
If the cost is too high, it could cause you to have to take money from the rest of your groceries to cover it. To figure out the monthly cost, take the total charge and divide it by the number of months that your season will cover.
The size of your family will determine the size (or number) of shares you need.
If you have a small family, you may not need a full share whereas a larger family might need two.
If you don’t need a full share and the CSA you are considering only offers full shares, you may want to look elsewhere. Otherwise, you would be paying for food that may go to waste before you can use it.
The same goes for larger families. If the CSA you are considering won’t allow you to buy multiple shares and you need to, you’ll be paying for a service that doesn’t provide enough food for your family each week.
How long does the CSA you are looking at consider the season open for?
If it’s only a few weeks, you may be paying a significantly higher charge than you would if you simply went grocery shopping instead.
The length of the season should be long enough for it to make sense in your grocery budget and to allow for it to even out cost-wise.
Another important factor is how your CSA will deliver if they do.
If delivery isn’t available, you will need to factor in the time and gas costs spent to pick your share up each week.
If it is, do they deliver in refrigerated containers? If not, you may end up with waste. Do they do porch drop-off or require someone to be home for delivery?
Finally, you’ll absolutely want to check the reviews on any potential CSA that you are thinking about joining.
These reviews are where you will find out the quality of food, reliability of delivery and so on.
Make sure that you aren’t just trusting the reviews found on the CSA website and that you also look for third party reviews. One great source for finding CSA reviews is Local Harvest.
Finding the perfect CSA isn’t hard to, but if you want to really get your value out of yours, you’ll have to do the research.
It’s worth it to do so to avoid wasting your hard earned money. Once you find one that you love though? You can use them season after season to help cut your grocery costs and feed your family amazing fresh produce for cheap!
Have you used a CSA before? What was your experience? Be sure to pin this to your favorite board for later
Heather’s homesteading journey started in 2006, with baby steps: first, she got a few raised beds, some chickens, and rabbits. Over the years, she amassed a wealth of homesteading knowledge, knowledge that you can find in the articles of this blog.
Learn more about Heather and the rest of the writers on this page.