CSA - worth it with small children?

  1. You have chosen to ignore posts from Trouble30. Show Trouble30's posts

    CSA - worth it with small children?

    Someone mentioned a CSA in another post, so it got me thinking that maybe I should sign up for one this year.  Just curious how many others have done this and whether you found that a whole share was just too much.  They say that 1 share will feed a family of 4, but my kids are too little to eat very much (will be 2 yrs and just about 1 yr old in the summer).  

    Any great recipes that use a lot of the veggies/fruits so I can can it or freeze it for winter?
     
  2. You have chosen to ignore posts from echeri. Show echeri's posts

    Re: CSA - worth it with small children?

    We've been a part of a CSA for several years, even before kids.  During the summer we share with another family, and during the winter when the share is smaller, we get an entire share.  We found it to be great this past year, with DD, to have a source of local, organic food in the house already--we made all sorts of baby food from each week's delivery.  We like it and I guess were already used to doing a lot of cooking at home, even pre-kids, so the trend has continued.  It's also a good way to expose kids to produce you might not choose to buy at the grocery store, such as kohlrabi and celeriac, to name a couple of the non-standards.  DD has pretty much eaten everything we get, even radishes!!!

     
  3. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: CSA - worth it with small children?

    I have done a CSA for more than 5 years.
    In terms of quantity, it really depends on the farm.  The place we use, we would get a "half share" and it was more than enough for the two adults plus sampling by toddlers.  But ours is known for largish shares.
    In terms of variety, what echeri said is so true - the CSA is awesome and I tried so many cool vegetables I had never heard of.

    Now the negative part: we are actually not signing up for 2012 (ours is a June-October type thing).  I feel sad about this, but it's the right decision.  Last summer, it became overwhelming with the combo of the LO and work being crazy.  The major reason was that I was not cooking as much as I used to.  It's a fair amount of work to clean, prep, and cook all the stuff.  Sadly, we've been doing fewer fresh vegetables and more frozen stufff, salad in a box, et cetera.  I ended up giving a lot of stuff to my coworkers because I just couldn't hack it.  The secondary reason was that the pick up time clashed with when we needed to get the LO from daycare and give her dinner and get her to bed, and my husband works late and takes the T so he wasn't able to really do a lot of those things.
    THAT SAID: I know I will miss it this year and I hope to restart when she's old enough to do more "helping" and my work has settled down.  AND, I always see tons of people with babies and toddlers at the pick up.  So clearly, many people make it a priority and enjoy it.
    GL whatever you decide!
     
  4. You have chosen to ignore posts from GC1016. Show GC1016's posts

    Re: CSA - worth it with small children?

    We did one last year when DD was eating purees, so it was great.  My CSA only does full shares, so if we do it again this year and we'll maybe split with another family or just give stuff away.  I think it's totally worth it, but what Medford said -- it's a lot of work to clean, prep & cook with a whole crate of veggies.  Ours has the added complexity that pick-up is Monday afternoon/early evening.  If it were Friday, no problem -- I could have the weekend to make all sorts of fun stuff. 

    I'm leaning towads doing it again, but that Monday thing really messes me up. 
     
  5. You have chosen to ignore posts from Arcain. Show Arcain's posts

    Re: CSA - worth it with small children?

    Medford, I was thinking the same as you. I'm curious how old your LO was last season. We've done a CSA for the last 3 years for just DH and me. I'm due in 6 weeks with our first and, assuming he arrives somewhat on time, I'd be going back to work right when the CSA started, so right now we're planning not to do one - figuring it would further complicate our new busy schedule. That said, I'm feeling so bummed about not doing one, esp since I want to make a lot of my own baby food once LO can eat it.
     
  6. You have chosen to ignore posts from Trouble30. Show Trouble30's posts

    Re: CSA - worth it with small children?

    Thanks for the thoughts.  I am doing a lot of frozen veggies right now too, and I was hoping this would force more fresh fruits and veggies onto our plates.  We do eat dinner together every night and my little ones have lunch and breakfast at home everyday too. So maybe we would get through it all. 

    The place I was thinking of going to is right near our house and on my way to/from the train station.  They also have a pickup on Friday, so it sounds like it might work out well.  Understood about the wash and prep.  But I think I'd like to make some time to do it so that my kiddos have better, more nutritious meals.  And so do DH and I!  Yay!  I'm excited to do it!
     
  7. You have chosen to ignore posts from Daisy75. Show Daisy75's posts

    Re: CSA - worth it with small children?

    We did a half share this past summer and it was sometimes a little too much for DH, two 2 year olds, and me.  For reference, I'm a vegetarian, so lots of our meals are veggie based.  In any case, it was nice to have fresh veggies each week, and we also did a fruit share and late fall share, so we were getting stuff from late May until early December.  We did freeze some things--but not a lot.  The veggies we served for T'giving and Xmas dinners were exclusively from the CSA, so that was cool.  Even the apples for apple pie were from the CSA.  B/c it was a decent growing season, we found that it was a good value and we spent a lot less than we do at the grocery store (I don't usually buy organic--our CSA was IPM for some crops and organic-but-not-certified for others, and I shop almost exclusively at Market Basket--so that's hard to beat).  The potential problem with CSAs is that if it's not a good growing season, the value might not be great, and that's just not something you can control, so you have to be prepared for that possibility.

    I would also recommend Boston Organics (www.bostonorganics.com). They actually deliver to your door.  We did it for a while, and it was nice.  You have a little more control over the amount and I think you can choose the ratio of fruit and veggies.  I had looked at the website not too long ago to see if they deliver to our town yet (they don't) and it looks like they also have a "local" option now so that customers can get as many locally-sourced items as possible.  I know lots of people do a CSA in the summer and then when that ends, they start Boston Organics, and then quit Boston Organics when the CSA starts up.  Anyway, that might be a good option if the CSA pick-up is just too much of a hassle.
     
  8. You have chosen to ignore posts from amy-lynn. Show amy-lynn's posts

    Re: CSA - worth it with small children?

    Our CSA (Stillmans Farm) offers full and half-shares. We do a full share, but split it with a single friend for whom even a half-share was too much - so we get about a 3/4 share for DD, DH and me. We have a Friday pickup at a farmers market, two things that make it really easy. 

    I think it's important to research which CSA you go with, because there are lots of variables that make it easy or hard. For example, the first farmshare we did, was a combo of box ready to go and pick your own, which DH did, because the farm was a few minutes from his work. But it was time consuming, sometimes for not much reward - by going after work he missed out on the easy pickins, so often we wouldn't get vey much of the pick your own stuff. We decided to find a diffent CSA with an easier share, and wound up with Stillmans, which we love. 

    It is extra work compared to grocery shopping - fresh from the farm means much dirtier that grocery store food, and finding fridge space can be tough if we haven't eaten the previous weeks bounty. I do feel bad if we get a lot of something and I don't use it all before it spoils, and it will probably be next year before I want to eat more kale, but I also find that we eat more vegetables, and more differnt kinds of vegetables, than if I didn't do it.

    In all, I'd say go for it, but find the right CSA for you - one that offers half-shares if you are worried about getting too much, and also most of them will give you an idea of the sorts of things to expect, some plant more unusual foods than others, some don't offer corn because it is very hard to grow organically, some offer fruits as well as veggies, etc. 
    http://www.nofamass.org/programs/csa/csa.php  lists many Massachusetts CSAs
    http://stillmansfarm.com/    where we get our farmshare
     
  9. You have chosen to ignore posts from medfordcc. Show medfordcc's posts

    Re: CSA - worth it with small children?

    Arcain, my LO was born in July (2010), so in the middle of the CSA season.  I gave it to friends (who did the pick up as well) for the first couple of weeks and then we started back up.  It actually was fine at that point.  She was really easy to take to pick up, not on a dinner schedule, et cetera.  And I would sometimes prep while she was chilling in the bouncy seat or in a carrier.  BUT, I didn't start back to work until the end of September and it was only part time.
    Anyway, it wasn't until this past year (2011) that it got more challenging (her: moving around, wanting to do stuff, dinner time, bed time) and (me: work, general disinclination to doing anything around the house).  But as I said, I see TONS of people picking up with their babies and kids.

    I feel like I've been kind of negative... I really love CSA's.  It improved our eating habits a TON and made us more adventurous.  It just doesn't fit for us this year.  I'm going to take shares from friends in the same farm when they go on vacation and whatnot and I'm very excited!  It'll be like rekindling the romance.  :)
     
  10. You have chosen to ignore posts from NH-Sox-Fan. Show NH-Sox-Fan's posts

    Re: CSA - worth it with small children?

    If you have friends or family in the same CSA, can you share pickup duties so each person only picks up every 2-3 weeks? Also, some CSAs offer more than one pick up time and/or location, so maybe a different CSA would work better. Thanks for this post. It made me start thinking about going back to a CSA this year.
     
  11. You have chosen to ignore posts from Lostgrouse. Show Lostgrouse's posts

    Re: CSA - worth it with small children?

    This will be our 4th CSA year and I still love it.  I have a 3.5 y.o. and a 15 month old.  Our CSA (Sauchuk Farm) used to only have full shares, although this year they are offering half shares for the first time.  With the 4 of us, it is a little bit of a stretch to use everything we get each week, but I find that I try new recipes and I'm a little more inventive with how I use all of our produce.  I freeze some items as well, but for the most part I'm using them in more creative ways than I would otherwise.  We can pickup on Thursdays, Fridays, or Saturdays, and my kids love going to the farm for pickup.  I also love that I don't have to go through the produce section in the supermarket for 4 months out of the year since it stresses me out otherwise.

    We used to do a meat CSA through 8oclockranch.com which was also good, but then I decided that I would rather just place an order through their website to get exactly what I wanted rather than through the CSA.  

    One of the real benefits of our CSA is that they generally give out normal standard vegetables and you get enough of what they give you to actually make something out of it.  I know some CSAs that give you obscure veggies, which can be good, but they don't give you enough to make it worth your while with a new recipe.  However, even if you decide not to go with a CSA, there are plenty of farmers markets during that time anyway, so you can get your fresh, local produce, one way or another!
     

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