Monday, March 29, 2010

Food for Thought

Due to my travels over the past week, I skipped my CSA package. Unfortunately, this meant that I came home to a house with no produce and in Jayme-world, this is a house with no food. I traveled to a local natural grocer to do an experiment. I wanted to buy a CSA-sized equivalent of organic veggies and fruit. I ventured into the produce section and bought a variety of things such as green leaf lettuce, rainbow chard, zucchini, danish squash, beets, and baby carrots. I also looked up the prices of a half dozen of free range "happy" eggs: Just round $2.40. I picked up some other non-CSA things such as some organic, humane-certified, lamb shoulder, Regular bananas (I've been forcing these down my throat for potassium, and Nancy's yogurt. My total for the trip was $28.54. If I were to hypothetically buy those eggs, it would have been $30.94. The total CSA-replacement veggies was $20.02 or $22.42 if I had the eggs.

I would probably compare the variety of produce that I bought today, equivalent to a size small share which runs $22/week. However, I would compare the amount of produce to the medium size share which runs $36/week.

The reason why I am comparing these two "methods" is because I am finding out that I am more sensitive to a variety of foods than I thought I was. It is likely that I will not be able to eat some of the vegetables or fruit that CSA provides.

Here are the pros and cons of each "method"

Grocery store
  • I can choose what I want to buy. ie: I don't like cabbage, yet I get a ton of it with the CSA. If something is on sale, I can buy it and save money
  • I can purchase other non-produce things such as meat and in the future, grains for the same amount of money
  • If I am going to be gone on the weekends, I don't have to accommodate my meals when I get back to eat the remaining veggies before they go bad.
  • I don't have to worry about having to pick up my package at a specific time and location. I can go to the grocery store anytime I want.
  • I have a giant basil plant at home, so I don't need a lot of the herbs the CSA provides... plus, I'm a little sick of cilantro.
  • Once the farmers markets are in full swing, I can save more money.
  • This is a lot cheaper!
  • I have to deal with the crowded grocery stores.
  • The produce at the store is organic, but is not as fresh, and not typically local (most things are from Mexico) Perhaps this will change in the summer?
  • I'm not supporting a local farm. I am supporting large Mexican farms and contributing to the effects of the transportation of my food from Mexico to Oregon.
  • I am not forced to try new things

Don't get me wrong, I love the CSA, but I am also living on a limited budget and have no income. I have felt a little bad for spending so much on the CSA every week. If I can promise myself to stick to the same quality of foods while continuing to eat with variety, I feel more justified shopping at my local grocery store. In the future, when I have a job and am not in law school, I would love to participate in a CSA. But for now, I still have a few weeks left in my subscription but once I am done, I will cancel my membership. (I think)

What are your thought about this? Should I stay, or should I go?

1 comment:

  1. I say go. But return in the future. I love how it has made you try new things and forced you to eat healthy stuff. (Im kind of jealous!) But it sounds kinda spendy for being a broke student. What about going to farmer's markets every once in a while instead? that way you can still support local farms. i would be interested in going with you... but i have no idea where or when they are.