Are CSAs Worth the Cost?
A few months ago we purchased a Groupon for a service that works similar to a community supported agriculture program (CSA). I was excited because for $15 we would receive a box worth $35 that contained mostly local and organic produce. The first time it arrived, we were excited to get into it and see what we got. Right off the bat we noticed that the organic strawberries were all moldy and inedible. I told Mr. Money to email them a picture explaining what we got and see what they would do about it. They said they would credit our account $5 toward our next purchase. As you probably guessed, I hadn’t planned on purchasing another box due to the cost and the fact that they sent us rotten strawberries.
We decided we would give it another try, and in two weeks we were charged $30 for the box (they took the $5 credit off). The box was much better this time, with no rotten produce. However, I decided that for the price we could do much better if we purchased the items in the store. One of the things Mr. Money liked (that I coincidentally didn’t) was that when you get the unique ingredients you’ve got to figure out what to make with them. Me? If it’s not something I normally eat, I’m not as likely to get creative and dive in. Bad, I know.
Of course, the next week we forgot to cancel it and received a $35 box of produce. Fine. I made sure that before the next time we received a delivery that I canceled our standing order. The deliveries are made on Thursdays.
On Friday I came home and realized there was a box on the front porch. I was livid. First of all, I had canceled the service. Secondly, now I have spent $35 on a box of produce that may or may not be good because it’s sat outside in 100 degree heat. I took the box inside and luckily everything looks fine. That didn’t stop me from sending them a nice email telling them that we had canceled and still received a box.
Here’s what we received in our box for $35.
-14-16 oz of yellow crookneck squash
-1 cantaloupe melon
-1 lb. of strawberries
-6 oz of local blackberries
-24 oz of red potatoes
-3 yellow peaches
-1 green bell pepper
-1 bulbing fennel
-1 lb of roma tomatoes
I don’t think that’s a good value for $35. I guess I would feel differently if this was an actual CSA from a local farm. I’d feel much better about supporting them. I don’t like that we’re purchasing this from a corporate company that I don’t know how fairly they are paying the farmers for their produce. I’m also disappointed about the quality of some of the produce we’ve received.
Do you think it’s a good value?