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
-1 broccoli
-3 yellow peaches
-1 cucumber
-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?


Microfiber Cloth Uses

Microfiber cloths are wonderfully amazing for cleaning. I went to the store a few months ago, saw the price of the pack of microfiber cloths in the cleaning aisle, and decided I could do without them. I then decided to check Amazon, and found this Microfiber 12-Pack of Cleaning Cloths for a much better price! You can also look in the automotive section of certain stores for the cheaper cloths that will work just as well.  I highly recommend microfiber cloths for green and frugal cleaning.  Here are some of the best uses I’ve come up with:

Microfiber Cloth Uses

-Window washing. This is probably my favorite use for the microfiber cloths.  What’s awesome about using them for window washing is that you don’t have to use any window cleaner.  You can just wet the cloth, wipe your mirrors or windows, and then use a dry cloth until the surface is dry.  Trust me, it works.  It will leave a streak free shine every time!  If you want to use a window cleaner, follow this glass cleaner recipe.

Dusting.  Microfiber cloths are wonderfully amazing for dusting.  They attract the dust, dog hair, and other debris right to them.  I use a Swiffer stick and just put my microfiber cloth on the part where you’re supposed to attach the disposable pad.  When I’m done dusting, I take the cloth outside and shake it out.

-Floor washing. Microfiber cloths are very absorbent, and their texture makes a great scrubber.  I attach a wet microfiber cloth to my Swiffer (you could also use a Swiffer Wet Jet) and then mop the floors as usual.  If you have the Swiffer Wet Jet, you can just keep using the microfiber cloths instead of buying the new pads.  Plus, make sure you refill the bottles with your homemade cleaner or mixture of vinegar and water.

-Baseboard cleaning. With two large dogs, I am forever dusting baseboards.  When I run the microfiber cloth over them, it attracts the dog hair and dust very easily.  It makes it easy to clean the baseboards.

-Replace paper towels. Microfiber cloths are super absorbent and make a great paper towel replacement.  If you’ve got a huge spill, grab a couple of microfiber cloths and soak up the liquid.  It works well, and they’ll save you money in the long run.

-Kitchen counter cleaning.  When you use a hot soapy water mixture, the microfiber cloths are great for cleaning kitchen counters and surfaces.  Add in a 1/4 of vinegar for extra cleaning and disinfecting power.

-Cloth diaper inserts. Cloth diapers can save you money with your babies, but the inserts can be expensive!  You can make your own inserts using an old towel or flannel and some microfiber cloths.  It will work just as well as the expensive, pre-made ones, and you’ll save yourself some cash at the same time!

Microfiber cloths are one of the best things you can buy for your all natural, eco friendly cleaning.  The initial investment is definitely worth it and will save you money over the years.

What do you use microfiber cloths for?


Strawberry Leaf Tea

We have strawberries growing in our garden.  The delicious, juicy, organic berries taste more flavorful and amazing than any other strawberry I’ve tasted.  There’s something about going into our backyard and picking fresh strawberries and then eating them within seconds that is just wonderful.  Unfortunately, our strawberry raised bed is not very big, and it seems that every year we have many strawberry greens and leaves but not as many berries.  It is super sad, but not much I can do at the moment as we really don’t have any extra room to plant more strawberry plants.

I don’t know what got in to me, but the other night I started wondering if the strawberry leaves are edible.  A quick search indicated that they are not only edible, but highly nutritious!  Imagine that, greens being good for you. 🙂

I brought some of the leaves inside, boiled some water, and steeped the strawberry leaves in the water for about 15 minutes.  If you wanted a stronger tea, you could leave the mixture overnight in your refrigerator to maximize the benefits.  Yum!

Strawberry Leaf Tea benefits

Strawberry leaves are high in trace minerals, iron, and vitamin c.  They also contain high levels of calcium, making it a great source for those who are lactose intolerant or just avoid dairy.  If you’re allergic to strawberries, I would definitely avoid the strawberry leaf tea.

Make sure you use either completely dry leaves or very green leaves.  Anything in between can be toxic, and it’s not a good idea to risk your health.  I would make sure that you use organic strawberry leaves so you aren’t drinking a ton of pesticides and other chemicals.

It’s always neat to find out a new home remedy.  Who would have thought strawberry leaves would be good to make a tea out of?!

Would you try strawberry leaf tea?

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