The Family Home Blog

Save Money by Using a CSA

Jun 01, 2015
|
Melissa Hincha-Ownby

save money by using a CSA 

What is a CSA? CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture and these CSA programs serve to connect local or regional farmers with a large group of private buyers. Instead of visiting the local grocery or organic food stores to buy produce, CSA customers can order a weekly box of fresh produce at a fraction of the cost. To find a local CSA program near you, check out LocalHarvest.org. Still on the fence? Here are just a few ways that using CSA programs will help you save money and lead an eco-friendlier lifestyle:

Leveraged buying power
When people pool their money together, they can leverage their buying power and get a better price on goods and/or services. The same holds true for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. It is not unheard of to save 50 percent or more off of the retail price.

Extra for canning and freezing
I have never tried kale until I started participating in a CSA. For a few weeks, our produce boxes were filled with multiple bunches of kale, far too much for a family of four to eat before it went bad. So, I quickly learned that another money-saving benefit of using the CSA program is that there are often leftovers for canning or freezing. Many CSA’s will have add-on options to purchase in-season fruits in bulk for a small fee. For example we recently purchased 35 pounds of peaches, which we ended up using to make canned peaches, preserves, and even smoothies (we froze a bunch to have on hand as well!).

Recipe ideas
Don’t know what to do with all that kale? CSA’s will often provide recipe ideas either on the web or on printouts which are available at the pickup station. These recipes help customers get the most out of their produce boxes.

Avoid impulse buying
With a CSA, you get what you get. Some CSA’s offer additional items for purchase, like tortillas, bread and other pastries, but for the most part you’re going to pay a flat rate for a box of produce on a set schedule. You won’t be tempted by that pricey out-of-season crate of strawberries that looks delicious sitting on the shelf at your local grocery store.

Are you a member of your local CSA and if not, would you consider joining?

Photo courtesy of Melissa Hincha-Ownby.

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