We were new to the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) concept this year. We heard about a local CSA early last spring from a co-worker and decided to check it out for a few reasons:
1) We wanted to spend less on healthy food. (Eating allergy free/organic can be expensive!)
2) We are bad about actually going to grocery store to get food therefore eating out a lot.
3) We love fresh local food but don't have a place to grow it ourselves.
So we went to check out the farm. This particular farm had meat as an option for the CSA (I guess most only do vegetables). They raise chickens (for meat and eggs) and pigs. So basically one goes weekly to pick up their 'share' as they call it and you get about $20 - $30 worth of local, seasonal food. The share we choose we got contained vegetables, fruits, herbs, eggs, and meat (chicken and pork alternating each week).
What I thought of it:
Overall, I liked the experience so much I also signed us up for the Autumn share without the eggs though. I'm allergic to eggs so Ryan was on his own and just didn't eat enough of them so many were wasted. In the future we will just buy a dozen eggs from them here and there when Ryan wants them.
I was concerned at first about the meat because they supplemented their chickens with soy and was hoping I wouldn't have a reaction being I'm allergic to soy and all. Thankfully I didn't have a reaction to any of the meat!
Every other week we got a whole chicken which is a bit daunting to cut and cook. I'm still working on this, and still maybe a little scared (I have seven whole chickens in freezer right now). I'm looking for easy ways to cook this whole bird if you have any suggestions. I will be trying it in the crock pot this week.
We always ate our pork immediately each week we got it.
As for the vegetables, there were some I didn't care for, or maybe didn't know what to do with such as the turnups but this was rare. Our farmers often let us choose, for example we could pick up one eggplant OR a couple bell peppers.
I ate more of a variety of vegetables than usual. I sometimes get in a rut and buy the same familiar things at the grocery store but with the CSA I ate what was in season. For a while, I had zucchini in my stir fry a few times a week or made a green bean casserole; two vegetables I NEVER would have bought on my own.
If you eat Paleo or eat allergy free you can't go wrong with a CSA like this. So if you have any in your area, I encourage you to go check it out and see if it would be a good fit for your lifestyle.