Monday, April 6, 2009

Produce throwdown, part 2 : CSA vs Farmers Market

OK, well this part didnt go so well for an obvious reason - my CSA supplements thier produce with stuff from California during the winter, so many items did not have a counterpart currently available at the farmers market. One trend was clear - farmers market prices are slightly higher than PCC prices, which are to be expected, but not significantly higher for many items. Whats really needed is a farmers market comparison later in the season, but it is safe to assume that a CSA will still be the winner in price.

Heres the breakdown of what is currently available from the farmers as compared to PCC prices:

Fuji Apples - $2.75/lb (1.49 at PCC)
Carrots - $3 a bunch (1.99 at PCC)
Arugula - $2.49 a bunch (3.00 at PCC)
Leeks - $3 a/lb (2.99 at PCC)
Potatoes - $2.75/lb (1.49 at PCC)
Tuscan Kale - $$3 a bunch (2.49 at PCC)

Now, I'd like to add that just because going the CSA route is the cheapest for the produce you get, it doesn't necessarily mean that it is the best one. We are blessed in Seattle to have fantastic farmers markets which offer items beyond produce (such as the Seabreeze Farms raw milk that I'm addicted to). Being able to buy directly from farmers and meet them face to face is priceless, and aside from that it's a great social outing and integral part of my weekend.

Will joining a CSA prevent me from going to the farmers market on a weekly basis? Frankly, no.

What it does do is solve a personal problem, which is that I hate spending cash and therefore often find myself passing on buying enough produce to last me through the week. Instead, I buy milk, and maybe some apples or leeks, or maybe eggs, and spend the rest of the time walking and looking and bemoaning the price.

Joining a CSA or organic delivery service ensures that you WILL have the produce and will use it despite all attempts to sabotage yourself. And you'll probably get some good deals to boot.
I'll stick with my CSA (or possibly try out Full Circle Farms to compare) for a while, but will go to the farmers market anyway to supplement. I'll keep you posted on what happens.

1 comment:

Wendy Hughes-Jelen said...

I tried a CSA share for a few weeks a couple of years ago but ultimately gave up and went back to hand picking my fruits and veggies each week. I tried to force myself into eating all those veggies out of guilt for waste, but I just couldn't do it. Especially beets. Just can't do it!

I always go to the farmers market first, then PCC to get what I don't need. Here's a tip - start getting milk from Smith Brothers delivered to your house - they have additional dairy items and bread so you could almost not go to the grocery store at all! I was always buying Smith Brothers milk when at PCC because $6.49 for a gallon of organic milk just really was too much of a hurdle for me.

FYI arrived here via a tweet: PCC - Produce throwdown, part 2 : CSA vs Farmers Market (via @Jeters)