CSA - how much should I expect?

bbstxMay 13, 2012

For the first time, I've bought a CSA share. We have only had 2 weeks of vegetables, but I am so disappointed in the quantity. It is supposed to be enough for a family of 4...it might be if 2 of the 4 weren't yet old enough for solid food.

For example, this week we got 5 fingerling sweet potatoes, 2 ping-pong ball size turnips and 2 ping-pong ball sized beets, 6 baby carrots, about a dozen radishes that were the size of shelled-peanuts, about a dozen baby carrots, maybe a half-dozen baby patty pan squash (ping pong size), some kale, about 6 spring onions and 1 gallon size bag of salad greens, and 1/2 gallon size bag of red frisee.

Last week, we got one head of napa cabbage; about a dozen carrots, a dozen tiny beets, a dozen baby turnips, some kale, some chard,about 6 spring onions, a 1 gallon bag of baby lettuce, and a handful of flat parsley.

Before I start fussing at the farm owner, is this a normal amount for a CSA share? My only semi-experience with a CSA was a friend who got theirs in a Rubbermaid tote each week! Ours fits in one small, re-usable grocery tote (not the Ikea-size...much smaller)!

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

They are widely variable- some are truly community shares, where you get 1/50th of the produce, or whatever, no matter what grows, but those are less common. It sounds like yours is the type that more or less guarantees you a certain amount. That sounds like a very tiny, tiny amount of produce to me- I'd be disappointed too. Maybe they aren't growing enough, or they started the CSA too early in the year, nothing is ripe, and they're panicking and picking everything too soon. Of course it could also be some weather disaster. It might be worthwhile to call them, in any case, and just say that the produce amount seemed very small, only enough for one or two meals, and ask what's going on.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 10:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Not sure where you are - but it's still quite early yet here. My experience is the shares start small, pickup later in spring, slow down in mid late fall. Usually in the height of the season there's more than I know what to do with - and depending on the CSA extras of some crops. I would ask but also be patient.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 11:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm in Zone 7B. It is still early, but not that early. We have not had unseasonable weather. I thought there would be enough vegetables to have at least one side dish each night, but not so. It is just so disappointing.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2012 at 11:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree, the amount seems quite small compared to the CSA shares here.

Although I have my own garden and so have never purchased a CSA share, I have friends who have. I think one farm oversold shares, because the amounts were not consistent with other farm shares I'd seen. Funny, that farm no longer does CSA shares either, maybe too many complaints?

All other share start small in the spring and by mid season have more vegetables than they know what to do with. It tapers off again in the fall but after the first few shares most members are offered things like extra green beans but you have to pick them yourself. Some shares even include eggs, berries, honey, even fresh herbs or cut flowers.


    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 12:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

They have a great farmer's market near me - veggies, cheeses, bread, meats, plants and more... They do a CSA that is a combination of products from members of the FM. A gristmill is coming soon too - an effort to support bringing grain production back to central Maine.

I hope your CSA works out for you - and they are just having a slow first few weeks.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 12:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We have many CSA opportunities but I have only been to one and the share was in line with your list. Since I haven't done comparative shopping, I didn't know if this was the norm. Ours have been going strong since February so I should have given it another try to be fair to the concept.

4 weeks ago was the last of our u-pick blueberries. I took the kids (7&5); it was a little sparse but the price and quality were good. OMG-it just dawned on me that I didn't bring the camera, they were so on task, very selective, and gentle with the plants.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 5:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I paid $300 for May thru July. That is roughly $100/mo. I was hopeful that all of my veggies would be covered and I would only have to shop the grocery for meats and staples. So far, that is not the case. I hope it picks up and things are just slow here at first.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 1:47PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For my CSA ($30 large box) I received: a pint of strawberries, a pint of blueberries, huge head of red lettuce, a bunch of swiss chard, huge bunch of radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, huge maui onion, napa cabbage, red cabbage and grapefruit. It's usually enough to completely fill two paper shopping bags.

It's my first time getting this here in Southern CA so I'm interested to see how it changes. It's incredibly fresh and really nice quality.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 2:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What I'm getting would fill up ONE of the double handled Whole Foods shopping bags, maybe.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 3:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We are also in TX and participated in the local CSA for 3 years, but opted out this year. The veggies were okay at first, but the last couple years, they were disappointing. Some of them were too old when harvested and were bitter (cucumbers and greens), there were several boxes with moldy tomatoes and other inedible veggies and lots of the produce just did not seem very good quality, yellowish leaves, limp, etc. And many times certain veggies were not available, and there was on over-abundance of zucchini and summer squash in every box. I think due to the TX climate, it is very difficult to consistently grow great produce.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 7:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Darn, I didn't meant to hit submit yet! My point was that while our produce quantity was fine, the quality and selection wasn't great, so maybe in certain areas of TX it's just difficult to find all around great CSAS's.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 7:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I had a similar experience in NJ. I ordered a half-share, thinking it would be a good size for two, but ended up disappointed, both in the amount and selection. I could have opted to upgrade to a full share, but even that wasn't terribly impressive. I decided this year that I'm better off buying exactly what I want from local farmers markets.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2012 at 10:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My friends joined a CSA in VA and had a similar disappointing experience--poor quality, low amounts, etc. They moved, so not sure if it ever got resolved. There are CSAs and there are CSAs. I know of one locally that is very popular with the owners/customers. There are issues with growing organic--the produce will not be as plentiful, big or as blemish free as conventional--BUT, there are also issues with how soon you get stuff to your customers too! Also, I know some CSAs sell their produce for top dollar at the farm markets and give what doesn't sell or the "seconds" to their share holders. Bear in mind, it's very hard to make a living in agriculture. Since you are in effect a part "owner" of a CSA, I think it would be a good place to start by having a discussion with the managment. But I'd wait a little while to see if things pick up. Growing great vegetables is a rare art as well as difficult science. A good CSA will educate their shareholders on what is going on in their fields.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 9:52AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Cool feature I've just noticed (OT)
Has anyone else noticed that you can click on a picture...
Weird "guy food" that's actually delicious?
You know what kind of food I mean? Not the kind of...
Canning tomato juice worth it?
Hi All - I'm thinking about canning tomato juice this...
OT - spoon basket
So I am having some work done on my 'kitchen'. The...
As Seen on Food Fortunes -- Can you measure flour?
Have you seen this show? Shark Tank for the comestibles...
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™