CSA vs Farmers Market: Which One Is Right For You?

The Daily Dig

As much as I like having a variety of produce ready for me every week, I do miss the atmosphere of a farmers market.

Published on: August 16, 2013

I am well into my 20 weeks of being a first-time receiving member of a Community Supported Agriculture program. And I am liking it - well most of it.

Why do CSA you ask?

Well it all started with my strong urge to have a garden. One problem. There was no place to put it. I grew up with having access to a huge garden. When I say huge, I mean enormous. We had endless abundance of wax beans, lettuce, beets, peas, asparagus, kohlrabi, cucumbers and tomatoes just to name a few.

I could try to make my way down to the farmers market - but I kind of turn up my nose when I hear that term lately. When I hear the term "farmers market", I think of pickup trucks and tables lined up around the local town square selling local produce. When I go to a farmers market around here, it's mostly arts and crafts and music. Only a few tables of produce and food. It's nice, but not what I expected.

CSA Vs Farmers Market: Which One Is Right For You?
CSA Vs Farmers Market: Which One Is Right For You?

On the markets that do truly sell local produce, I have to get there early and be ready to pick through the stash of goodies. Which isn't bad, it's just that I am hardly around come the weekends.

A friend of mine told me about a local CSA that she used to be a part of. I looked into a few that were offered and found one I really liked. 20 weeks of produce that goes well into the fall, a dozen or two of eggs depending on your share and one chicken.

Okay, so personally it was the dozen fresh farm eggs that did it for me. I lOVE fresh farm eggs and there is no comparison for me. The store-bought eggs are just not right. From taste to looks, just not right.

Now, the tricky part was the chicken. After I signed up, I realized I should have maybe asked, "Will this chicken be dead or alive?" I was just imagining I go over to pick up my share and the lady hands me this chicken - a big fat bird that is very much alive. Oh boy, what would I do with a chicken in an apartment? I'm thinking Mr. Farmer may just have himself a new pet at the farm - if the dog doesn't tend to it first.

So the week came around when it was time to deliver the chickens. I went to pick it up and found it was a huge fat bird - but frozen and processed! Score! I don't have to live with a feathery friend.

As I am looking at this bird, I realize I have never cooked a whole bird before.

So now I am approaching 10 weeks into the CSA program and love the variety of produce offered. I am glad the lettuce has ceased, and now the squash. I am cleaning out the fridge and shelves and am making room for the cucumbers and tomatoes.

As much as I like having a variety of produce ready for me every week, I do miss the atmosphere of a farmers market.

So to answer the question which one is right for you? It really depends. I would answer both - they give you two completely different experiences. And maybe one will just let you go home with a feathered friend.