Photo courtesy Full Circle Farm
DBF & I get the majority of our produce delivered directly to our door weekly via our friendly CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), Full Circle Farm. There are literally dozens of CSA programs available in the Seattle area with a variety of different characteristics. Some CSAs require you to pay for a certain number of weeks up front, others you have to pick-up your box from a centralized location, others are only available for part of the year. Here are the characteristics of the Full Circle Farm CSA & our main reasons why we decided it was the right one for us:
- Produce available year-round
- Home delivery
- No contract or pre-payment required, just pay weekly for every box delivered & cancel any time
- Online account management for convenience
- Substitutions allowed & easy to make (if, for example, we still have onions from last week, we're not in the mood for celery, or we want to swap-out New Zealand kiwis for Washington apples)
- 10 produce items per box per week for only $35 per week
- Additional organic grocery items available for purchase & inclusion in our weekly delivery via their green grocer including bread, meat, pasta, additional produce, cheese, dairy, etc. In theory, we could have ALL of our groceries delivered to our front door weekly, but we happen to like making the trip down to the Farmers' Market every weekend to scope out deals & see what's fresh :)
- All produce & grocery items list their location of origin. I love knowing exactly where my food comes from & the freedom to take a pass on Mangoes from Peru
We've received 3 deliveries so far & just LOVE it! The only qualm with the program I have is that they're not necessarily focused on local produce. When our next delivery contents list is posted every Wednesday we have to go through & swap-out any items that come from farther away than we're comfortable with. We prefer to eat the vast majority of our foods from the Pacific Northwest (Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, & Idaho), but we will make some exceptions for food grown in California (I just don't think I could truly live long-term without oranges). Very occasionally we will also accept produce from Mexico, but those are special treats :) Our rule-of-thumb is that if we're getting produce from farther away, it needs to be something that we just can't get locally, ever. Not just something that's out of season here, but still growing in the greenhouse that is California. For example, you can't grow oranges, olives/olive oil, or avocados in the Pacific Northwest, so we make exceptions for them. The food still has to meet our standards of being grown organically & sustainably.
CSAs are becoming more common throughout the country as the locavore movement expands. The cost benefits & knowledge of your food's origin are definitely excellent reasons to see what's available in your area! Happy hunting :)
P.S. If you decide to try-out Full Circle's CSA, tell them Erin Bassett sent you! Also, they're running a promotion right now until March 1st 2011 that if you sign-up, use the promo code "EATHEALTHY", & tell them I referred you, you can get $15 off your first box & I will get a $15 credit for referring you. What a deal! ... and no, CSA does not pay me to write good things about them & I am not affiliated with them in any way.