CSA Share for June 18th, 2014–Of Stir Fry and Salads

It’s Wednesday, and that means another visit to the farm! Normally, I don’t make the trip to the farm every week, but it must be the warmer weather, the sunshine, and the promise of more and more fruits and veggies that have encouraged me to visit more often.

This week, for 49 points, I received/chose:

-salad greens, as our family has been on a “kick” lately….




-shiitake mushrooms and broccoli, to add to salads and stir fry (stir fry being another “kick” our family has been into these days)






-and farm-fresh eggs, because hard-boiled eggs would go great in those salads, am I right?



Anyone else reaping the joy that Summer brings to CSA shares? πŸ˜‰



CSA Pickup–Avoiding the Storm to Get Those English Muffins!

Our area is under a tornado watch until 9pm today (the radar was clear enough when we left), and that didn’t stop us from making the 45 minute drive to the farm for CSA pickup day! (It was safe outside; we would never have risked it if it wasn’t, to be fair.)

The farm’s owners posted pictures on their Facebook page of freshly made English muffins–how could we resist that??

Today’s haul, which was worth around 89 points, consisted of:

-a 2.3 lb. beef rump roast (I spared you the picture)

-homemade herbed croutons

-fruit and nut granola

-cast iron English muffins (2 bags’ worth…one for us, and one for the in-laws for watching our youngest while we made the trip)








Farmer’s Market Challenge, Weeks #1 and #2

I feel so fortunate to live in a community where there is an abundance of local, small farmers and numerous farmers’ markets to choose from throughout the week. This season, I won’t be able to frequent my favorite market on Thursdays as much due to my work schedule, but that could prove fruitful in a way because it forces me to patronize farms directly and to visit other markets in different locations and at other times.

We participate in a points-based CSA that we use primarily for meat “purchases,” and we try to make it a habit to frequent farms and markets for fruit and vegetable needs. However, one of the things we struggle with is keeping purchases in check–if we go into a market hungry and lacking a budget, we end up buying produce we often don’t use which goes to waste and hurts our wallet.

There’s also a perception that buying local is expensive–and I admit that it is in some communities. However, I’m not convinced that this is the case in most towns. I truly think that finding food from trustworthy sources can be doable even on a tight budget (and ours is definitely tight since my husband lost his full-time job in April).

I decided that our family would set a $15 cash budget each week that can be utilized at either farmers’ markets or at actual farm stands within our community, and that we would document our results. If anyone else is game, I’d love to see what you can find with the same budget in your own area. I’m hoping that our “challenge” will help motivate others to look locally when shopping for food, while helping us to curb waste and control our finances.

Last week, in the first week of our challenge, I found a quart of strawberries at a beloved local farm for $4.25. I also discovered that a smaller market exists “on the bricks” outside of the railway station where I work, and there I found a head of lettuce for $3.00, a bundle of green onions for $2.00, and two handmade soaps (sweet citrus and one that is a coffee scrub) for $6.00, bringing our total to $15.75. That’s a hair over our $15 budget for the week, but I was comfortable with it.

(Ignore the grainy cell phone camera quality of the picture…this is a photo of the haul from the market where I work.)


This week, for the second week of our challenge, I’ve gone under budget. I purchased a jar of homemade salsa at the market on Tuesdays at our local shopping mall. The salsa was $5. Then, a friend shared information with me about another local farm that I had yet to visit that is near the regional hospital–there we found another head of lettuce for $2.00 (it was HUGE), and I snagged another quart of strawberries for $4.00, bringing the week’s total to $11. I might put back the extra $4 for next week.

Pictures of some of the goodies from the last two weeks:






Anyone else with me for this “challenge?” πŸ™‚

Our Latest CSA Pickup; Plus, Some Pros and Cons of a Co-Op/Buying Club

Last Wednesday, a friend and I went to the farm to choose more offerings from the CSA table (I’m really growing fond of a points-based system over a weekly share–I get exactly what I want, AND there’s little waste). I went in with the knowledge that I wanted to focus on meat choices rather than veggies, since our family is also supporting other local farms and markets through our $15/week direct purchase budget (which might be better options to serve our vegetable and fruit needs). (More on the $15/week challenge in a future post.) I left the farm with two whole chickens, two beef steaks, and two pounds of ground pork. Yum!

I’ve also been making purchases with our local organic co-op/buying club. I haven’t been doing the best job at documenting them due to the stress of the recent job loss in our family (my husband), and my starting a new job within the last couple months. Here’s one of the purchases…20 pounds of organic sweet potatoes for $15. That was a great buy! ($2.60 for organic cream cheese didn’t seem so great to me, though, as an example of a “meh” purchase.)


I’m not sure, though, honestly, if I will continue in the co-op/buying club through the local volunteer group. See, we had placed an order for organic, grass-fed beef for $4.25 a pound, which I felt was a great price point. I waited, and waited, and went into town for two different pick-ups that never happened. My order was in for weeks, and finally, after a growing level of frustration with the procrastinating farmer, I opted out of the order. As of now, the order STILL hasn’t come to fruition for those who are opting to continue in wait for their meat order. That is one of the biggest drawbacks for me with the co-op/buying club. Deliveries and pick-ups are very difficult to arrange and coordinate between work schedules, truck drivers, etc. And in this case, this particular order might not happen–which was frustrating to me because we needed the ground beef. We ended up going with another local source for the beef instead because we simply needed it. What choice do you have, you know?

So, our CSA co-op is going wonderfully, but the one that works through wholesale dealers and volunteers…well…my mind isn’t made up yet. We shall see.

CSA 2014 Pickup #3: What 100 Points Bought Me

FINALLY, I was able to head back out to the farm to pick out more CSA goodies–and I had a friend in tow! Β Even though there was a threat of rain in the forecast (we missed a visit due to a torrential rain and severe thunderstorm a couple weeks back–we were even on the road already, too!), we made it there and stayed dry! And I think it was worth the trip! πŸ™‚

Today’s haul, for roughly 100 points, bought me:








My total haul was a bag of mesclun salad mix, baby spinach, a pint of shiitake mushrooms, rosemary-wheat rolls, broccoli raab, and homemade dandelion salve (for aching muscles).

If you participate in a CSA, has it started yet?

Organic Co-op/Buying Club Order #2

Admittedly, this post is a couple weeks overdue, and some of the items I purchased have already been, um, consumed, but…..

I wanted to document the latest order from our local organic co-op/buying club.

My initial order was:

-6 almond/coconut milk beverages

-1 package chlorine free feminine care products

-3 1.5 lb. bags of wild rice

-3 packages of organic Hollandaise mix

-6 cans of organic white kidney beans

However, I found out upon pickup that the almond/coconut milk drinks were no longer available (they would have been the best deal of any of the products), and only one of my bags of wild rice made it to the delivery.

In the ongoing “inventory” they have on hand, I did snag two small blocks of organic raw milk cheddar cheeses and a jar of organic salsa.

So, I ended up walking out with the two cheeses, six cans of organic white kidney beans, three packages of Hollandaise mix, the feminine care products, 1 bag of wild rice, and a jar of organic salsa for $36. I’m still not convinced that this is the best deal–honestly, I was gunning for the almond/coconut milk at $1.56 a pop, but backordered and discontinued stock is one of the negative aspects of a buying club.

I do have an order in this upcoming week for 8 lbs. of 100% grass fed, organic beef ($34) and 20 lbs. of organic sweet potatoes ($15), and I feel like both of these will end up proving to be worthwhile expenditures. I’ll document my progress for each of these this week, and whether or not the items arrive as indicated.


CSA 2014: Pickup #2 and Piggies

With everything going on in our lives, it’s been easy to neglect going to the farm, even though we missed having the goodies. So, today, we went to pickup some CSA treats, after having to plan the trip a few days in advance, just so we could ensure we would actually do it.

Today’s haul included:

-four honey and corn muffins (not pictured, because they didn’t survive the 45 minute drive home)

-one loaf of focaccia bread




-two dozen eggs



-one pound of bacon



-and two packages of fresh ham slices



The full haul, minus the already-consumed muffins….



I’m guessing this used around 120 points out of our share of 800. Including the bundle from our last pickup, we’ve used roughly a quarter the points available (we plan on working for more if we run out).

I’m including some pictures of the residents at the farm….