Consumer tips on joining a CSA

Things to consider when joining a CSA.

Now is the time to join a local CSA as some CSA memberships may sellout early spring. Before you join a CSA, here are some consumer tips that will help you make a good decision on joining a CSA.

Michigan State University Extension says to consider the following items before making your final choice:

Decide what type of membership will work for you: If you’re lucky and live in an area where there are several CSA’s you may have options on the type of membership you would like such as; quarterly, monthly and weekly membership options.

Pick-up time and location: Even though you’re paying for the convenience of receiving fresh local produce, make sure that the pick-up time and location is convenient for you and won’t be a hassle and sacrifice to get to. If a particular CSA pick-up time does not work for you, look for a CSA where its pick-up time and location will fit into your schedule

How much produce can you expect (share): Usually the standard amount is for a family of four, but the quantity of produce you get will vary through the growing season. The quantity of produce that you will receive is something you will want to get an understanding of from the CSA so that you won’t be surprised or disappointed.

There may be dirt on your produce: Be prepared to spend some time washing, cleaning and preparing your produce to cook. If your new to a CSA and are used to shopping at the grocery stores for produce items which have been rinsed and cleaned, be prepared to buy additional produce items. Most likely your CSA will not be able to supply you with all your produce needs.

What happens when you’re on vacation: Have a plan to have your produce picked up by a family member or friend. Having someone else pick-up your produce while you’re away will ensure you’re receiving produce which you have paid for.

When CSA’s harvest season is at its peak, you may consider preserving your produce to enjoy throughout the year. MSU Extension has developed fruit and vegetable fact sheets on storing and preserving Michigan’s bounty. Go to MI Fresh – MSU Extension for more information.

If you’re interested in joining a local Michigan CSA you can go to the Local Harvest website or the Organic Consumers Association website.

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