I finally stopped flirting with the idea of a CSA and signed up. I pay $20 a week for a box of vegetables and $40 a month for meat dropped off weekly nearby. It took me about two years to do it, though. For one, there’s the memory of wrinkled apples and wilty lettuce that used to come delivered stamped with the word organic in bold letters on the drop-off boxes. Also I didn’t know if the quantity would suffice. Plus I have to admit the bargain produce at Berkeley Bowl drew me like a magnet especially with two teenagers who ate like football players. I checked out a meat CSA but don’t have room in the freezer for a side of beef and half of a lamb. It’s possible to buy a freezer to put in the carport downstairs but the electricity stopped working and then I’d have to worry about keeping it locked up. I was also plain indecisive.
Finally I signed up for Tara Firma, a place in Petaluma that raises animals.
The farmers market near my apartment is lavish and convenient but the advice I kept getting was to go straight to the producer and cut out the middleman (or woman as the number of women farmers is growing). I got the impression a few years ago while working on a slow money article that farmers preferred CSAs in many ways. It seems like it is one way to put the money in the pocket of the farmers instead of stores. Not that they’re always farms run by family so I don’t want to sound too naive. But just look at these photos. I pick up my first shipment tomorrow.