Earlier this month Emily and I spoke at our local Weston A Price Foundation chapter meeting. “The Foundation is dedicated to restoring nutrient-dense foods to the human diet through education, research and activism.” If you are not familiar with the work of Dr. Price you can learn all about it at www.westonaprice.org Naturally we were there talking about the importance of eating fresh, locally grown fruits and vegetables. We talked about when you know your farmer and have the opportunity to visit/be a part of the farm that grows your food you will know you are getting nutrient dense foods and you will know the quality. To start our talk we spread out a lovely display of our CSA box and next to it a duplicate of our box which I bought at our local Safeway. Safeway did not have everything we have in the weekly share, but I did the best I could, substituting romanesco with a cauliflower and pomelo with two grapefruits. Not everything was organic, but when they had it available as an organic item I bought that. The “Safeway CSA” cost $28.83 using the Safeway Club Card to get the discounted items at the special price. I can tell you honestly there was no comparison when looking at the two. Arugula and Spinach came in plastic boxes, the cauliflower was wrapped in plastic and nothing was nearly as fresh as what is in our CSA box. But it was the final price at the check out that really surprised me, for less food and certainly less quality you paid the same amount of money.
I know there are trade offs you have to accept as a CSA member, like you aren’t choosing what you get, sometimes there are aphids, or the strawberries are too ripe. But I have bought a lot of produce in my life and had potatoes and onions that were rotten inside, way too many peaches that looked beautiful, smelled good and were completely mealy inside, and I expected every basket of organic strawberries would have a least one bad strawberry. Produce is perishable, but I was committed to organic and I knew it would never be perfect. I have to say, what I saw at Safeway was far from it and a lot of that is produce grown with the use of plenty of sprays.
Living on the farm and learning about this side of food has been such an eye opener for me. There really is so much we take for granted, and so very little, we regular (non-farmer) people know when it comes to the food we eat. I so appreciate Nigel’s love of sharing his knowledge, not just with me but with all of us. We will keep the stories coming! - Lorraine