My very first box since December! What a delight!
Farm Fresh to You offers many options for what kind of box you can get, and I actually went back and forth about which one to order. I had come back to CSAing determined to get FFTY’s Valley Box, which is a box full of produce that comes only from the Capay Valley, from Capay Farms (which is FFTY’s farm) and surrounding farms. That means the travel distance would have been around 90 miles for my whole box. But when I looked at the variety and quantity of the Valley Box compared to FFTY’s Regular Box, which is the same price, I just felt like I needed to go with the Regular Box. It wasn’t so much the stuff like SoCal citrus and Washington apples that I felt I couldn’t do without – it just seemed like there was way less produce in the Valley Box, total. I may be wrong about this (it’s hard comparing pounds to bunches to pieces), and if I’m not I’m sure there are good reasons why the Valley Box is so much pricier than the Regular, but unfortunately financial factors do have to play a part in all my food-related decision-making, and I needed to go with the greater quantity in this case.
I remember when I first started getting a CSA box, from Eatwell Farms, and I took the box-contents list from my first box to the very pricy organic produce market near my house to compare prices. When I added it all up, my box cost as much if not more than shopping at a store I normally would only shop at for emergencies! I haven’t done a comparison with this one, but I get the feeling FFTY is actually a pretty good deal, and I have no idea what Eatwell charges these days. But that’s not really the point. Getting a CSA isn’t about getting cheaper food – it’s not a Costco-type situation. Subscribing to a CSA is about being connected to the people who bear all the risk and do all the work of growing the food we all need to survive.
As I’ve said in the past, “This is the bottom-line reality of our food system: If no one took the risks to grow the food, there would be nothing to eat. Organic and sustainable and ethical and biodynamic and all that may seem like a luxury (which they aren’t really, in the long run), but food itself is not. The burden of producing a necessary commodity under variable and uncertain circumstances (no widget factories to make our fruits and veggies) should not have to be entirely assumed by the producer.” I believe in this strongly, and I wish I could throw myself completely behind my principles by ordering the Valley Box, but it’s a good step for me just to be reconnecting with community supported agriculture once more.
So, enough pontificating, what’s in the box? Well, the first thing I noticed was a change from how FFTY was packing stuff back in December (at least I don’t remember it being like this). I opened up the box and there was a giant plastic bag filled with all the wet/damp/leafy stuff:
and underneath that bag was all the dry stuff and most especially the stuff that likes to stay dry. (I’ve had sweet potatoes rot before just from sitting in water dripping from some errant greens.) This seems like a great change to me. I like to photograph my box contents, which in the past meant unpacking each item from its plastic bag, photographing it all, and then rebagging it. So having to individually bag things before I put them in the fridge isn’t a problem for me. (I have 10,000 plastic bags from all my previous CSA boxes!) I am assuming it also saves on energy somewhere – whether the giant bag takes less energy/resources to make than individual bags, or some box-packers somewhere are less likely to get carpal tunnel by packing it like this, it seems like a good move to me!
So in my bag, and under that in my box were:
Braeburn apples (2)
Strawberries (1 lb)
Eureka lemon (1) (one half of this was rotten. too bad!)
Minneola tangelos (2)
Red radishes (1 bunch)
Chard (1 bunch)
Hass avocados (2)
Celery (1 bunch)
Romaine lettuce (1 huge head)
Zucchini (1 lb)
Broccoli (1 large bunch)
Bunched carrots (1 bunch)
Garnet sweet potatoes (5 small)