Lockdown life has a lot of bullshit associated with it, but one great thing that came out of our isolation days was that my husband and I realized we wanted to be more conscientious of where we spend our dollars. More specifically, we want to focus on purchasing from small, local, and independent businesses whenever and wherever possible. We had originally intended to start buying our grocery items from our local Farmer’s Market at the start of the season, but once COVID made that impossible, we were a bit disheartened. When my husband, Franco, brought up the idea of joining a farm share in order to purchase a portion of our weekly groceries, I immediately loved the idea.
To be honest, I’d never heard of a farm share before he brought this up a month or so ago. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, you can learn more about it here. If supporting local farmers, farmers’ markets, or any local business of any kind is important to you, it’s well worth looking into to see if there are options available near you. If you live near the Toledo area, you can check out the one we joined here.
So far there’s been a few pro’s and con’s that I’ll share right here:
- I love that we have access to meet the people growing our food. I know exactly where my food comes from, and have the ability to go and visit the farm in person.
- We can support several small and local businesses this way! We had the option of adding on extra items, including eggs and chicken from a local chicken farmer, fresh bread from an independent bakery, and so many other add-on items.
- It’s more sustainable! I can’t speak for a CSA’s, but our hands out produce in reusable canvas bags and encourages its shareholders to return any and all egg cartons, plastic veggie bags, and bag ties to them to be cleaned and reused. It’s such an easy way to reduce our food waste.
- Speaking of reducing our food waste, we haven’t had any veggies go bad since starting! To be honest, I don’t notice a big difference it the actual taste of the food, but I will say it’s definitely bigger, crispier (items like lettuce or spinach), and more beautiful that their counterparts that we would normally buy at a chain grocer. Food is just way more appealing to eat when it’s pretty.
- It’s organic
- It’s encouraged us to try new things. This past week alone I’ve cooked with radishes, purple asparagus, and summer squash – a few items I would never purchase from the grocery store on my own. I have to say, I was genuinely surprised by how much I LOVED garlic roasted radishes. Who knew?!
- There is some risk involved. If a crop does poorly or does not produce, for example, it effects your share and you could end up losing money. This has not happened to us yet (fingers crossed) and our farm share has been open early on about the state of their crops and offering alternatives so we still get something, but the risk is still there.
- There was a barrier to entry financially. To join, we needed to pay an upfront cost of over $700. Honestly, I had sticker shock when I first saw the number. But once we broke down how many weeks we’d be getting out food, it came down to about $40 per week. I love comparing numbers, so when we matched up what we’d be getting to what we’d normally buy at our local grocery store, the prices were actually a fraction cheaper per week to buy from the farm share, with the added bonus of actually knowing where our food was being grown and who was growing it. SO worth the investment to me.
- You don’t really know what you’re going to get exactly. Although they do a great job of letting us know what types of foods they typically produce, you don’t find out what exactly you’re receiving until the week of. Not bad, but for a meal planner + prepper like me, it’s something to work around.
- You have to make sure you’re available for pickup. Our gorcery pickup is at a predetermined and specific time and place, so you can’t just go get it when it’s convenient for you.
Would you ever join a farm share program? If you have, what has your experience been like? Comment below because I would love to hear other peoples’ thoughts on this!