Birthday CSA

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on April 23, 2009


On the way home from our journey this afternoon, we stopped to do a quick grocery order before my mom and stepdad arrive tomorrow.

It’s not just a fake house, it’s a fake kitchen too! :)


Going clockwise from the Organic PC Romaine:

  • Organic baby spinach (large)
  • Free Run Boneless Chicken Breast (to keep the men happy tomorrow!)
  • Cantaloupe
  • Sweet Onion
  • 1 large english cuke
  • Organic Granny Smith Apples that were on sale
  • Bag of avocados (5)
  • Plum tomatoes (4)
  • Bananas (I buy a bunch and let most get over ripe and then freeze them for baking)
  • No Salt Added Canned Tomatoes
  • Black Beans
  • Lima Beans

  • 4 Almond Breeze (on sale) 2 original, 2 unsweetened
  • 1 Low Fat soy milk
  • 2 Original Money’s Gardenburgers (my fav!)
  • Kale (NOT organic, our grocery store seems to not be carrying the organic now for some reason…!)
  • Whole Wheat Tortillas
  • 1 red pepper


  • Icing Sugar
  • 2 Zucchini
  • Oranges, navel  

Lots of green goodness, eh? :D

However, something has been on my mind lately with my grocery orders, most notably with the produce.

The problem is- much of the produce I buy (Organic romaine and spinach) is sold in non-recyclable plastic boxes.

You know, I actually assumed incorrectly that I could recycle these until Eric told me last week that you can’t and the plastic ends up in the landfill. EDIT: I checked and apparently you can recycle the spinach box- note to self: Don’t listen to hubby! lol

I must say, I go through a lot of this spinach and romaine. Unfortunately they don’t sell the organic spinach non-bagged- only the non-organic kind. I always prefer to buy greens organic since they are among the dirty dozen (most contaminated produce):

(worst) Peaches – 100

Apples – 93

Sweet Bell Peppers – 83

Celery – 82

Nectarines – 81

Strawberries – 80

Cherries – 73

Kale – 69

Lettuce – 67

Grapes – Imported from outside U.S. – 66

Carrots – 63

Pears – 63

Collard Greens – 60

Spinach – 58


I always buy our apples organic as well as our carrots. I try to buy the bell peppers organic but our store doesn’t always carry them. I find the organic selection in my grocery store is very poor and the produce is often not fresh!

Which brings me to this exciting news:

Community Shared Agriculture (CSA)

I think I have been living under a rock because I had no idea that my area had Organic CSA’s! My BIL sent me an article from The Star on CSA’s in Southern Ontario and I was super stoked.

I came across Plan B Organic Farm:


What is a CSA?

“Community Shared Agriculture (CSA) is a system of growing and distributing organic produce that restores the link between the farmers and city dwellers. Successful in Japan and Western Europe since 1965, CSA today operates on approximately 1000 farms in North America.

In early spring each year, local households purchase subscription “shares” of the year’s harvest from a local organic farm. CSA “shareholders” pay for their produce at the beginning of the growing season, providing the necessary start-up capital for farmers to purchase seeds, supplies and soil amendments, eliminating their reliance on expensive bank loans and helping to pay for the real cost of food.

5 Great Things about CSA?

  1. Provides local farmers with an economically viable farm business
  2. Consumers gain access to affordable, fresh, & local organic foods
  3. Consumers learn about what grows in Ontario and how to “eat seasonally”
  4. Strengthens the local economy and builds community
  5. Less transportation & packaging makes for a healthier local environment

This not only satisfied my need for fresher organic produce, but for a more environmentally friendly option as well! I will be cutting down the packaging use tremendously. They give you a box and you use it for the entire 19 week period.

What does it Cost?

At Plan B Organic Farms, it costs about $23 per week  for 19 weeks (June-Oct). You get 9-12 pieces of produce per week.  Not too shabby for fresh organic produce! I know we are spending more than that each week on poor quality stuff at the grocery store.

The only problem?

Money has been tight for us so I can’t just go out and spend this kind of money off the bat.

However, I do have a birthday coming up in May! *evil cackle*

I think you know where this is going…

I have asked Eric to forgo buying me birthday gifts this year and instead donate to my CSA fund. I think he laughed and called me a nerd.

Umm excuse me, the last time I checked it was cool to be green!

I am also asking the same from my parents. I hope to save enough to be able to get this CSA half share for the summer! I also want to start my own veggie garden, but I’m not sure if that will happen this summer or next.

Tonight’s Question: Have you ever used a CSA? What was your experience? Is it on one of you ‘things to do’? I know it has been on my list for a while now!

Fabulously Fun Friday

Stay tuned for a whole lotta blogger fun coming up tomorrow!

  • MOM + ME Gardening
  • The winner of the mascara giveaway
  • MOM + ME bake-off
  • Fabulous weather + outdoor workouts!
  • Running talk
  • A t-shirt I am designing
  • Where I bought that damn bamboo box- your questions finally answered!
  • and more…

See you then!

Don’t forget to check out my Shop 4 a Cause page and let me know what you are donating for the auction :) It is going to be so much fun!


PS- Does anyone know if you can set Windows Live Writer to automatically save drafts as you type? I lost my post tonight THREE times. And I even saved it. I don’t know whats going on with it.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

Help Meghan Run April 23, 2009 at 9:46 pm

Great info about the CSAs! I have looked into it a couple times but have never committed. Hopefully you get to do it!

Check out my blog as I run with Team in Training and raise money for blood cancers!
www. HelpMeghanRun .com


Mara @ What's For Dinner? April 23, 2009 at 9:46 pm

I always buy organic peaches, its one of those things my mom taught me to do!!


Marian April 23, 2009 at 10:01 pm

I absolutely LOVE the Money’s Veggie Burgers too! I bought a box last week and am pretty sure I used them within 4 days!


Run Sarah April 23, 2009 at 10:03 pm

The CSA looks interesting, but too expensive for me…the best I do is try to buy organic when on sale, and buy locally. Love Money’s burgers, I just finished enjoying one for dinner!


Caitlin April 23, 2009 at 10:08 pm

I love love love my CSA! I highly recommend it. It actually ends up saving you money in the end because it’s a lot of food and you plan your recipes around what you have. Ours is supposedly for two as well, but I often have to work hard to use all the food. It also makes me more creative in the kitchen and cook with different veggies which is always fun. Needless to say, I’m a big fan:)


Marissa April 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Good to know about the dirty dozen!


Kris April 23, 2009 at 10:12 pm

Hey Ange,

Have you considered planting a garden of your own on your beautiful property? Aunt Jenn has had her own for 2 years now and I am sure she would be more than happy to help you start yours. She uses no pesticides of course and plants her garden for next to nothing! I think you would do a great job and would take great pride in making your own produce!

Just an idea…


PS- Pete’s parents have an amazing garden with everything you could think of and more…They would be more than willing to share as much as you need/want. They have so much that they usually have to throw stuff away. Also, we can help you get any info. you may need on starting your own garden. Their produce is the best I have ever tasted and it is natural!


Ruth (Plentiful Plants) April 23, 2009 at 10:13 pm

For the salad containers, if you can’t recycle them, you can at least reuse some of them. My roomie and I use them as spare vegetable drawers in our fridge to keep large amounts of produce fresher longer (since we both eat a ton of fruits and veggies), and there are a few hiding in the kitchen cupboards to help organize spices and oatmeal toppings and the like.


Lindsay April 23, 2009 at 10:19 pm

I didn’t know you can’t recycle those either. I always put them in my blue box. Makes me think too. I love the idea of the CSA, I will have to see if there is one closer to me. I am planning on shopping at my local farmers market every Saturday morning. I really want a vegetable garden, I just need a fence first so the neighbourhood kids are not playing in it!


Alison April 23, 2009 at 10:28 pm

CSAs are great. I did one a few years ago and really enjoyed the variety of local vegetables. Unfortunately, they’re quite expensive. I’m going to try growing my own veggies this summer instead.


Christina April 23, 2009 at 10:49 pm

you should definitely start your own garden! My boyfriend and I did it last year and got so much produce. This year we’re expanding it and planting like everything possible! Gardening is also a great workout :)


Erin April 23, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Yes! We bought a share the previous 2 years. It was fun to be a part of a local farm’s work efforts. This year I chose not to renew our CSA b/c there were several veggies we got that we didn’t care for. And since the CSA is expensive, I’d rather spend my $$ at our local farmers market getting the stuff I want. Have fun with it!

Oh hey, is is called Free Run Chickens in CN? We call it free range down here! :)


Jen April 23, 2009 at 10:56 pm

You should research other CSAs in the Niagara Horseshoe – I know for sure there are several in the Hamilton/Burlington area (not sure how far away you are) and based on the research I did last summer (too late to qualify, unfortunatley), I think they were all less than $450 – but that probably doesn’t take into account delivery vs pickup. I’m still toying with the idea for this year. I don’t especially care if we get organic stuff, but I do like the idea of buying locally and reducing our carbon footprint.


Anna April 23, 2009 at 11:29 pm

YAY I’m so happy you’re asking for a CSA membership! Seriously, it is the BEST. I worked on a farm that ran a CSA last summer and did lots of the planting, cultivating, and harvesting. Harvesting and putting together the CSA orders was my favorite part!

Eating locally is one of the best things you can do for the earth and for yourself. The food just tastes SO MUCH BETTER and you value each piece of produce a lot more knowing that someone hand-picked it just for you not long ago. Ok I could gush about CSAs for a long time but I’ll stop there, haha.


amy April 23, 2009 at 11:50 pm

I think that a CSA membership is much more economical than the grocery store. My hubby and I subscribe to one out of Ester, Alaska (yes, we even have them in Alaska!) that costs $400 for the whole summer.

Since money has been tight for us also, I called them and asked if I could pay in installments, which they were more than happy to do!

Since we live 120 miles each way from a grocery store, it makes “cents” to join the CSA that delivers once a week to Denali (where we live). That means that if we plan it right and stick to menus we will have fresh produce every week, and can probably restock at the grocery store once a month.

I’m a big big big fan of CSAs. I bet that if you talk to the farm they will be willing to work out something with you


Hallie April 24, 2009 at 12:50 am

I LOVE LOVE my CSA. Not only is it better for the planet, and not only are you supporting your local farmers, but the produce is the freshest you’ll ever taste. Like, you never would have thought lettuce could taste so good! And it forces you to be creative (like, “hey I have a crap-ton of bok choy what on earth am I going to make LOL)

Another way to cut costs (maybe this wouldn’t work for you, but it might for some other readers) is to split the CSA share with a friend. I share mine with 2 other people. I still get PLENTY of veggies for the BF and me and it’s only $10 per week.


Leah @ Simply Fabulous Now April 24, 2009 at 1:59 am

I think it’s great you want to do CSA. Even better to plant your own! Maybe we could do the journey together hehe.. because I have never had a garden either, but surely it can’t be that tough. I would love to do CSA but our budget just won’t allow for it :(


Sanja April 24, 2009 at 2:15 am

Tools > Options > Editing > Automatically save drafts every … minutes.

In the Netherlands, the reason they wrap organic stuff is because they want to make a visual difference between the organic and the non-organic stuff. Since the non-organic stuff is sold much more, they’ve chosen to wrap the organic stuff, which will be lots less wrapping in the bigger picture.


Dee April 24, 2009 at 2:22 am

Kerr Village Organic Farmers’ Market
340 Kerr Street Heritage Square
Oakville, ON

There a few organic markets in Oakville, Milton area. I find the season price high and I really like to pick out my food and not have it shipped, that is just me. Just dropped you this so you know there are other options also whole foods carries a lot of organic veggies,fruit, yogart, milk and my fav spices.


Dee April 24, 2009 at 2:22 am

Here is the web address


Dee April 24, 2009 at 2:36 am

I see you picked up seeds. Did you know that $200.00 worth of seeds will grow a minimum of $2200.00 dollars worth of produce at low seasonal prices! That is the US amounts so it would be even more cost effective in Canada.
Time to hoe, hoe, hoe ladies.
Then pickle and bottle and blanch and freeze.
I have an organic garden in my back yard. Organic to me means pick the damn weeds by hand grrr. But the food tastes great and its nice knowing nothing was ever sprayed on my food other then water. I say it’s organic as I know nothing has been sprayed on my property in 10 years. Nothing on the grass the paving stones or garden. Yes I have honey suckle, dandelions and anything else a patch of dirt can grow but I never call them weeds. They will always be flowers to me. I use boiling water on the patio stones to kill weeds and use a tool to pick weeds out of the lawn and garden. I have never seen a reason for spraying. I come from farm country and know the health risk. Farm land now means cancer zone, its sad to say but very true.


Danielle April 24, 2009 at 6:29 am

Oh my gosh that sounds like such a great birthday present! I have worked with a CSA farm before near my university and had a wonderful experience. I got a gigantic box of beautiful, fresh, and organic produce every 2 weeks, I love it! :)


Jessica April 24, 2009 at 7:55 am

I feel very fortunate to live in a “foodie town” that appreciates the local farmers and restaurants. It’s one of the biggest reasons I love it here so much, I’ve subscribed to a CSA for 4 seasons. Totally worthe very penny!


Jenna April 24, 2009 at 8:21 am

thats such a good idea to have your family give you money for CSA instead bday gifts….I have been wanting to join CSA but the $$ holds me back most of the time….It really shouldn’t I just need join. Considering I spend a ton in produce at the store..


Aimee April 24, 2009 at 8:34 am

I posted about my CSA yesterday on my blog. Our CSA actually already started. I love love love it!!! Money was tight for us too (I lost my job in March), but we thought maybe in the end this would save us money.


Jodi April 24, 2009 at 8:39 am

I agree with planting your own garden. There are many wonderful books you can borrow from the library to get you started. There’s nothing better and more fulfilling than your own freshly picked produce.

Here’s some gardening tips, put hay down around and in between your veggie plants. This will help keep the soil moist so you won’t have to use as much water (also it keeps the weeds at bay). Lay a soaker hose around your plants rather than spraying above which can make the skins of tomatoes tough/split. The trick to a soaker hose is arranging it when it’s wet and using tent pegs to stakes to keep it in place.

You could also check to see if you have a Local Farmers Market nearby — many of them sell organic products. (Also, shares for CSA’s sell out quickly)


VeggieGirl April 24, 2009 at 9:01 am

Loove CSAs!!


brandi April 24, 2009 at 9:02 am

I think birthday CSA is a great idea! I should ask for that, too. I just bought myself an HRM, and that’s what I really wanted but I couldn’t wait until june :)


Kristin April 24, 2009 at 9:20 am

Thanks for posting about this, I had no idea something like this existed! I looked this up in my area and we do have quite a few, but some of them are already full so I may have to do some digging! Although it is kind of expensive up front, I definitely think you would get your money worth.

I wish I had a yard to plant in, but living in an apartment I have limited options! I did have a balcony herb garden last summer that I loved and will be starting that again this weekend. Thanks for the informative post!


Jill April 24, 2009 at 9:28 am

My friend and I are getting ready to share a share in our local CSA. Since it is our first time, we opted to share it to see if it was worth while and it would not cost us each as much as a full share.

Our CSA also offers a payment plan!

Could you re-purpose the containers that are not recyclable?


Leila April 24, 2009 at 9:52 am

I’ve always wanted to participate in a CSA, but living on my own makes it a bit difficult because even the small boxes are a bit too much produce for just one person. Plan B is an amazing CSA though. Once you join, you can visit the farm any time you want, it really speaks to getting to know those who grow your food. I have a friend who is a part of the Plan B CSA and have only heard amazing things about the farm’s owners.


Hannah April 24, 2009 at 10:01 am

CSA’s are a great idea! And with the produce packaging, for the ones that aren’t recyclable, could you wash and reuse the packaging for other things, like storing stuff or leftover foods?


MaryBe April 24, 2009 at 6:56 pm

Thanks for the list of the ‘dirty dozen’. I had no idea.
I am learning so much from you Angela


coco April 29, 2009 at 5:42 am

great info about what to buy organic. I’ve always wondered which are the MUST veggies/fruits. And I’ll check CSA right now! :)


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