Gardens, CSA’s, & Farmer’s Markets…Do You Use Them?

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on April 12, 2011


Some of you might remember last May when we bought a CSA share from Plan B organic farms. It was our first time ever buying a CSA share and we were excited for local and organic food each week.

Well to clarify, it was mostly ME who was excited…but excitement is contagious and I think Eric secretly enjoyed it too.

…I think it was all the cooking I did!


We quickly learned that there were things we loved about the CSA share and things that we didn’t love.


1) Value for dollar

At just $20 something dollars a week, we were given a huge box of organic produce. It would have cost much more had we purchased this at the grocery store. Even so, we wouldn’t have been able to find everything organic at the grocery store and I can bet it wouldn’t have been local either.

2) Support local organic farmers

3) Fresh & Crisp produce, better quality than what we find at grocery store

4) Our veggie consumption went way up and we felt amazing.

5) We tried so many new vegetables. Even scary ones!



1) Lots of Repetition

By August/September we were getting tons and tons of potatoes and squash (among other things) and we got so sick of the repetition. I’m sure if we lived in a tropical climate, there would be a better selection of produce each week, but around here I think we are more limited.

2) No choice in what produce you get

We often found ourselves longing for some items that were in season and they never came                 (e.g., tomatoes).

3) Picking up the box each week

We opted not to get a delivery to save money. We found out only after we purchased the share that the pick-up location was a 25 minute drive from our house and it wasn’t overly convenient for us. Plan B does not disclose the pick-up location until your make the purchase. Obviously, this was a con for our particular circumstance, but pick-up location is still something to consider before buying.

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Our 2011 Produce Plan

This year, we decided that we are going to change things up and do things a bit differently!

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Our plan for the 2011 season is to:

1) Possibly plant a garden this Spring, time willing! 

2) Buy produce from the Milton Farmer’s Market. We aren’t working at the Oakville market this summer so we hope to attend the Milton Market (as customers!) as much as possible this year. It opens May 14th.

3) Buy produce from local organic farm. I recently discovered that there is an organic farm not too far from us. This organic farm lets you buy produce on Wednesday evenings and they will also be selling at the Milton Farmer’s Market on Saturdays.

(If we plant a garden, we won’t need to rely on the farm/market as much…but we’ll have to see!)


If we manage to build a garden, I plan on showing the process on the blog. I really have NO CLUE how to build a veggie garden (and I don’t know a thing about vegetable gardening!), but my RMT has been teaching me a lot about it because she is a pro. :) I’m sure I can find some tutorials online too.

I hope our new plan will work out well this season. I will keep you updated on our progress!

Do you have a plan of how you will be buying your produce this Spring and Summer? Do you ever use a CSA, Farmer’s Market, local farm, or plant your own veggies? If you plant your own garden, how did you start it up?

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{ 206 comments… read them below or add one }

Julie @ Shining From Within April 12, 2011 at 9:18 am

I’m actually planning on growing my own garden too! I have some organic basil + tomatoes that I’m hoping to plant soon and I want to get some watermelon + other veggies too! I got my seeds at Home Depot (you’re fav place in the world ;)) so if you’re looking for seeds that’s a place to go. I hope I can see how you end up growing your garden. My dad sad he’s going to help me start one up (with the dirt, set-up, etc) so I’m looking forward to blogging my experiences too!
I’d love to find a local organic farm/farmer’s market… I’m on the hunt for one right now!

I can’t waaaait to start my garden.. I’m itching to get down and dirty :)


Mandy April 12, 2011 at 9:20 am

I eliminated the cons in your list by signing up for KC Door to Door Organics ( They deliver and you can sub out items you don’t really want for something else. I love it!


PR_Cal April 12, 2011 at 1:05 pm

We have the same thing here in Edmonton (called The Organic Box). Delivered to your door, able to sub produce and also add on extra items such as dry goods, beans/legumes, etc.

Though in the summer, I enjoy being out at the market, so I might pause my order for a few months!


TanyaS April 13, 2011 at 4:05 pm

I have the Organic Box delivered too and loved it over the winter so I didn’t have to leave my house.

But in the summer I love a combination of farmers market and You can purchase their Good Food Box for a grab bag of produce, or shop for produce, meats, legumes & other goodies indvidually. All 100% local to the Greater Edmonton Region.


Roanne April 12, 2011 at 9:23 am

I sometimes get my produce from the farmers market, I like it because most of it is local unfortunately it’s not organic. I really want to plant my own garden! Not sure if most seeds are GMO or if you can actually buy organic seeds, what kind of seeds do you use?


Carolyn H. April 12, 2011 at 9:25 am

I started a garden last year. It is hard work, and difficult when I travel for work. I planted in the ground and in earth boxes. My earth boxes did amazing. The in-ground garden was rocking too until we got days and days of rain and the ground flooded and I lost everything. Bummer. I guess that is why you need raised beds?!? I don’t know. It is a fun experiment though, and I sure have lots more respect for organic farmers now!


Angie @ Musings of a Violet Monkey April 12, 2011 at 9:26 am

I had an amazing 4×6 raised bed garden last year, along with a lot of pots/containers. This year I am adding an additional TWO 4×4 raised bed gardens to what I already had. I LOVE growing my own veggies and herbs. It is completely awesome, and I highly recommend it!
I also shop the local Farmers Markets for products that I don’t grow, eggs, local meat and just for the social aspect of it, as well.



Chrissy (The New Me) April 12, 2011 at 9:27 am

I actually JUST posted about our new CSA this morning. It is our second one and a better fit than our first experience. While I agree with the repetition that can happen, I figure that’s just a part of eating in season. We supplement our basket with other stuff from the farmers’ market and the grocery store, but it’s fun to slip our CSA items into everything I make. Last night we had black bean and tofu enchiladas and I threw in our CSA chard because it was getting wilty. A delicious addition!


jenna April 12, 2011 at 9:27 am

i always go back and forth about csa! I have never done invested in it because I thought it was a bit expensive and afraid the produce would go to waste since there is just 2.5 of us eating it. It wouldn’t be worth is for my family but I think the idea is good but needs to be changed up a bit to suite more people. I love the farmers market.


Erin (Travel Eat Repeat) April 12, 2011 at 9:27 am

I love my CSA because it’s set up like a farmer’s market. You’re given different-sized baskets and instructed to fill one with veggies, one with fruit, etc. Choose all apples or none; lots of tomatoes or just one; whatever sounds good. It’s definitely more flexible than a traditional CSA and all for just $25/week!


Lesley Lifting Life April 12, 2011 at 9:29 am

That’s our plan as well! I agree, CSA’s repetition gets boring, and I find, too, that I long for other variety that I never got, and then some food would go bad because we were tired of it, etcetera. We don’t know anything about gardening either, but it’s on our radar for the next few months … we’ll see how it goes! ;)


Lauren April 12, 2011 at 9:29 am

I love farmers markets, especially because of the variety of produce you can find depending on the day and the vendors! That’s my favorite way to get fresh food. I’ve been a little skeptical of getting a CSA share because I feel like we would get bored with the produce and probably waste some of it, but one day I would like to give it a shot because it does seem like a good value.


Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat April 12, 2011 at 9:30 am

Great topic Ange! I was thinking about finding a CSA, but like you said in your cons, I’m not sure the repetition is something I’d cope well with. I like having a big variety all the time! However, I’ve yet to price it out so I still plan to do a bit more research. My plan for this year is to go to the 2 local farmer’s markets more, as they tend to be cheap and it’s nice to know I’m supporting local businesses.


Jennifer April 12, 2011 at 9:31 am

Planting a vegetable garden is great! I planted my first one last year and got a lot of great fresh veggies from it! We did have some stuff that just didn’t grow or ripen the way it should’ve, but it’s all a learning process, and it’s seriously so exciting to go outside and see like baby veggies growing lol. If you do plant a garden, definitely look into seed saving for next year, it’s so much more cost effective than buying new seeds or plants every year.


Sarah-Mae @ Eat, Run, Knit April 12, 2011 at 9:33 am

I’m hoping on having a garden this spring/summer, as well as utilizing the local farmer’s market for as much as possible.
The sailorman and I have been talking a lot about the food we buy and both conclude that we’re not ready to try going 100% “locavore”, or feel the need to. We love coffee, baked goods, and BANANAS too much! However, we are going to try to source as much as humanly possible from our own property and the farm’s around us before we head to the supermarket – and once at the supermarket, we will try to buy as HUMANELY as possible as well.


[email protected] April 12, 2011 at 9:33 am

I have no garden as I live in a flat but luckily I have an organic farm shop a short drive away which is wonderful. I also get a fortnightly organic veg box delivery and love to visit local green grocers and markets but unfortunately they aren’t always organic. I do try and go for a balance between striving for organic but still getting a good variety!


AGS @ West With Flight April 12, 2011 at 9:34 am

For starting up gardens: beginning with containers is a nice first step: herbs, tomatoes, sugar peas, etc. I’m not sure what your growing season is, but containers give you the most flexibility. Things like asparagus take 3 years to mature from the initial planting. . . so that requires a bit more of a commitment for gardening. I, frankly, have never moved beyond the container stage.


Susan April 12, 2011 at 9:34 am

We do a combination…being in Northeast Florida, I originally thought our resources were limited, but I was wrong! We have a great farmer’s market year round, with great offerings! And there is a second farmer’s/arts market in “the big city” nearby.
AND we were able to get enough customers together to get the Jacksonville organic deliverer to come to our little island, so we now get 5lbs. of organic produce delivered every other week, $25. I love the variety I’ve been exposed to, but I do believe we were worn out by parsnips in the fall!
Last, we live in a condo, with a small patio. My husband, the farmer, grows swiss chard, collard greens, tomatoes, spicy peppers, brussel sprouts, and a bunch of different herbs for me!

BTW: I had my first vegan overnight oats for breakfast this morning! Wow! At first, I thought, I’m never going to eat all of this, but I did! Yum! And, I’m not hungry yet! Usually by this time I’m famished and eager to snack! I may alternate the oats with the Green Monsters each morning! Thank you for your recipes!!


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 12, 2011 at 9:36 am

Thanks for sharing! It sounds like you have some fantastic options over there! I am impressed that your husband grows all of that on a patio too! :)

Glad to hear you enjoyed the VOO. :)


Devi April 12, 2011 at 9:35 am

We shop the farmer’s market every weekend when it’s in season. We also have a large garden. Our backyard is more food than grass. We started out small, square foot gardening with a single plot of tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini. Now we have 6 plots and grow the majority of our own produce. Heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, pole beans, dried beans, broccoli, cabbage, eggplant, zucchini, peppers, a few varieties of potatoes and 5 or 6 different kinds of greens. We have raspberry and blackberry bushes and a separate herb garden as well. It’s a lot of work, but so much fun and so rewarding. I love growing the food we eat. My kids enjoy helping in the garden and it’s gotten them to eat and enjoy a wide variety of veg.


Nikki T April 12, 2011 at 9:35 am

I’m in the same boat as you! I want to plant a garden this year…time wise, will it happen?? We’ll see! But, I also have no idea on where to start/how to garden veggies…Maybe we can learn together!?
The other option was joining Edmonton’s ‘The Organic Box’, which like some others mentioned, has a delievery or pick up service as well as the option to switch out things you may not want for other things…But the cost is definately a factor…
We’ll see what happens!


Katy @ A Healthy Shot April 12, 2011 at 9:36 am

My family has always had a veggie garden, but last year we got more serious about it and ended up with TONS of fresh veggies! You can look up most of the instructions online and we also picked up some gardening magazines for some basic plans and planting tips. It was such a great feeling to make a complete meal with veggies from our yard, and I found out that kale can actually grow year round, even in snow!


Melissa Wilkinson April 12, 2011 at 9:39 am

Last year I was part of a CSA but I won’t be joining this year for a lot of the reasons you mentioned. Plus I found the people from the pick-up to be snotty :(

So… produce plan for spring/summer is to buy from Farmer’s Markets. I am super lucky to live close to 3 different markets.

From time to time I order a Good Food Box. I love everything they stand for:

I definitely don’t garden – I kill bamboo and cactuses!! Or is it cacti?


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 12, 2011 at 10:50 am

I do too!!! lol. Doh!


Melissa April 13, 2011 at 8:17 am

There may be hope for us! I stumbled upon the Toronto and Region Conversation website. They are offering free and low cost events on organic lawn care, gardening with plants native to Southern Ontario, recycling rain, garden design etc.
It could be helpful?


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2011 at 10:19 am



Leah @ L4L April 12, 2011 at 9:43 am

We signed up for a CSA for the first time this year. We got a really good deal on it. I’m sure we’ll be happy with it! We are also starting a very small (4’x6′) garden that will be mostly herbs and greens (kale, collards, chard) because I feel like that is what we go through the most and can save the most money. We will also supplement this with trips to the Farmer’s Market but probably not weekly like we did last summer. Maybe every couple of weeks. And I am certainly not against having to end up at the grocery store for a couple other produce items. We’ll never see bananas in this part of the world. ;)


Autumn Tao April 12, 2011 at 9:43 am

For a while you spoke regularly about your business and the farmer’s market last year, but you’ve cut back significantly. I get that’s this is a healthy food and living blog, but I know I’m curious how your business is going and why you decided not to do the market again. Can you share?



Jena April 13, 2011 at 7:19 am

I was curious about this too:) I was totally going to check out your stuff at the Oakville market this summer, but now I’ll order your delicious bars online.
I’m very interested to hear more about your gardening plans! I’m going to make a raised bed this weekend – gotta make use of my Dad while he’s in town!!!


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2011 at 10:22 am

I decide not to blog a lot about the business because I don’t feel that this is really the place to go on and on about my business. I do mention when I have sales and whatnot. We’re not doing the market because we had no personal/social life last summer because of it and I was working 7 days a week, Not healthy for anyone. Also, I can’t keep up with online orders as it is!


Autumn Tao April 13, 2011 at 11:19 am

I’m glad to hear your business is so successful. So many of us in blog-land are rooting for you, so it’s nice to hear the quick updates that you are finding success following your passion. You are an inspiration girl!


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 15, 2011 at 9:10 am

Thanks Autumn!


Charlie April 12, 2011 at 9:44 am

I really wanted to get the family farmer basket this summer but can’t afford it :(. I would definitely save on fruits & veggies and can pay 16$/week but can’t pay 300$ at the beginning of the summer. Since they ask that you pay for all summer in May, it’ll have to wait.
And I wish there was a farmer’s market near.


Rebecca April 12, 2011 at 9:44 am

Thank you for posting this! I’m actually heading out on Saturday to look into a CSA near me and this information definitely helps! I’m in Buffalo, NY, so we would probably have the same repetitiveness that you experienced. I think this CSA has an open market, so I might just do that instead of investing. Thanks for sharing!!!


Faith @ lovelyascharged April 12, 2011 at 9:45 am

I’m super excited to have found a Co-op in Orlando that lets you buy surplus on Thursdays! I cant wait to participate in that. Even though I cant really have a big garden in my apartment, I am going to be growing my own herbs…but on that note, do you know of any plants that could be grown in planters on my porch? I’ve got the perfect climate to grow but I would have to have everything in pots on my balcony :/


kim April 20, 2011 at 2:55 pm

yu can grow tomatoes in pots on your proch if ther is at least 6 to 8 hours of sunlight there
you can also grow greens such as spinach and lettuce you can give dwarf beans a try too make sure the pots for the tomatoes are 12 inches at least and keep an eye on moisture potted plants tend to dry out quicker
hope this info helps i hve luck with tomatoes this way patio tomatoes work well
good luck to you


Jil @ Big City, Lil Kitchen April 12, 2011 at 9:46 am

Our farmer’s market starts up around mid-May. I always love going, and picking up -maybe one or two things – but I can’t afford to buy a lot.


Amy April 12, 2011 at 9:47 am

I would highly suggest checking out lasagna gardening — no weeds & LOTS of veggies. I don’t think a CSA plan would work for us because I plan all meals for 1-2 weeks ahead of time to save on waste, money and time. I looooooove farmer’s markets though! Can’t wait!


Michelle April 12, 2011 at 9:52 am

We rely on the farmers market (1 mile from our house) for our meat and some produce. During the summer and fall, we get most of our produce from a local farm that offers work shares. So we can work on the farm for 4 hours on Saturday and leave with two CSA shares (one for my husband and one for me). This is a perfect option for us because it’s budget-friendly and lets us get our hands dirty!


Felicia (a taste of health with balance) April 12, 2011 at 9:53 am

i’m fortunate enough to have a big garden with tons of veggies.. and everything else is purchased at the farmers market!


JL Goes Vegan April 12, 2011 at 9:55 am

I looked into a local CSA and the delivery includes milk, eggs and honey, none of which I eat, and they were inflexible! So forget it! Last year we used the Farmer’s Market May – October. I loved it. While I plan to do that again, when possible I have discovered that my local grocery delivery (yes, I order groceries online!) has a local produce option in the spring / summer and I plan to use that on the weeks that I cannot make it to the the farmer’s market.

Your intro photo is stunning.


Holly @ The Runny Egg April 12, 2011 at 9:56 am

I’m excited to get back to the Farmers Markets this spring/summer. I’ve heard from friends that CSA shares in MN are not the best — mostly corn and potatoes every week!

I’d love to have a garden. My mother in law has one and we get quite a bit of produce from her — lettuce, peppers, potatoes, etc. And my dad grows a ton of tomatoes so we are set there.


Caroline April 12, 2011 at 9:56 am

I would love to join a CSA! I think all the new veggies would be exciting, but my husband is still easing into the veggie world and slowly talking himself out of imaginary food allergies. So he’s not on board yet, and really, we’re both too busy (work+school) to find the time to cook all of those veggies anyway. So we’ll still be using the local farmers market. I love the Saturday morning tradition of going, buying coffee, and wandering around looking at all the pretty, healthy food. I hear there’s someone selling local honey this year too! Our started two weeks ago and I’m determined to make it this weekend, even if I have to go solo.


Liz April 12, 2011 at 9:58 am

We grow our own tomatoes, beans, peas, herbs, and lettuce in containers on our fourth-floor terrace (yay urban gardening!) and belong to a fabulous CSA – New York is somewhat south of you, so we get a better selection longer, but it does get a little repetitive near the end. I try to think of it as a challenge to get creative about using stuff up :)


Alexa @ The Girl In Chucks April 12, 2011 at 10:00 am

I belong to a CSA. I chose it because it is local (they are based in my neighborhood!) and they don’t require me to buy a subscription. I do have a regular delivery schedule (every other week), but I buy each box individually ($33/box) so I can feel free to skip a delivery when I need to. I also love that they will deliver to my job or my apartment, depending on what I need, at no extra cost.

The repetition can get taxing. I am so glad I haven’t seen a squash in a few weeks!! But overall, I enjoy it. My farmers are totally friendly, I get a decent selection and have branched out and tried things I normally wouldn’t have. They also have agreements with other farms and I get the option of having organic free range eggs included, or meat or most recently, kombucha! It’s cool!


Tawney April 12, 2011 at 10:00 am

I tend to kill houseplants, but I’ve successfully grown several batches of wheatgrass so I’m going to try a very small garden this year. It may only have one vegetable – kale! Keep it simple, no? :) Our farmers market is only open Saturdays’, and that’s a hiking day so I miss out on the market. Several friends have HUGE gardens so I’ve been lucky enough to graze at their place.

Just made VOO for the first time and licked my bowl clean this morning! Chocolate protein powder added to the classic recipe, with the lovely goo layered with papaya jam…


Sarah @ April 12, 2011 at 10:01 am

Living in the Bay Area, we have many more choices with CSA’s, however, I still ran into some of the same “cons” you did (no more squash please!!). Anyway, I used to be clueless in the gardening department but over the last year or so have learned so much (through trial & error too). We now have a great garden full of edible flowers, herbs, fruits & veggies. It’s actually kind of addictive b/c I just bought 6 more plants to add to the mix (peppers, tomatoes, beans, etc.). I can’t wait to see more about how you get started! Oh, be sure to get a compost going though too b/c that is the magic that makes your garden grow!


Heidi @ Food Doodles April 12, 2011 at 10:02 am

That’s awesome that you’re thinking of planting a garden. I’ve had a garden for 3 years, this will be the fourth. I love it! It does take a lot of time though. I find most of my work is after I’ve planted and just keeping the weeds down. It’s endless, but so worth it. You just have to jump into it. Till up your land and plot out what you want and where and then plant. The thing is it doesn’t have to be perfect, you can put all different plants together except for a few major ones(read your packages). If you start from seed, some things need to be started inside earlier and you’ll need to find out when your last frost is because a lot of things can’t be planted outside till then. I’m thinking of sharing my garden on my blog but I still don’t know if anyone would be interested. We don’t have a csa here but I do shop at the farmers market and even still the grocery store to fill in the gaps.


Maxine April 12, 2011 at 10:03 am

Gardening is so fun! Last year, I started small, so things that were not easy to find at the market: tomatillos, pasilla peppers, and herbs. This year, I have grown it to include things like amaranth, arugula, 4 types of tomatoes, mustard greens, kale, and cabbage.
I like to start mine from seed, which I did a few weeks ago and use containers but many of my friends use raised beds, which are successfull.
It takes time, but by mid-July, you should have stuff! Have fun!


Heather @ Health, Happiness, and Hope April 12, 2011 at 10:04 am

This is a great post Angela! It’s fun to experiment with the different sustainable options out there and find what works for you, and we’re all unique with our own lifestyles, so it takes some trial and error to find the best option! My family used to have a garden when I was little, and it was so much fun to watch everything grow and know that you grew what you were eating yourself. Plus, the veggies were SO fresh and delicious!!!


Amy @ purewellnessamy April 12, 2011 at 10:04 am

Hi Angela – two really good gardening books:

Crockett’s Victory Garden (possibly THE vegetable gardening book), by James underwood Crockett
Square Foot Gardening by Mel Bartholomew

Have fun!


Liza April 12, 2011 at 10:04 am

The city I live in has one of the oldest farmer’s markets in the country, so I go there often. In fact, I’m going today! The fiance and I also are planting a garden this year. We’ve done it before, but haven’t had the space again until this year, so he’s been researching elevated gardening (which is supposed to make it easier if you’re just starting) and we’re planning to plant tomatoes, peppers, and herbs, plus some squash for the fall. I love having a garden out back!


Jennie April 12, 2011 at 10:04 am

I am starting a garden this year, too! We also love to go to the farmer’s market in town. I look forward to reading about your garden. I am clueless as well!


Jes April 12, 2011 at 10:05 am

It’s great to see so many people using CSA’s, farmer’s markets, and even growing their own! I haven’t gone the CSA route quite yet, but I go to the farmer’s market almost every weekend in the spring and summer after it opens and have started growing some of my own veggies this year. It’s been fun so far!


Victoria April 12, 2011 at 10:07 am

I feel so lucky to have so many awesome farmers markets around me, which we take full advantage of. Also, our city as a whole seems very focused on organic and locally-sourced ingredients, which is so awesome.

We were members of a CSA 2 years ago, and while I saw the benefit, I personally enjoy picking out my produce, wandering around, deciding what to make, and I lost that with the CSA.


Carly April 12, 2011 at 10:09 am

There is a year round farmers market that we use as much as possible, and we get the out of season things I declare necessities (tomatoes) at the grocery store right down the road.


Ashley April 12, 2011 at 10:10 am

Love your thoughts on this!! We haven’t done the produce box ever, and I feel somewhat the same about it. It would be SO convenient and exciting each week, but I fear we would be loaded with squash, [which I already cooked too much of one summer + Chris doesn’t like, hehe] and things like eggplant, and BEETS [yak!] etc. I know some of them allow you to give a list of a few things you don’t like. I would LOVE to start a garden + a compost bin. I feel like I should take a class or something though. My mom got me a great organic gardening book, but I have had ZERO time to even think about putting a garden together. Plus, it can get pretty pricey the first year you make it. I don’t trust the soil around here and would want to make planter boxes. To do that, you have to get completely untreated wood, which is $$. I’m hoping to at least plant a few things maybe in a month or so and then peruse the markets, which are in walking/biking distance!! I love love actually going to the markets.


Alyssa April 12, 2011 at 10:11 am

I am so glad that you addressed CSAs. I was looking into them this year but was a little reluctant do to some of the same things that you listed as cons. I would love, love, love to have my own garden. We are still working on it (meaning I am still working on my husbands help;). This will be my first year exploring more local, organic options, so I can’t wait to see what I find!


Moni'sMeals April 12, 2011 at 10:14 am

that is great about starting your own garden. I would love that too but I am pretty certain that my dogs would tear it apart. :)

I am so blessed here in LA. Our produce is amazing and all-year. There is a Farmers Market everyday somewhere and it is so easy. I am super grateful for it too.


Carlee April 12, 2011 at 10:16 am

I have joined a CSA this year as well as planning to plant a very small garden to share with my family if I have too much produce. I can’t wait to really focus on organic and local produce. I am even hoping to freeze and can a bunch of stuff so I can enjoy it through the winter months as well.


Courtney @ The Granola Chronicles April 12, 2011 at 10:16 am

My husband and I belong to a CSA program. We live in California, so we see a lot of variety each week. Sure we have the staples a lot like potatoes, kale and apples – but overall, we usually see something new each week. I also love supporting my local economy.


Tracey @ I'm Not Superhuman April 12, 2011 at 10:17 am

I don’t have a backyard, so growing basil on my balcony is about as far as I go. (It’s the only herb that can take the shade and still sprout into a bush.) We’re trying out a farm delivery service. Unlike a CSA, the service collects from a bunch of farms in the area. Plus, we get to pick our produce each week.


Elle April 12, 2011 at 10:18 am

Good breakdown of the pros and cons of CSAs. We have not gotten involved for exactly the reasons you list as cons. Many of our friends have joined and they feel obligated to stay with it, even though they don’t really want to.
We are on our boat all summer so don’t have garden space. But I do usually have a tomato plant on board. Love fresh tomatoes the best.
Have fun with your garden… it is so much easier than you think it will be. And very satisfying, too.


Katie @ Nourishing Flourishing April 12, 2011 at 10:18 am

What a great post! We did a CSA last year, and loved it, but had some of the same frustrations as you. It wasn’t a dealbreaker or anything, but the repetition was a little wearing (though I suppose that’s what old-school farm life was like, eh? ;) ) I never want to see another mustard green in my life…lol! We have the opportunity to garden this year, so we plan to invest ourselves in that and supplement with markets and local farms that sell produce outside of CSAs. Here’s hoping it works out! :)


Therese April 12, 2011 at 10:19 am

We did an organics delivery for a few weeks last year and although I LOVED having a guy hand me a HUGE box of organic food, we stopped it. Mostly because a lot of it wasn’t local and that bothered me and the other was there was, like you said, too much repetition.

This year we plan to do something very similar to you, we plan to finally take advantage of the TWO farmers markets that are fairly close to our house and I plan to plant a few veggies that we use most often. I especially intend to plant some herbs!

I’m really looking forward to supporting the local community and I know my boyfriend is also eager to do it!


Amy April 12, 2011 at 10:22 am

We have a raised planter bed garden. We start everything from seed in peat pots, it is cheaper than buying the plants. Our little seedlings are coming along great this year. I do get a weekly CSA box, it gets delivered for free if I spend $35.00. The veggie box is $25.00 and the fruit box is $10.00 so it works out perfectly. I do get bored with the produce and some it I just don’t like (kale!) I can’t wait for our garden to be in full force so I can stop the CSA this summer. There is nothing better than picking your own veggies, rinsing them off and eating them within minutes. It is alot of work – but it is so worth it. I really recommend the raised planters. We grow tomatos, corn, squash, zucchini, eggplant, peppers, edamame, green beans, snow peas. This year we are trying pinto and black beans. We add more every year.


Stephanie @ Laugh and Cook April 12, 2011 at 10:26 am

My father and I just built our first raised box garden for our vegetables. We, too, have never grown vegetables or anything in our backyard. I started off following Sunset Magazine’s gardening page on their website and have been following their guidelines as best as I could. Most vegetables had to seeded indoors for the first 5-7 weeks or longer until the night frost disappears. We are planting them this week and we’re SOOOO scared to plant these babies! We have a dog and two cats who love the outdoors, so who knows if they’ll be good around garden. hahaha!


Katie April 12, 2011 at 10:29 am

I have the same gripes about CSAs. I also think that the quality can be really sketchy depending on which farm you join. I choose to garden myself, and I HIGHLY recoomend you do too! Just start small….I didn’t and it was kind of overwhelming. Plant greens and herbs, both of which are super easy, and maybe peppers or tomatoes or a couple things you eat a lot of. You can still get the scary new veggies at the Farmers Market to try new things.


Valerie April 12, 2011 at 10:36 am

Can you please share the name of the local organic farm you refer to? I live on the Milton/Mississauga border and would love to know!


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 12, 2011 at 10:52 am

Emailing you now :)


Stacey April 12, 2011 at 11:15 am

Can you email me too? I live in Milton and would love the option of doing mid-week shopping if time does not permit for the Saturday farmer’s market.
Thanks so much! And I love your site. Have been visiting for a very long time and find much inspiration. I’m soda pop free for 4 days now! :)


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 12, 2011 at 11:36 am

done and done


Jessica @ Dairy Free Betty April 12, 2011 at 10:40 am

We garden every year! It’s a bit of work, but OH so worth it!! Kale is amazing, it’s continued to grow through out the whole winter too!! I start planting seeds in min april… and then plant after the frost is gone!! In my climate (west coast Canada) squash (zuchinni) grows awesome, and kale of course, and herbs are insane… Tomatoes grow good, if they are in a super hot spot!!

Good luck, it’s SO fun to have a garden!


CathyK April 12, 2011 at 10:45 am

i loved reading your pros and cons of the CSA, angela – thanks for the recap.
i am looking forward to trips to the st jacobs market this summer – hopefully i can tag along some thursday mornings with my dad when he goes – always a fun father/daughter outing. also, uptown waterloo hosts a thurs eve outdoor market during the summer – it’s pretty small, but i’d love to pick up produce and support some local farms.
enjoy our sunshine today!


Halley (Blunder Construction) April 12, 2011 at 10:46 am

Reading your blog last summer actually inspired me to sign up for Boston Organics. I had boxes delivered throughout the summer and fall. I stopped in the winter because I felt bad for the poor, frozen veggies on my doorstep. I’m still teetering on renewing this year, because I agree that some of the produce was repetitive, and I’m not sure there was much of a savings. But, it definitely is fun and exciting every once in awhile!


Gail April 12, 2011 at 10:53 am

I have a natural food store only a mile from my house, and all they sell is organic, so I do most of my shopping there. The farmer’s market is just across the street, and won’t start until May. I want to look for a local organic farm that sells their produce – that would be great. I’d also like to start my own garden so if you do start one, I look forward to your blogs about it. I have absolutely no clue how to garden!


Jemma @ Celery and Cupcakes April 12, 2011 at 10:56 am

I would love to build my own garden. It’s such a great idea. I think I would want to start off small though.


Shanna, Like Banana April 12, 2011 at 10:56 am

I’d really like to do a CSA and think I need to put it on my list. I also love Farmer’s Markets, but often the prices are so steep and the produce doesn’t last very long.


Abby April 12, 2011 at 10:59 am

I plan to get my produce from the Farmer’s Market in town. When I go back home to visit I will get loads of veggies from my dad’s garden. He always has an abundance of tomatoes, peppers, and squash. I need to inherit his green thumb but my apartment living doesn’t really allow for much of a garden right now!


Kate (Bread & Chocolate) April 12, 2011 at 11:08 am

I like to use a CSA and Farmer’s Markets – the produce is tastes so fresh when it’s local and organic. I literally put my first carrot seeds in the ground yesterday and will be planting my first real garden this weekend. I’m using a raised bed – which I saw in both Organic Gardening magazine and Martha Stewart LIVING. After some modest success with herbs this winter, I decided it was time to go BIG at HOME. Good luck with yours!


Lexie April 12, 2011 at 11:10 am

The timing of this article is perfect because this morning i recieved my first email from the CSA I purchased this summer. Like you, we are giving it a shot and I’m super excited about it – mostly because included in our veggies is a bouquet of flowers every week. Score!

The pick up location was disclosed during our purchase, and it’s only a 5 minute drive from our house. Yay!

Like you, I am a bit concerned about the potato/squash overload. Apprantly we get a different potato variety every week.


Emily April 12, 2011 at 11:16 am

We planeted our own veg last summer and, although we couldn’t rely on all of our crops actually providing us with edible food, it was great as a top up to our regular shopping :) We currently get a veg box from a local organic famers and we can’t quite work out whether to stick with it or not… seasonal eating is TOUGH! We’ve had potatoes, carrots, parsnips, celariac, swede and onions every week for 4 months :| Occasionally we get a treat like brocolli or cauliflower or maybe, if we’ve been really good, a squash. Generally though it’s just a long hard slog of root veg :(


Kelsey April 12, 2011 at 11:18 am

I’ve thought about joining a CSA, but I’m a little hesitant because of the reasons you named. I fear I’ll waste good veggies if I can’t keep up with the cooking! There is one CSA (in Brooklyn) that is every other week. I am considering that to start!

Awesome your starting a garden!! :)


Kate @ NaturaStride April 12, 2011 at 11:19 am

Great post – I have an adorable farmer’s market every Saturday morning in the summer a block away from my apartment – love it, and its so convenient!
(PS – I just made your Itty Bitty Carrot Cake Cookies last night – they are so yummy! My husband is a huge fan, too. Thanks!)


Michelle | GOLD-HEARTED GIRL April 12, 2011 at 11:30 am

I have a box delivered to my doorstep on Thursdays. It’s so easy!


Kelly @ Laughter, Strength, and Food April 12, 2011 at 11:32 am

I have recently just heard about CSA programs, so I have never been a part of one, but I do buy a lot of my produce at local farmer’s markets that we have in our area. We also have an Amish farm not too far from us, so I buy some stuff there such as flowers, produce, and pumpkins in the fall. :-)


Mama Pea April 12, 2011 at 11:41 am

I’d love to join a CSA, but I am such a control freak, I have a problem with other people picking out what I’m cooking with this week ;)


Brittany April 12, 2011 at 11:43 am

The Square Foot Gardening book by Mel Bartholomew is a great book for starting your first garden. It keeps things simple and is a great resource.

Growing your own vegetables is so nice – you can plant whatever you want and you can’t beat things that go from the “farm” to table in less than an hour!


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 12, 2011 at 11:44 am

thanks! Im so excited!


RachelSD April 12, 2011 at 11:44 am

My husband and I signed up with a CSA a month ago and we got the green light to get our first box last week. We get to go again tonight and we are so excited! We have eaten SO many vegetables this last week! I made stir fry for the first time in my life because we received two heads of bok choy plus cabbage.

I heard about CSAs from a couple of friends at a brunch awhile ago and I did a LOT of internet research before making the final selection. As you mention, there are definitely pros and cons, including selection of produce and location of pickup. Luckily, we live in San Diego, Calif., and the selection is pretty varied. Here’s what is on the agenda for this week: Asparagus, Avocado, Bok Choy, Cabbage, Carrots, Celery, Chard, Lettuce, Limes or Lemons,
Onions, Oranges, Strawberries, Zucchini. I love that our CSA’s website lists what is to be expected each week so you can plan around it– of course a girl still needs her bananas and that is never going to come in a CSA box!

Good luck planting your garden Angela!


chelsey @ clean eating chelsey April 12, 2011 at 11:55 am

We are in the process of building a garden right now! Luckily my husband is a landscaper, so he knows how to do things like that!


Jenny April 12, 2011 at 11:59 am

We go to the farmer”s market every Saturday. I look forward to it all week. I also grew a garden last year and plan to do it again. We live in Oregon and last year Summer didn’t really start until mid July. Seriously. So a lot of my stuff didn’t grow as well as it could have. I still grew tomatoes and strawberries and radishes, spinach, kale, lettuce, herbs, green beans and peas and zucchini. We had a section of the yard along side the sunny side of the house that we fenced off so the dogs wouldn’t ruin everything, and then I mixed some compost into the ground and then just planted seeds in rows (the beans/peas against the fence.) I started almost everything from seed except the tomatoes and strawberries. I bought those plants at the farmer’s market. My suggestion would be to try a variety and think of it as an experiment. Radishes were ridiculously fast and easy, and so was the lettuce and beans and peas. oh fyi- we had issues with slugs and I found some slug bait that wouldn’t kill a cat or dog that got into it…I’ll be using that first thing this year, they really loved eating all my veges.


Brenna April 12, 2011 at 11:59 am

We are planning on planting herbs in pots this year, and my boyfriend’s parents have a HUGE garden in their backyard (they filled in their entire pool to make more room for garden!), so we always have lots from them. We also have a local farmers market that goes from May until November. We go every Saturday morning and choose what we need for the week. It is such a relaxing way to start a Saturday!

By the way, I made your Pumpkin Pie Banana Chunk Oatmeal cookies the other day and they were AMAZING! I used raisins instead of cocoa nibs, and they are delicious! What a great mid afternoon snack!



Laura @FoodSnobSTL April 12, 2011 at 12:06 pm

We are lucky to be in a CSA that lets us say what we want, like, etc. if I’m making a recipe, i can email them to see what they can include in our box. We are spoiled.


Lizz @ Leading the Good Life April 12, 2011 at 12:08 pm

We just planted our garden this weekend! We always do tomatoes and basil, but this year we bulked it up with more herbs, zucchini, beans, and peppers. Yay!


Sonia April 12, 2011 at 12:11 pm

I love growing my own veggies but it IS a LOT of WORK. I was inspired by my Hungarian family whose veggies gardens are insanely productive, and I used to grow a garden in my parents backyard before I moved in with my husband. I grew tons of corn, squash, pumpkins, tomatoes, onions, and berries. But since I moved I couldn’t take care of it and my parents . . . well . . . they let my fig tree die so the garden died too. :(

I garden on the patio at my apartment and have tomatoes, zucchini, and loads of herbs. I want to save money and am putting myself on a tight budget for the next few months so my farmers market trips will be limited. Though I do love going there.

I suggest that if you are really considering a garden, that you start growing your seedlings now (indoors to avoid frost) OR I suppose you can wait until you have a garden space and buy seedlings from the store and put them directly in ground once the threat of frost is over. Even if you don’t get the chance to make a garden, you can always pot a lot of veggies or hang them from sturdy hooks. That’s what I am doing and they’ve grown pretty well :) Good luck!


Ann April 12, 2011 at 12:11 pm

I’ve decided to plant a small crop of veggies in containers, since I have no real garden room. I’m also planning to make trips to the local farmer’s market. I’d love to join a CSA but haven’t any luck finding one that is close enough to be convenient & inexpensive enough.

I can’t wait to see/hear about your garden plans. I would love to have the room for a proper veggie garden. Hopefully some day.


JenATX April 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I agree with you on the CSA pros/cons. It lead me to try beets, which I now love! BUT my roommate forgot to pick up the box one week when I was out of town & it lead to some tension since we basically threw our money down the drain for produce that week :-/ I actually would do it again this summer, but its too much produce for just one person & my roommate isn’t interested in sharing again after last summer. Oh well! I’ll probably just continue to go to the farmers market :)
cant wait to see garden pics!


Morgan @ Life After Bagels April 12, 2011 at 12:14 pm

I pretty much have a pros and cons list similar to yours about our CSA – except because we didn’t have a car we did opt or delivery and it cost $5 a delivery. We only had it over the winter but I swear if I see one more cabbage … I’m going to skip it for the summer and hit farmers markets

BUT – I am going to look into the meat share they have since Brad eats meat and it kills me to buy it from the grocery store for him


bree marsh @ deliciously dense April 12, 2011 at 12:17 pm


i did a CSA last year…enjoyed it, but had to drive a long way to get to the farm every week. the market is every saturday from 8-noon and is only 5 minutes from our house! and the farm i was a member of last year has a booth, so i try to buy something from them every week. when we move, i totally plan to build a garden, but will need some serious help!!!


Beth April 12, 2011 at 12:19 pm

I also recommend Square Foot Gardening to keep things simple and easy. It is less work too.


Leslie April 12, 2011 at 12:21 pm

We just built a “square foot” garden and I think it’s gonna work out good! I plan on using the farmers market a lot more this year though as well. For the garden deets, check out my blog!


Alison (Fueling for Fitness) April 12, 2011 at 12:23 pm

I have the same con list as you… minus the pick up option because I went with an organic delivery service. I did some searching around, and without a car, it would have been a huge hassle for me to pick up the box. I love the service (still do!), and you can fully customize your order (it does cost an extra $2.00 which is negligible for being able to sub everything out of your box). The biggest problem for me was repetition as well; throughout the winter I got a lot potatoes and broccoli – while I love both, eventually I started getting sick of seeing the same produce week after week.

The other thing I really missed was my trips to buy produce – I get a lot of joy and satisfaction from just browsing through farmer’s markets and grocery aisles, looking through fruit and getting inspired. Picking off a list from a website isn’t the same thing. So for now, I’m going to get my deliveries bi-weekly since my schedule doesn’t allow me the time to grocery shop as often as I’d like, and when I can, I’ll make a few trips to the grocery store here and there.

Of course, my #1 choice would be to grow my own produce, but living in an apartment doesn’t really afford the luxury of having that option…


Andrea April 12, 2011 at 12:26 pm

I’m a huge fan of the farmer’s market- I feel lucky to live in Guelph because our market is open year round! My mom and I also planted a bit of a vegetable garden last year, so we had some fresh zucchini and sugar snap peas, though the rest of the veggies didn’t work out. The zucchini was particularly prolific- we were trying to find zillions of zucchini recipes to use it all up!


Carissa April 12, 2011 at 12:31 pm

We have a garden that my husband built for us. It’s 4 raised beds. Last year we had to build it and start the planting, so I got my seeds in kind of late. This year we’re doing better with that. I like the raised beds because they make it easier to garden, but there are also a lot of garden quality reasons to use them. I think gardening is a miracle. I plant little seeds and next thing I know there are plants growing. I keep up with the weeding, but I’m still learning about pruning and rotating crops and those things. It’s not nearly as hard as I thought it would be, and also doesn’t take a huge amount of time. It would be simple to at least grow some tomatoes in pots on your new deck. Good luck!


Amanda April 12, 2011 at 12:43 pm

My entire blog is actually a product of my adventure in gardening in 2010! I started a large garden last year and jumped in full throttle. My parents’ garden, but this was a first for me. I work full time, and my fiancé works 60+ hours per week in the summer. We are very busy but we still made it work. We were fully involved in the garden daily and we canned/froze all of our excess produce. We are still eating our fresh, organic produce in April because we preserved it last summer (we live in upstate NY so there isn’t anything edible and green right now ;) ). I LOVED this adventure and this year we’ve more than doubled our garden and have committed to growing all of the decorations for our wedding this fall! If I could make one recommendation it is JUST DO IT. It’s scary at first, but then you realize that the worst thing that could happen is the plants die and you visit the farmer’s market instead. It isn’t the end of the world ;). You will never feel more proud than you do the first night you make a meal out of all the foods you grew! It is an amazing feeling. One that I don’t ever want to let go of. So this year we are embarking on Garden Version 2.0 and I can’t wait!!!! :) Good luck, I would LOVE to read about your gardening adventures! It’s a learn as you go process and it is incredibly rewarding.


Nichole (Flirting with Food, Fitness & Fashion) April 12, 2011 at 12:44 pm

I really want to plant a garden this year but I am terrified that I will kill everything. I have contemplated about the CSA but have the same doubts…


Ally C April 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I use the small local farmer’s market when I can/remember. Unfortunately, it’s from May-October, so I end up buying almost all of my produce from the grocery store. We have a CSA-type thing for the whole state, and it’s about $20-25 dollars a week for the smallest plan. I haven’t bought in though because I’m not sure if it’s worth it yet for how much produce you receive. I’m also a college student, and I’m not sure that fits into my budget either. I really need to look into it.

I don’t have my own garden, but I did grow mint last year on the front porch which made many a spiked mint lemonade and mojito as well as panini. :)

I love the “scary veg” face! :D


[email protected] Healthy Helper blog! April 12, 2011 at 12:45 pm

I want to plant a veggie garden soooo bad! But I just don’t have the room or climate for it I don’t think. The only thing that I’ve been able to grow are cherry tomatoes and some herbs. But I would love to plant fruit and veggie plants! I hate relying on over priced grocery stores for fresh produce.


Marta April 12, 2011 at 12:46 pm

good luck with the garden Angela! I have been enjoing my amateur (weed) garden for 4 years or so. lemme tell ya, tomatoes grow no matter how not-so-green your thumb is :) I also have lots of luck with herbs and zucchini.


Ann April 12, 2011 at 12:51 pm

A work colleague and I are splitting a CSA share this summer. will cost me $7.50/week…so even if it’s not very good, I ALWAYS spend AT LEAST twice that much at the farmer’s market every week anyway. We do have to go and pick the produce up, but it’s only a 10 minute drive, so shouldn’t be too horrible. I also have one small raised bed with (so far) snow peas, mixed lettuce, spinach, and swiss chard. A bit later I’ll be planting tomatoes (cherry and slicing) and peppers and maybe some beets.


Nicole @ Fresh & Fit April 12, 2011 at 12:53 pm

I can’t wait for the farm’s markets to start up again, it is within walking distance to my house. Every Saturday I try to take a walk over. ! I’m going to try and buy most of my fruits and veggies there this year!


Andrea B. @ Vegvacious April 12, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Over the winter, I have used a home delivery service that delivers a box of organic produce every week. The veggies are really good considering the time of year and they do as much local as is possible in the Winter. I like that you can do substitutions so you can always get rid of an item if you don’t like it. I LOVE farmer’s markets in the Spring/Summer/Fall! That is where I am planning to buy most of my produce this year — I’m also going to do some looking around to see if I can find a local organic farm. I am so happy it’s that time of year when we can start getting local, fresh produce :-)


Meg April 12, 2011 at 1:00 pm

Have you ever gone to the Big Carrot in Toronto?? Apparently its an all organic food co op. This beautiful boy I adore works there.. I am going to check it out on Thursday..


Zestful Lou April 12, 2011 at 1:01 pm

I had a CSA for a few months, but I just cancelled it because I moved. I also found there was a lot of repetition (swiss chard, namely), and I felt that I wasn’t really getting $25 dollars worth of produce. I know that I can go to the local farmer’s market and buy the same amount of produce for much cheaper. Granted, it’s not being delivered to my doorstep, but there is something I LOVE about shopping the local farmer’s markets on saturday and sunday mornings. So for this summer, I will be back to the sunny farmer’s markets to get my fruit and veggie fix!!


Lisa Fine [lisasfoods] April 12, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Oh wow, you have a lot of comments on this one! :)

My boyfriend and I started out first garden last year. I had worked on several farms in the past, and he grew up in a family that had a garden, so we just read some books and websites, and made some guesses. The main problem we had was knowing what to plant when, so I’m spending a day later this week to determine what can go in the ground now, and what needs to wait until after our first frost.

Besides our garden produce (and we have amazing berry bushes in our yard), I stick to the farmers’ markets and some farm stands. I like the idea of a CSA, but we live in a really rural area (with no CSAs nearby), and think it’d be too difficult with the driving. Plus, I like choice.


Jillted April 12, 2011 at 1:11 pm

I joined a CSA for the first time last year and loved it for all the reasons you mentioned. We too got a little tired of some of the veggies (e.g., turnips!), but we got way more variety than what I would have purchased at the store. I love learning about new vegetables and trying out new recipes with them. Our CSA is only a couple miles from our house, so it is an easy bike ride to pick up the box. Plus, we live in a condo, so having a garden is not a practical idea. I’m already counting down the weeks until our first veggie box arrives!


Lana April 12, 2011 at 1:11 pm

I can’t believe you drove 25 miles each week! I would love to have a garden and can’t wait til I graduate and get a house to start one. Until then, I try to go by local farmers markets as much as possible. They are tons of fun!


Jess April 12, 2011 at 1:14 pm

We do a CSA, but the pickup is super close to our house so it’s no big deal for us. And I kind of like not knowing what we’re getting :)

I do however agree with some of the other “issues” you commented on…we got so.much.squash last year. We at one point got one that was larger than our cat!


Teresa April 12, 2011 at 1:14 pm

I would love to have a larger garden this year! But we have to change some things in our yard to make room for a larger patch if its going to happen. I do however grow basil, thyme and tomatoes (I also grow cherry tomatoes at my neightbors house, its vacant and they are letting me use their small garden area). I REALLY wanted to sign up for the CSA this year but not sure I’ll have the funds on time. But I DO plan to get a meat and egg share (local pasture raised eggs and beef!! I know that’s not your thing ;)). Nonetheless I WILL be visiting the farmer’s market every week and our local pick your own farm. My son (who’s 3) loved going to the farmer;s market last summer. And when we walk downtown past the place that they set up he asks when we get to start going again! Its so nice to meet the local farmers and have them start looking forward to you coming every week.


Melissa @ Be Not Simply Good April 12, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Yes, yes and yes! We are starting our third CSA season in about a month. I think I reacted to fennel about how you did, Angela! Ha ha! Some weird stuff sometimes. :)

We occasionally pick things up at the local farmers’ market. As you can imagine, we don’t need to get a whole lot since we already have the CSA share. I like to get things that we don’t get in our share, like extra tomatoes or cucumbers. I never get enough cucumbers for my liking.

We had a small herb garden the last two summers, and we are considering planting more things this year. If we are successful, I think we will be sharing a lot of veggies! And perhaps doing more preserving. I am a total novice when it comes to canning, but I have done just a little bit and would be willing to try to do more. I’m sure these things will come up on my blog too as the summer starts and progresses.


Amanda April 12, 2011 at 1:21 pm

Canning is so much fun! There are so many different ways to preserve, it’s always an adventure!


Amanda M. April 12, 2011 at 1:19 pm

We’re on year 3 of gardening and it has progressively grown bigger every year. We rent a house in town that has a large lot size. We built 5 raised beds that are 12 inches tall by 2 ft wide by 12 ft long and three 4ftX4ft boxes. Growing your own produce is amazing and fun. Also the farmers’ market is not even a half mile from our house just in case we need something that we’re not growing.


Erin @ The Grass Skirt April 12, 2011 at 1:22 pm

This post was so helpful! I’ve been thinking of doing a CSA for awhile, but after reading your cons, I think I’ll stick with the farmer’s market. I love going there anyway. I am also planting an herb garden and some tomatoes. With any luck, I can pick from my own backyard. :)


LauraJayne April 12, 2011 at 1:22 pm

I’m totally lucky to have a mother with an amazing garden (and gardening know-how!). She keeps us stocked in produce year round (she freezes some things and others, like potatoes, onions, and squash, last a while). I keep telling her that she needs to start a blog about all of her gardening experience!


Sharon April 12, 2011 at 1:23 pm

I’ve been thinking about a vegetable garden… maybe I’ll take the leap with you! A friend of mine bought a CSA share and I paid for a few weeks when she wasn’t going to be around – I really really enjoyed it. That being said, the amount of produce I got was soooo much and I was really overwhelmed. I don’t know if I could handle that for a large part of the year. Someday when I have a big family I will definitely buy my own share :)


[email protected] April 12, 2011 at 1:40 pm

I’m moving in June to a bigger city and one of the things that I’m most excited about (not counting my new rooftop pool) is the farmers market only three blocks away from my apartment!!I see so many fresh fruit and tomatoes in my near future this summer :) and can’t wait for squash this fall!!


[email protected] April 12, 2011 at 1:42 pm

it’s a grand task yet pretty exciting thinking about building your own garden! I hope someday I can do that too. :) I usually go to regular grocery stores or farmer’s markets once in a while. I’ve been hearing about CSA more and more lately though. Thank you for the pros and cons! that helps to know.


Claudia April 12, 2011 at 1:44 pm

I have planted and grown a little veggie and herb garden for about 3 years. Last year was my first in Ottawa, and it always takes a bit to sort out what grows best in your location (geographically), and also where you plant in your yard (ie with amounts of sunlight etc). My most successful has always been tomatoes, and in Waterloo lettuce grew really well. Beans and spinach are easy to grow too. I would say for your first year try a bunch of things, and see what happens! It’s really fun to watch it grow. Oh, and watch out for bunnies too – if you live near woods, you might have to put up a little fence or something to make sure they don’t eat all your greens!
I supplement my garden with stuff from farmers markets – but would love to be part of a food box type program for other stuff that I can’t grow, and that would let me get good quality stuff throughout the year.
All the best with your garden, if you get around to it! It’s really satisfying!


Leanne @ Healthful Pursuit April 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm

We just moved into a new house so we have a dirt pit for a backyard. I’ve been begging my boyfriend to agree to build me a garden, but he’s reluctant because he doesn’t think I’ll use it and/or my veggies will all die. He’s probably right. I suck at taking care of things + I’m soo busy! Thankfully we have a farmers market every Wednesday evening during the summer, so I plan to do that. Plus our local grocery store stocks a lot of organic + local produce, so I think it’ll all work out!


Erin April 12, 2011 at 1:55 pm

I’m planning to join a local Co-op in Peterborough, to try it out. A friend of mine is one of the producers in the co=op. I’m luck to have access to organic beef from my parent’s hobby farm plus all the venison and waterfowl hubby brings home. I would be really interested in finding a source of organic poultry though!
Re: repetition – I’m planning to chop and freeze whatever extras I have if possible. We end up throwing away a lot of produce I purchase at the grocery store. It’s super frustrating to pay such high prices for conventionally grown produce with no taste that has been shipped from who-knows-where and been on a truck for a significant period of time. I like to know where my food comes from! Support Canadian Farmers :)


Angel7 April 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm

I buy our vegetables at the grocery store. However, being that there are many farms where we live, I would like to support local farmers and buy produce from them.

Since our daughter is almost 3 years-old, I would like to plant a garden with her. It is something fun, and she can see the fruits of her labor.


Brenda Fisher April 12, 2011 at 2:00 pm

I keep adding to my garden every year, its wonderful to have fresh veggies. As others have said, raised beds are the way to go. I put down rock all along the outside of the boxes and paths to keep the weeds away. It really helps. We also have a lot of deer, so a 6 foot fence was a must. I get the plants when they are about 4 inches and plant after May 15th (except for cucumber and squash, you just need to toss some seed down and they grow). I am looking forward to seeing your pics of the process. Good luck!


Stacy April 12, 2011 at 2:05 pm

I’ve been using a CSA since August 2010 and I love it for the most part. I will definitely agree that certain items get old when you receive them in your box week after week. Luckily for us there is a pickup location less than a mile from my work, which makes it very convenient. My favorite part is not having to shop for as much produce but still getting so many healthy vegetables in my diet.


Kate April 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm

I have never joined a CSA, although I am somewhat interested to. But I have the same concerns that you had about repetition and actually getting things I like to eat. I don’t want to spend the money for a CSA and then go to the store to buy tomatoes or something I am not getting.

I just started a garden this spring. It is really awesome and I highly recommend it. It is so rewarding to actually GROW your own produce. I bought seeds online from Seeds of Change and they are doing really well. I advise you to stray away from buying plants from big home improvement stores because they often sell diseased plants. Also, there are a lot of seed companies out there who source their seeds from Monsanto (even organic). I don’t know if that is an issue for you or not, but I recommend doing research online about it.

And just start small. I fenced in a bit of space in my backyard and tilled the whole thing. Pulling out weeds and tilling will probably take you the longest, then I put some newspaper down (organic & biodegradable), peat moss, cedar mulch, manure, and planting soil. My plants are growing in their own containers and soon I will plant them in a few weeks when they grow a bit more.

I love Farmer’s Markets because I can actually talk to the farmers and get fresh products. Going to farms is great too, but they are too far for me to travel to all the time. I feel incredibly lucky to live in a state (Texas) that has a lot of farmers though!


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 13, 2011 at 7:37 am

Wow! I never would have thought to check out the source of the seeds…that is a bit scary! Thanks for the advice :)


Destressedtozest April 12, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Living in NYC I’m lucky to have amazing Green Markets all the time in the summer!!! I get excited going to them : )


Averie (LoveVeggiesAndYoga) April 12, 2011 at 2:18 pm

Omg comment mania on this post!!

I agree with you on all pros..value for the dollar, trying things you would never be exposed to or try on your own, including scary things. lol And supporting local famers.

Cons…yes, pickup locations are huge. One of our CSAs had a Fri night pickup and altho it was only 2 miles from our house, it was in the heart of an urban area on Fri nite and traffic was 45 mins there and 45 mins back to go about 2 miles!

Also the repetition and lack of choice does get old.

And the feeling that omg I now have 4 huge bags of greens to use…NOW….or they will go bad on me. I don’t like that kind of ‘pressure’ with the onslaught of produce that comes ALL at once. I would rather shop twice a week or in smaller quantity b/c if a big quantity is cheap but I waste it, it’s really not “cheap” or a value anymore.

I do love CSAs but there are caveats, as you mentioned. Farmers markets here are beyond glorious but NOT cheap/cheaper than reg groc store. Beautiful food, support local farmers, but apples are cheaper at the reg groc store type thing. You have to know going in what is a better value at each location.

I could go on and on. Everyone else has too apparently with all these comments :)


Emily April 12, 2011 at 2:26 pm

This post makes me so excited for the upcoming season. We use a combination of gardening (mainly for tomatoes and zucchini), farmer’s markets, and farm stands to get our fruit and veggie fix each summer! :)


Marcia April 12, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I am lucky lucky lucky. I live in Southern California.

We are CSA members, and have been since 2001. Our CSA runs January to November. I love it. But it did take some getting used to, mostly because of the repetitiveness and the need to figure out what to do with certain items.

We supplement though, since $20/week doesn’t quite get enough for the 3 of us.

In addition, we have farmer’s markets here 6 days a week, including one on Weds at my son’s school. And we have farmers galore, plus a couple of produce stores that sell local produce.

My neighbor gets delivery – so the company goes to the farmer’s market, or works directly with farmers. It’s an additional $5-10/week for the delivery charge, compared to our CSA cost (our CSA is on the way home from work). The advantage is that it’s delivered, you can choose to skip weeks, and you get more variety since you are getting from several farmers. Our farm also will occasionally provide produce from nearby farms. But there are some things that they just don’t grow, so you aren’t ever going to get them.

I’ve gotten quite used to the spring greens, and have no problem getting through them. This year was very light in squash, I was sad. But when we have gotten way too many squash, I will roast and freeze in baggies, then have months of butternut squash soup at my disposal. Or risotto.


Stacy @ Say It With Sprouts April 12, 2011 at 2:43 pm

Putting in/maintaining a garden ton of work, but totally worth it! I’m sure if you scaled it down a bit, it would be more manageable than what my family and I have going on! I have some diagrams and updates on my blog, though, if you want to check them out they might give you some ideas.
Good luck!


Kelly April 12, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I’m joining a CSA and just planted a garden, both for the first time ever. The CSA is my back up plan in case some things in my garden don’t make it. Clearly I have a lot of faith in my gardening skills.


Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} April 12, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I’m doing a CSA for the first time this year–we’ll see how it goes! Someday I’ll do my own garden.


Nina (SLO Foodie) April 12, 2011 at 3:07 pm

This post made me so excited for spring and summer veggies!
I am a die-hard Farmer’s Market girl and have always wanted to try the CSA option but it’s not too friendly on my budget currently. A couple months from now I will have the space and time to start my own garden, so I am definitely going to try that out. Please do plenty of posts on your garden building, I can’t wait to see your progress!


Lauri ( April 12, 2011 at 3:20 pm

I SOOOOOoooo Miss our All Local Farmer’s Market!!! We moved about an hour and a half away from it and I still get a little sad every Saturday morning :( There are some farmer’s Markets about 20-25 minutes away from where we live now… Hoping to give them a try this season!

I agree with you about the pros and cons of doing a CSA. We did it once and ended up getting a lot of veggies that we dont’t eat (hot peppers!!) and it was about a 20 minutes drive to pick it up for us too! But it was nice to have fresh food right from the fram! Pros and cons to everythig I guess :)


Michelle @ Lifewithacrazypup April 12, 2011 at 3:28 pm

I’ve been doing some research to get signed up this year as well. We just purchased our first home in January so I’m planning a vegatable garden right now. I feel like I don’t know enough to really get it going… but, we shall see!


Beth April 12, 2011 at 3:32 pm

I’ve shopped at farmers’ markets for several years and love it. This year we are splitting a CSA share with another couple, and I will supplement with the farmers’ markets and supermarket. We are also considering a raised bed for herbs, tomatoes, peppers and maybe garlic.


Clare @ Fitting It All In April 12, 2011 at 3:50 pm

I REALLY want to find a CSA share for one, since my family wouldn’t ever eat all the veggies with me. It would open me up to so many different veggies! But in the mean time I plan on hitting the farmers market more often and making friends with my local farmers.


Christine @ Merf In Progress April 12, 2011 at 3:51 pm

I Planted a garden and it was so easy. I thought it was such a miracle tha the veggies actually grew! I plant green beans, squash, and tomatoes. This year I am going to also do bell peppers and some herbs.


Stephanie April 12, 2011 at 3:59 pm

I love CSAs! I don’t think it’s fair that they wouldn’t disclose the pick-up location before you paid. It might have made you change your mind about opting out of delivery. I’m a failed gardener. I plan on trying again this summer. I’d like to try square foot gardening.


Kristy H April 12, 2011 at 4:17 pm

I try and buy organic from the supermarket but every week i am more and more dissapointed in the quality and that its not all local- why do they have to put wax on apples etc, it doesnt feel like real food when you can just about see your reflection in it. This year i am planning to buy produce from a local fruit and vegetable market and start a herb garden.


Roz April 12, 2011 at 4:31 pm

I’m a BIG Farmer’s market fan, and can’t wait until the local produce is available.


Emma (Namaste Everyday) April 12, 2011 at 4:39 pm

I am getting a CSA this summer, and I am pretty excited about it! I can’t wait to discover all the goodies!


Audrey April 12, 2011 at 4:43 pm

I would love to have a garden but am pretty clueless, too. I’ll look forward to learning about it!

P.S. What’s an RMT?


Julie @SavvyEats April 12, 2011 at 5:12 pm

Yayyyy gardening! I started our garden this weekend– started the seedlings for our peppers, tomatoes and basil, planted herbs in pots and and planted lettuce, arugula and peas in the window boxes on our deck. I’m documenting the process as I go, too, like how to start seedlings yourself, etc. Excited to see your potential garden!


Laura April 12, 2011 at 5:16 pm

When I saw Milton I thought it was just a coincidence, but then I saw Oakville. I can’t believe how close we live. I find it so cool lol :)


Emma April 12, 2011 at 5:28 pm

I often go my local farmer’s markets for produce but more often just go to the fruit shop up the road because I tend to get lazy early on Sunday Mornings :)

But gardening is one of my hobbies, and this summer I had a truck load of beans growing (really easy to grow!) and if you don’t have time for a full on garden like I don’t, pots of herbs and quick growing things such as radishes and salad stuff are very handy. I only have a 1x2m square area to plant in too, so I am limited in what I can plant.

Good luck :)


Dalai Lina April 12, 2011 at 5:35 pm

God, I hope your garden goes better than mine did last year! My cucumbers overtook the my yard, my tomatoes never ripened, and animals ate my squash and strawberries. I’m giving it a try again this year! Just picked up my seeds….


Amy April 12, 2011 at 5:36 pm

LOVE my CSA! The extra things that we tire of I freeze or can. Sure did enjoy them all winter long. I also plant a garden for what the CSA does not grow. He does not do Kale, collards, or pumpkins. Kale and collards do not have a lot of people who want them (or even know what they are!) and pumpkins are too late in the season for the CSA. Can’t wait for fresh, local produce!!


Olya April 12, 2011 at 5:49 pm

My husband does all the organic gardening for me. We’ve just moved to our first house so are planning to build raised beds for no-dig garden. And also a 3 compartment compost bin. And plant lots and lots of fruit trees. When we left our rental house, new tenants got our big, flourishing garden (big sigh). Hope they’re happy.


Chelsea @ One Healthy Munchkin April 12, 2011 at 5:52 pm

I have a mini garden where I plant tomatoes, sweet peppers and herbs. Even if you don’t have time to plant a full garden, I HIGHLY recommend planting just a few things. You will never taste more delicious produce in your life! Plus it is so convenient just to run out to the garden to get herbs instead of remembering to buy them at the grocery store. ;)

I buy a lot of my summer produce at the Burlington farmer’s market. I can’t wait until it opens again!


Joyce @ Flowing to Fifty April 12, 2011 at 5:59 pm

OH! You definitely have to do the garden….because I need to know about gardens. And it’s all about me, of course! :-) I look forward to watching the progression. And to see if you can find a way to keep the earwigs out of the tomato plants.


Alaina April 12, 2011 at 6:00 pm

I love the CSA idea. I’ll have to see if there’s one near where I live.

When my husband and I get a house we definitely want to plant a vegetable garden too. I think it would be so much fun. :-)


Mary April 12, 2011 at 6:14 pm

I just started my own garden this past weekend, and it was so much fun! When my husband and I bought the house, there was a raised bed already in the back. Obviously that was a great perk, so I didn’t have to build my own. So I tilled it up and added some organic soil and planted tomato plants, a cucumber plant and some Bibb lettuce seeds. I also started 2 container gardens on my patio: 1 for herbs and 1 for hot peppers. We will see how it goes! Hopefully, I will get enough to can some peppers and cucumbers :) I posted pictures on my website if you want to check it out.
Good luck!


Ann April 12, 2011 at 6:16 pm

We are signed up for a CSA this summer, I am so excited! Our plan is for every other week pick-up, which I think will be a good amount for the two of us. I think it will be a good way to expand my horizons in vegetable cooking and eating! And I would much rather buy produce from a local farm than the grocery store. Better quality, better prices, and the farm has an ice cream window :)


Marissa April 12, 2011 at 6:23 pm

planting a veggie garden is such a fun idea! my husband and i are considering this as well, although we live in a very hot area and are not sure what we can grow. not sure if you know of joy, from, but i think she lives in canada and she is always mentioning different farmers markets. she may know of markets, etc. in your area!


Ely April 12, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Good luck with the gardening. My dad in an avid veggie gardener who grows everything from corn, to tomatoes, and even a watermelon in his greenhouse once! The green thumb doesn’t seem to be genetic though – I have managed to kill a wide variety of house plants :( I’m thinking of attempting a patio garden with flowers and a few low-maintenance veggies this summer… I think even if I manage to get some fresh lettuce and cherry tomatoes, it would be worth it! An added bonus is that and I hear gardening can be very relaxing.


Crystal April 12, 2011 at 7:04 pm

Planting a vegetable garden was one of the best decisions I made. Everything tastes so fresh and it’s super convenient to go right out to the backyard and pick the produce. Tomato plants are especially great and often produce so many that it’s hard to eat them fast enough!


Alex C. April 12, 2011 at 7:36 pm

This is actually our first year using a CSA and we are super excited! Once we own a home, I plan to plant a garden…potted plants will have to do until then!


Kari @ bite-sized thoughts April 12, 2011 at 7:39 pm

I use a local markets for fruit and vegetables, and find it so much cheaper and fresher than supermarket produce. The downside is that it’s super crowded :( I think the trade off is worth it thought!

Last year I planted a vegetable garden for the first time – in two raised planter beds as I really just have courtyard space. It was SO MUCH FUN! I really loved it, and I’ve never gardened much before…I think there’s just something about watching things grow and then being able to pick and eat them :) I did lots of research before hand on plants that would work in my weather conditions, and time of year to plant, but other than that it wasn’t hard.


Marlène April 12, 2011 at 7:45 pm

I think it would be so fun to build a “three sisters” garden, especially since it’s a technique developed by the indigenous people in our region. It’s made up of corn, beans, and squash, and the reason for it is that they each help the others grow. The corn stalks act as a pole for the beans to climb, the beans provide nitrogen to the soil, and the squash spreads along the ground to fight off weeds.

Here is the Wikipedia entry:

I grew corn in my garden two years ago, and yielded 4-5 cobs that looked AMAZING, but unfortunately, they were all stolen before I had a chance to pick the cobs :( (I have a plot in a community garden)


Paige @Running Around Normal April 12, 2011 at 8:27 pm

How awesome is that first picture? Love it! I’ve thought about trying a CSA – thanks for listing out the pros and cons :)


Colleen @ Colleens Better Bites April 12, 2011 at 9:00 pm

I’m getting a CSA box next month for the first time. I’m a little nervous about what will be coming! I pretty much eat any type of veggie I just don’t want to get a box of beets every week.
I planted tomatoes, peppers, beans and squash last year. Only the tomatoes and the beans came in. I will definitely be trying again this summer.


Jennifer-Anne April 12, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Onto my second season with a CSA. Figured if I could do it over the winter – the summer share would be a breeze. Switched out from Organic Delivery – loved the convenience but the food traveled from very far and very wide to arrive at my door step. Local content was minimal. And variety surprisingly light.
My biggest pro for me – is that it keeps me out of the grocery store. I maybe shop once or maybe twice a month for milk, oats and peanut butter [aka staples]. I save a ton just by not entering into the building.


Char April 12, 2011 at 10:20 pm

I’d love to learn how to grow my own garden as well, because at least then you have control over what you get and hope it stays alive through the process! I’m a little north of you and am definitely going to do some research and find out where my local farms are + plan to go to the farmer’s market on Saturday’s as well!


rawkinmom April 12, 2011 at 10:52 pm

we use a company called Door to Door Oragnics…it gets delivered every week and its always organic…we can substitute up to 5 items each week…I also visit farmers markets and we plant a huge garden every year!! We are not experts by any means but we manage to yield a lot of crops!!


Hannah April 12, 2011 at 11:15 pm

I would love to use a CSA, as my local supermarket is very humdrum in its offering and the farmers’ market is a really long drive away, so not always feasible. Alas, no CSA exists in my city!


Kim April 13, 2011 at 12:51 am

We live in Alaska and some of the same geographical issues you do when it comes to fresh produce. After reading about your CSA purchases and looking at the pictures I found one out of Washington that delivers to Anchorage. I enjoy it because I can either get weekly or bi-weekly deliveries, they have about a dozen pick up locations in town and the one nearest to me is on my way home from work. I can also go in to my account the week before delivery and change items I do not wish to receive. This past week for example I replaced carrots with radishes because I fear I am turning orange from my recent carrot intake. Being able to change the contents of the box was a HUGE selling point for me.

I do plant some vegetables in containers on our deck. We have a postage stamp size yard so I am very limited. I discovered last year that my German Shepard likes broccoli, cauliflower, brussel sprouts and peas. He didn’t eat the bok choy! I also shop at our local farmers market during the late spring, summer and early fall.

You have been my inspiration to eat more veggies and as many organic as possible. Thank you for your inspirational words and pictures. You and Eric are such a lovely couple!



Angela W April 13, 2011 at 12:57 am

Hahaha, I love the picture of you with the scary vegetable!! You’re cute, thanks for the laugh!! I think my local farmers’ market just started last week and I plan to check it out tomorrow! My apartment window also happens to overlook the farmer’s field next door… we just moved in a few months ago so I’m not sure what he grows, but I’m very excited to see what he’s going to put on his sale board in the next few months! Can’t get more local than that :)


Laura @ Starloz April 13, 2011 at 3:12 am

for me, the cons outweigh the pros. i thought about it but i’d rather buy what i want & need.


Christine @ Burning It Off April 13, 2011 at 6:00 am

I get most of my produce from the grocery store but my grandpa has his own garden where he grows the best tomatoes, onions, zucchini and cucumbers. He’s 85 years old and still gets out there and works on his garden every spring… :D


Jennifer Drummond April 13, 2011 at 6:20 am


I don’t have a farmers market near me, which is strange since I live near a bunch of farms, so it isn’t convenient for me to get my produce from the Farmers market, (25 miles from my home). This year, actually this weekend, I am going to be planting my first vegetable garden. I have a 7 x 12 area that I cleared away last weekend and I am looking so forward to having a fresh, organic veggie garden. last year I planted tomatoes and yellow beans, and I was so proud of myself. Two tomato plants was sufficient as I was making a ton of tomato dishes. So this year I have taken the deck down, cleared a spot and now I am going to plant corn, asparagus, potatoes, tomatoes, lots of peppers and squash, amongst other sweet little surprises.

If you have time this year I recommend planting a veggie garden. It will make you feel great, plus it will save you money and trips to the store. Not to mention we will be able to read about it and see your progress on your blogs! Have a great day!!


Molly April 13, 2011 at 6:59 am

These vegetable pictures are so beautiful!


Corinne April 13, 2011 at 7:31 am

I use Mama Earth Organics! They are wonderful and while I know what you mean about repetition some weeks, unfortunately that’s more to do with our climate than their service. I get what you mean about living in the tropics though!
I also plant a garden which I am expanding this year!! SO excited. There are some great books you can pick up to help you with your planning, and I just picked one up which happened to be a Reader’s Digest ‘encyclopedia’-like folder of all plants, how to grow them, how to prune, etc. There are also a lot of really great resources online on how to start the garden, how to dig it up properly,to rotate the soil, and which plants to select for each environment…so much to learn about gardening. BUT, once you start you will LOVE the tranquility, peace, and pride of growing your own veggies and fruits.


Amy April 13, 2011 at 7:40 am

I belong to the world’s most awesome full-diet, year-round CSA– Essex Farm. For a great read on farming, love, and relationships with others and the world around us, read the book that describes in all– “The Dirty Life”– by Kristin Kimball. I love eating seasonally and can’t imagine ever going back to my “old” ways!


Trish April 13, 2011 at 7:43 am

We opted for a ‘cash crop’ instead of the CSA this year, for the reasons you stated above. This way we can just go and pick up whatever fruits and veggies we want, and not have to worry about money since we paid for it upfront. We’re also going to do a container garden (put the plants in containers/pots instead of the ground to avoid having to weed a garden!). I bought a starter pack at Home Depot that I’ll start inside and once it’s ok to transfer outside, they’ll go in pots. This is our first time, so who knows how it’ll go! Good luck!


Kathleen @ KatsHealthCorner April 13, 2011 at 8:04 am

We’ve planted a garden! We get a lot of ORGANIC Bell Peppers and Totamotes that way! It saves us a TON! :)


Sabrina @ Radioactive Runner April 13, 2011 at 8:14 am

I love going to our local market and buying local.. thats one of my favorite things about summer.. fresh produce and markets!


Ilana April 13, 2011 at 9:33 am

I live in New York City and don’t drive, so getting to local farms is unfortunately a difficulty for me. However, I try my hardest to get to the farmer’s market at least one a week to get local produce and support other local food businesses – there’s this incredible vegan bakery that ONLY sells their products at this market, so frequently I go and stock up on goodies. I’ve been looking into CSA membership, but right now the only ones local don’t deliver…but there are several new CSAs and co-ops being developed across the city right now, which I think is fantastic.


Amy April 13, 2011 at 10:01 am

Definitely try gardening! This year is my fourth year of gardening and I love it. Great food and great exercise. Win – win! My best tip is to start small. It’s very tempting to try to grow a bunch of different veggies, but large gardens require a lot of time to maintain. I tried to grow a monster garden last year and it made me really unhappy because I couldn’t keep up with the weeds and ended up losing a lot of my produce. So I’m back to basics this year. I have really good luck with lettuce and kale, radishes, tomatoes, zucchini, bush beans, and basil. The lettuce and kale alone are totally worth it. My kale actually survived the winter so I’m already enjoying kale right now!


Aundra April 13, 2011 at 10:07 am

Yay for local produce! We started a garden for the first time last year, buying seedlings from the farmer’s market and also from the local home and garden shop. This year, we’re trying to start the garden from seed. It’s quite the adventure, never having grown anything from seeds before!

Here’s what I’ve learned so far: it’s about a balance of heat, light and water. We purchased heat mats to place under the seeds, and that seems to help, especially since it’s still cold here (Maryland). Also, start small — you can continue to increase the size each year.

Best of luck! I think there’s nothing more rewarding than growing your own food!


Amber K April 13, 2011 at 10:33 am

My husband and I have thought about doing it repeatedly, but my lack of control over what I’d get is mostly what turns me off. I wouldn’t want to spend a bunch of money and then get things I can’t eat due to food intolerances or that I truly dislike. I think I’m just too picky!

Although I can’t wait until the farmer’s market opens! I have been waiting for weeks and it’s almost time!


Kristan April 13, 2011 at 12:44 pm

My husband and I plant a small garden at our local Community Garden. One of the best things to learn is canning and food saver machines. We still have food that we grew last summer in the freezer and can shelf. Be mindful of planting to many plants, because you could have way to much produce. Different plants should be planted at different times and harvested at different times.


Lina April 13, 2011 at 1:36 pm

We’re planning to go to one of our local farmer’s markets, there are many in our area, tons of orchards, it’s great.
I have a question for any one out there, I was rushing thru the grocery store a few days ago and instead of picking up kale for my Green monsters, i got two huge bags of mustard greens,!!! Does any body have any suggestions on how i can incorporate these to my green monsters? I made one today and it was SPICY!!! Very weird, but i drank it…I’m sure it’s still very healthy and nutritious, but the i can do without the spice, Help!!


Cassy April 13, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Just saw this article today…seems like it would be super helpful for starting your garden!


Susie April 13, 2011 at 9:08 pm

We actually run a CSA in Pennsylvania, be glad to offer any gardening advice needed!!


Liz April 14, 2011 at 7:55 am

You should check out Whole Circle Farms just north of Acton. They have a farm store that sells produce year round. We also did a CSA two years in a row and are moving to a plan like yours this year. Have fun with the garden! And the Georgetown market is great as well (and we have a Wed. night market too!).


Tanya April 14, 2011 at 9:15 am

We have a CSA that runs throughout the year. But you’re not required to purchase. You just show up when you want (they’re open 2 days a week) and you can buy the box for $25 or just buy some individual items, or both. I live in an apartment with a tiny patio, so I can only grow stuff in pots, if I want. But I’m always gone for one month in the middle of summer, so I can’t really grow anything at all! I used to grow tomatoes, which I love. Inside, I grow some lettuce and started growing kale. I’ve got a small pepper plant inside too (these are all in my Aerogardens). I’d love to go back to growing stuff in pots outside again, but I’m always gone at the wrong time. I’ll try when I get back, in the middle of summer. There are a few other farmer’s markets around too…..


Becki Kerr April 14, 2011 at 12:08 pm

Plant a garden! You will never regret it!! Start out small cause you can’t imagine how much work it is to weed, etc. but you’ll never regret being outside that much more! Tomatoes are the easiest thing to grow!! Really can’t mess them up unless bugs get a hold of them. Try different varieties too. Cherry tomatoes are the best! Nothing like eating a sun-ripened tomato out of the garden. :)


shannon April 14, 2011 at 11:17 pm

Gardening advice from a gardener who learned from her grandparents (aka the best gardeners ever)-

Gardening is a learning experience. Trial and error. Even the most experiences gardeners have failures and successes.

#1 and most important= don’t start too big! If you go crazy and plant too much you will not be able to take care for it all and then most of it will not do well. It is hard not to get carried away and buy all kinds of veggies because it all looks good and youlove to eat it all! Pick the basics that are your favs to eat to get started and then you can add more favs later- even as soon as the fall season for greens and other fall veggies. Start smaller and add every year. I try to grow something new every year that I have not grown before. This year I have added fennel, Bak Choy and Napa cabbage to my list. I laughed when I saw your fennel pic. :) As your expierence grows- so will your garden. Gardeners are notorious for expanding every year until they eventually use up every last bit of space available to them.

As your garden is established, it is easier to care for every year. The first couple of years it is more work to keep up (weeded etc) especially if you are planting in a location that previously grew grass. Grass never grows until you don’t want it to.

I ordered all my seed from Territorial Seed this year. I just like the company and they have a good selection of organic and heirloom seeds.

Also I am addicted to my subscriptions to Mother Earth News and Organic Gardening (I started reading OG in the 90’s). They are packed with helpful tips, info and advice. I can’t live without them!!

I just decided this year to add my garden adventure to my blog simply because it motivates me to get out in it more and take care of business if I know that people are watching me. (or something like that).

good luck. feel free to email me ?’s if I can help in any way. I may not know the answer but My Granny will….. I email her all the time. today was asking about my cabbage that bolted before it did anything productive. see failure. lol.


Angela (Oh She Glows) April 15, 2011 at 9:07 am

thank you SO MUCH!!!


saravixen April 15, 2011 at 11:57 am

My boyfriend and I are going to live together in three months, so we were looking for some CSA’s too… I was already wondering if there wouldn’t be too much of the same vegetables in it. So we’re going to grow our own veggies. I read some things about it on the internet and stumbled upon some good books (I would give you the titles, but they’re all in Dutch). But the internet is such a great resource, there are some ‘calenders’ where you can find what you have to plant when. My mom has a little veggiegarden and it’s just lovely to go out, look around, think ‘hmm, I feel like eating zucchini’ and just take a zucchini. Have fun with it!


Amy @ A Little Nosh April 15, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Our plan is to plant a garden, and supplement with the farmer’s market every Saturday.


Amiee April 16, 2011 at 1:23 pm

As an american who lives in the UK, I have always been impressed with the way the government here subsidizes vegetables over meat. It means our vegetables are a lot cheaper. I have a fantastic local farmer’s market that shows up on the main street twice a week, year round, and from there I can buy a shoulder-bruising bag of organic veg for about $5USD. Because this is so reasonable, I’ve never looked further into buying crated deliveries, although they do exist here. I know my milkman (yes, I have a real milk man, who leaves a pint every morning for us) does vegetable delivery, but his prices are higher than the market.

Anyway, what I really meant to say was that vegetable gardening is a lot easier than you think! I have a plot in our community gardens here and grew quite a bit of food last year, and I’m a novice! There are tons of books and websites to help you. Try growing potatoes – they’re pretty easy and they were SO MUCH FUN to harvest. They were probably the most rewarding crop I had.


Emily April 20, 2011 at 8:27 pm

I wanted to add an additional pro-CSA voice! Last year was our first year, and we LOVED it. The biggest thing for me is that a traditional CSA truly supports the farmer. You are paying them ahead of time, in full, because you want to vote with your dollars and support a local farm. Our farm last year was quite small and had a hailstorm wipe out their crops early in the season. Luckily it was early in the season and they could replant. We didn’t get any vegetables one week, which was inconvenient, but all I could think was how much more that setback would have impacted them without the CSA holders having provided money up front.

Unfortunately, our farm from last year isn’t doing a CSA this year. We went with a larger farm that gets good reviews from some friends I know. We chose a single share this year, and I’m a little nervous it won’t seem like enough food, but time will tell!

I agree the repetition can be intense, but I love eating what’s in season, and that means a little repetition. We supplement our CSA share with fruit from the farmer’s market (and tomatoes as necessary). I prefer a CSA over buying all our produce at a farmer’s market b/c the markets here are quite large and busy, and it’s challenging to talk to each farmer to learn about their farming methods. I can do adequate research on one farm and it’s much less overwhelming to pick up one box of veggies than to survey all the options at the farmer’s market. Now i can enjoy wandering the market, looking only for fruit, without the stress of making lots of decisions. (Am I the only one who gets overwhelmed by the options at farmer’s markets?)

All this to say—yay for CSAs!!!!


Vegan Radhika Sarohia February 14, 2013 at 2:41 am

Came upon this blog entry while searching for pasilla peppers on here because I’m obsessed with vegan stuffed pasilla peppers right now haha…anyway, interesting post and it reminds me that I totally have to check out Farmer Markets in Los Angeles. I’ve lived here almost my entire life (except college up at Berkeley) and I’ve never been to one, mostly cause I’m very lazy and always sleep in and they seem to go on during the morning, by and large. Gonna try and go to one, eventually, if can wake up in time and all


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