I’ve now being trying a CSA box for a month and thought I’ve had enough experience that I’m ready to share my initial thoughts with you. A month ago, I blogged about my reasons for doing this and whether a CSA box is worth it. If you didn’t spot that post, I encourage you to read that one before this one because it’ll let you know my motivation and expectations, since I don’t plan to repeat it all in this post.
Trying a CSA Box for the First Time
As I researched different types of CSA box to try, I found that there were some that were delivered to your door and others that needed to be picked up. Since one of the reasons I was trying this was to keep it convenient to eat healthy local foods, I decided to go for the delivery option. It cost $5 more, but it seemed a worthwhile amount to keep me on track. Otherwise, I’d risk losing motivation to go get it, and that would be the end of it.
The box was delivered right to my door, which was very convenient for me. It was delivered right smack in the middle of my chosen 3-hour window, which I also appreciated. I can’t stand waiting for a delivery, and this is the kind that can’t exactly be left outside until I get around to collecting it. I don’t want my food sitting outside going bad and getting covered in ants.
I’d been a bit concerned about how my box would do, sitting in someone’s car or truck throughout all the deliveries, but everything I got looked fresh and unaffected by the heat of the day.
One of the best parts of trying a CSA box is definitely the unboxing. I have a vague idea of what I’ll be getting, based on what the program’s website says. In fact, they describe everything on their Facebook page as the delivery/pickup windows open. However, I like to leave it a mystery so that I am surprised at everything I receive. Then, if I don’t know what something is, I can just check it on Facebook.
My first box contained:
- 3 medium-sized heads of buttercrisp lettuce
- 1 small radicchio
- 5 peaches
- 2 small broccoli crowns
- 1 orange
- 3 onions
- 2 red beets
- 1 golden beet
- 1 sweet potato
- 1 pint of blackberries
- 1 pint of blueberries
- 1 bunch of carrots
I was so excited! Trying a CSA box pretty much felt like kitchen Christmas!
Trying CSA Box Food Prep
Before trying the CSA box, I looked up some tips online to make sure I got the most out of it. One of the recommendations that stood out to me was to put away the food based on how quickly it would spoil. So, the berries and lettuce, for example, was in the front of the fridge, whereas the carrots were farther back because they would last longer.
The first few days had great salads and snacks, piled with greens, radicchio, berries and peach slices as well as grated carrot. The remaining days had a stir fry one day and roasted veggies the next two (leftovers!), made from the onions, beets, broccoli, carrots and sweet potato. These went with chicken and pork I’d purchased separately. They were delicious, and I absolutely ate more fruits and veggies on those days than I typically would! Even better, it didn’t take nearly as much time as I’d thought it would!
I chose the vegetarian box for my first month, but I’m going to switch to have eggs, chicken, pork, fish, and possibly beef added to my next month’s CSA boxes. I didn’t want to try that until I knew how fresh things would be upon delivery. Food poisoning isn’t my goal.
Will I Keep Getting a CSA Box?
Absolutely! As I said, I’m going to get the type with animal-based products in it. These also occasionally include butter and cheese, which is pretty cool. I chose the “light” version of those boxes because I don’t want to eat too much meat. I’m trying to aim for a few vegetarian meals per week, with some meat here and there to top up my iron levels and so on.
I was pleasantly surprised with my experience trying a CSA box for the first time. It went far better than I thought, and I hope it keeps up this way. I love that each box is a little bit or a lot different from the last, and I’m enjoying supporting local food growers while I eat better than I have in a long time!