Sunday, December 31, 2017

Think I'll need to keep searching

For a good solution to regional eating, that is. I met the guy from the CSA-style program this morning and I left feeling, well, underwhelmed. I went all ready to sign up straightaway and now I don't think I will at all. I did appreciate that he was honest about the shortcomings of the program at least. Opinions welcome on this one.

Cost per month (with a commitment of a year, renewed every year for another full year): €130, which works out to €30 per week.

All of the produce comes from the same farm. Basically, the people in the association (about 180) get together and tell the farmer that they'll pay x amount of money. They also meet every six weeks (not mandatory but it sounded like most people do attend) to decide things like what's to be grown. From what I understood, the farmer who owns the farm also participates in those discussions, which makes sense. As well as "employing" that farmer, there are three other full-time farmers employed to work with him. The six-weekly meeting decided last year, for example, to increase the wages from €12 to €15 per hour, slightly higher than average for work on an organic farm apparently.

The place I would have gone to collect my stuff from is close to work. About 15 people also collect from there. It's basically just a cellar at the back of a communal/alternative student collective of some kind. And honestly, the building entrance was not very well kept and, well, kind of smelly.

Once a week someone from each depot drives to the farm to collect the stuff. I would also be expected to do that at least a few times a year (using a car-sharing car they could make available). Then everyone just brings their own bags to take their portion of stuff. This week, for example, one share was 1kg potatoes, 2 small pumpkins (each slightly bigger than a handful), 1kg onions and 500g black kale (which was totally infested with white cabbage moths).

You also get 1.5 litres raw milk every week but you have to provide your own bottles and they just fill them up. Then, every two weeks there is also meat or cheese. You more or less end up with about 1kg of meat and 300g of cheese per month, from what I understood. Various cuts, mince or salami/sausage (all beef). And finally, a loaf of bread every week, too. Oh, you can pay an extra 1.30 a month to get herbs, as well.

But while I would have assumed that a share looks very different in the summer/autumn peak season, apparently not all that much. They grow no tomoatoes, cucumbers or peppers (ok, no peppers or cucumbers wouldn't bother me). The only fruit seems to be gooseberries and blackcurrants, with a couple of litres of apple juice once or twice a year. So apart from salad, it seems like summer tends to be early potatoes, early carrots, leeks and, well, he wasn't sure what else. From photos on their website I can see beets and kohlrabi, too. And, of course, as they don't keep chickens, there are no eggs included either.

So, all in all, I'd probably end up buying a good bit on top of what I'd get from them. And given that I want to concentrate on eating to lose weight this year, such a big proportion of every week being potatoes and bread, even in summer, isn't ideal. Lots of thinking to do now.

1 comment:

Jennifer said...

Local co-ops here are not great either. Most are WAY too far - 30 plus miles and don't have much of what we eat. Unfortunately, I am super picky. So for now, we just are getting by and sometime get from neighbors with gardens or go to the farmer's market if we are already down there. We have a long term plan to grow our own - fruit, vegetables, herbs etc. So hopefully, we will be self-sufficient.

Sorry the co-op did not work. The best ones are from several farmers.