The Price of Good Produce

Ontario summers are pretty amazing. Warm weather allows us to grow some pretty amazing produce here, and although much of it is not up my alley (GMO, non-organic), organic farms are popping up everywhere these days and that is something I can get on board with.

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One of my favourite things to do is spend a bit of time on Saturday morning going to the farmer’s market. The stands are full of fresh, organic strawberries, greens, beans and more. The farmers are so friendly, and every time I approach a stand someone offers some help and a bit of information about the food they have to offer.

If you don’t have time in your schedule to visit the farmer’s market, there are also CSAs all around to join. You pay an up front fee to a farmer in the early spring and in exchange you receive a basket of fresh produce each week. Not only is it easier than heading out to the supermarket, most of these CSAs are through organic farms that use responsible farming methods to avoid nutrient depletion in the soil. Just try googling CSAs in your area, and I am sure a few will pop up.

There is a bit of risk involved, as if the crops don’t do well you may not receive as much food, but you will still be out the same money. That can go both ways, and a friend of mine was given a larger than usual amount of veggies in her last basket. Also, you need to remember to pick up your basket each week. Otherwise, you might as well be throwing your money away since you will have already paid for the basket you aren’t eating and still need to go get some vegetables from the store. Either that, or just live on Kraft Dinner and ramen.

If you are on a very strict budget and can’t afford the bigger upfront costs, then this may not be the option for you. In that case, if you have a bit of space in your backyard try growing some yourself. A former boyfriend of mine had an entire backyard full of lettuce, tomatoes, and much more. They grew their entire summer’s worth of veggies right in their backyard at a fraction of the cost and with the knowledge of exactly what methods were being used to grow them.

Sometimes I wish I had a regular 9-5, Monday through Friday desk job. But I get to spend my days before work going hiking through the trails, along the boardwalk at the beach, and reading in my backyard I think I can’t get much luckier than that!

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Comments

  1. Name Withheld says:

    What’s a CSA?

    • Community shared agriculture. You pay an up front fee to a farmer in the early spring and in exchange you receive a basket of fresh produce each week.

  2. I am currently in a CSA and I have to say I liked it but I don’t think I’ll do it again next year. I like salads but the first 5 weeks my shares were nothing but leafy greens. I have a strong feeling that I’m going to end on the same type of selection. The tomatoes were nice while they lasted though.

    • I see what you mean. The basket definitely requires some more flexibility with what you receive than picking veggies out yourself. Yum, fresh local tomatoes!

  3. some CSA’s offer a reduced cost to families who are struggling financially OR my CSA farm offers you the chance to pay a share for family in need. They pick up just like everyone else so no one knows who is getting the donated share……good all around.

  4. If I had to do it over again, I’d definitely take more pictures at farmers markets for the blog. I’m trying to organize a pick-yer-own day with some friends. Hopefully that turns into something good :)

    What is it about ramen that people don’t like? It’s broth, noodles, and vegetables, and sometimes the smallest bit of seafood or meat — simple, inexpensive, and reasonably healthy. Is it just too “exotic?”

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