On Saturday afternoon I drove out to Crescent City to the nearest CSA farm. I was very impressed. The farm
is not certified organic, because of the cost of doing that. It is organic, though. They use compost and manure from their own animals as fertilizer. They have an irrigation system that recycles the water through the whole farm, including that in the fish tanks. (They grow tilapia.) They have a greenhouse where they start a lot of the produce, and they grow some things without soil at all – sort of hydroponically, I guess. They have goats (goat cheese in the future), chickens (meat and eggs), rabbits and hogs, and he does all the butchering and dressing himself.
The trip is about 50 minutes. It’s a pretty drive, mostly through farmland. I used a little less than a quarter tank of gas, so figuring about 3 gallons – the trip cost me $5.40 at current gas prices. I’ve already made that up. The farm’s red leaf lettuce is already in, and I came home with ¾ pound of it, all leaves – no stems, nothing that was non-edible. I think she cut off 5 or 6 heads. That much lettuce at the grocery store would be at least $10.00. She charged me $2.00. So even with the gas I used, I’ve already saved $2.60.
I didn’t have to pay anything in advance. I’ll go pick up my first bucket (that’s what they call it) in two weeks. That one will only cost $10.00, since not everything that they’ve started has come in yet. It will include at least several bunches of greens, 6 eggs, and 4 navel oranges. Once everything is producing well, the cost will be $18.00 – which I think is still quite a bargain for a week’s worth of organic produce. There is no way I could get that much for that price at the store, or even the farmers’ market.
I’m excited about this! I can’t wait to get my first bucket. I don’t have any recipes for greens – I’m going to have to find some online. I’m also looking forward to goat cheese – and tilapia!