Skip navigation
Community: Exchange advice in the forums and read running commentary Resources: Personal running log, calculators, links and other tools for runners News: Running news from around the world Training: Articles and advice about fitness, race training and injury prevention Races/Results: Find upcoming races and past results Home: The Cool Running homepage
Cool Running homepage  Search Cool Running Community

4228 Views 19 Replies Latest reply: Feb 23, 2009 1:08 PM by mvalenti 1 2 Previous Next
JA Fleming Rookie 47 posts since
Nov 6, 2007
Currently Being Moderated

Apr 27, 2007 4:21 PM

Fresh and local produce?

OK, well I heard you should try to get what's available locally. Well the farmer's market here only has 2 produce stands w/ stuff that's shipped in just like the supermarket. And the CSA cost an arm and a leg (x3 more for produce) not there isn't much variety to it either this time of year.

Is it really that big a deal? Do I just suffer w/ the supermarket stuff until the real farmers start getting stuff in (June)?

  • Ariann092 Rookie 680 posts since
    Jan 4, 2005
    Currently Being Moderated
    1. Apr 27, 2007 4:31 PM (in response to JA Fleming)
    Re: Fresh and local produce?

    Why is your CSA so pricey?  Are there other CSA options?  Barring that, are there any actual farms nearby that might have their own farmstands?  The problem with eating locally for anybody any distance from the equator is that there are limited growing seasons.  What people used to do to deal with this (before refrigerated trucks, supermarkets, etc.) was canning - today you can add freezing to that.  If you can get tons of good stuff this summer, you'd be better off next year if you found a way to use long-term storage to preserve the summer yield.  My mother, for example, buys several flats of Jersey blueberries each summer and freezes them so she gets local blueberries all year round.  In this part of the country (NJ) where we also have great tomatoes, canning would be ideal.  Winter squashes, potatoes, onions, and garlic can be stored for a very long time if you have a good, dry, cool cellar.

  • Ariann092 Rookie 680 posts since
    Jan 4, 2005
    Currently Being Moderated
    2. Apr 27, 2007 4:35 PM (in response to JA Fleming)
    Re: Fresh and local produce?

    P.S. if you can't get really local, pick a reasonable radius and stick to it - like you'll only get produce from less than 250 miles away, rather than buying things from South America or across the country.

  • Coastwalker Legend 384 posts since
    Aug 14, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    3. Apr 27, 2007 4:50 PM (in response to JA Fleming)
    Re: Fresh and local produce?

    We joined a CSA for a year two years ago. Last year we opted to go to the local farmer's market instead - it was a lot closer, and we could choose what we wanted, and how much of it we wanted. This year, we'll go the farmer's market route again for the same reasons.

    However, the benefit of going either route is months and months worth of delicious local produce. The difference in the taste between something that was picked this morning, vs. something picked a week or two ago, before it had fully ripened, is amazing! Yes it is that big a deal! When the season finally ended and we went back to store-bought fruit and veggies, it was very disappointing. As Ariann suggested, this coming fall, we'll be putting a lot of fresh stuff up so we can enjoy it through most, if not all of next winter.

    Also, smaller local farmers are generally much more careful about how they handle their crops, so the risks of diseased produce (such as last year's spinach problem) are far less if you buy local.

    If you have an opportunity to get fresh local produce, whether from a CSA or farmer's market, DO IT!

    Jay

  • wkm99 Rookie 337 posts since
    Jun 30, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    4. Apr 28, 2007 12:12 PM (in response to JA Fleming)
    Re: Fresh and local produce?

    We have two places we go to for farm fresh shopping.  Our local farmer's market is in our small city once a week, on weekends and then a few cities over, there's another farmer's market once during mid-week.  The prices are cheap to reasonable and the taste of fresh produce can't be beat plus they have other food too such as meats, seafood, bakery goods, gourmet food, coffee, etc.  I make sure I bring a cooler for those perishables.  Another place we shop at is the swap meet and there's an entire row of just food items there.  The strawberries at both places are gorgeous, sweet and so good.    I buy strawberries at either of the places I mentioned above.  I also buy various veggies and whatever else looks good.  Samples are passed out to taste so there are times when I buy dips for veggies or garlic bagel chips, yum.  If I don't have time to go to those places, then we have a local high-end grocery store nearby and their produce is fresh but actually not expensive compared to the grocery store.  It's actually cheaper.

  • vhm1 Rookie 68 posts since
    Jul 23, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    5. Apr 28, 2007 12:32 PM (in response to JA Fleming)
    Re: Fresh and local produce?

    Even if you do not have a yard, you can easily grow your own produce.  Buy some inexpensive, large pots, and plant them with whatever you frequently eat.  I have 2 friends who are apartment dwellers who use 5 gallon buckets on their decks.  They each plant 1 or 2 tomato plants, a pepper or two, an eggplant, etc.  Plus its a lot cheaper than going to a farmers market.  When I go on vacation they come over and water my garden.  When they go on vacation, I do the same with their potted plants.

    ----



    "Every passion has its
    destiny." - Billy Mills, Olympic
    Gold Medalist, 10,000 meters,
    1964

  • wkm99 Rookie 337 posts since
    Jun 30, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    6. Apr 28, 2007 2:41 PM (in response to JA Fleming)
    Re: Fresh and local produce?

    quote:


    Originally posted by vhm1:

    Even if you do not have a yard, you can easily grow your own produce. Buy some inexpensive, large pots, and plant them with whatever you frequently eat. I have 2 friends who are apartment dwellers who use 5 gallon buckets on their decks. They each plant 1 or 2 tomato plants, a pepper or two, an eggplant, etc. Plus its a lot cheaper than going to a farmers market. When I go on vacation they come over and water my garden. When they go on vacation, I do the same with their potted plants.


     


    Good idea.  I want to do this someday when I have more time.  Between working full-time, raising a family and all of their extracurricular activities, my vegetable garden would die from neglect.  However, I do want to grow my own veggies and have fruit trees one day. 

  • Ariann092 Rookie 680 posts since
    Jan 4, 2005
    Currently Being Moderated
    7. Apr 28, 2007 4:57 PM (in response to JA Fleming)
    Re: Fresh and local produce?

    quote:


    Originally posted by wkm99:



    Good idea. I want to do this someday when I have more time. Between working full-time, raising a family and all of their extracurricular activities, my vegetable garden would die from neglect. However, I do want to grow my own veggies and have fruit trees one day. !http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/smile.gif|src=http://www.coolrunning.com/forums/smile.gif|border=0!


     



    As an aside, how easy is it to kill veggie plants?  I tend to kill everything plant that comes my way - sometimes by overwatering, sometimes by forgetting I have the plant and not watering at all, too much light, not enough light.  I seem to have a bad touch.  If vegetable plants are very hardy, I'd love to try.  Is it possible to get them to grow indoors in pots (I don't have a patio)?

  • merigayle Amateur 1,569 posts since
    Aug 15, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    8. Apr 29, 2007 6:14 AM (in response to JA Fleming)
    Re: Fresh and local produce?

    we have lots of farm stands around here, but how would i find a Coop around here? Is there a website listing?

  • HSunshine Rookie 186 posts since
    Sep 15, 2003
    Currently Being Moderated
    9. Apr 29, 2007 6:44 AM (in response to JA Fleming)
    Re: Fresh and local produce?

    quote:


    Originally posted by merigayle:

    we have lots of farm stands around here, but how would i find a Coop around here? Is there a website listing?


     



    There are a few search sites listed here:
    http://www.nal.usda.gov/afsic/pubs/csa/csa.shtml[/URL" target="_blank">

    I searched this one and they seemed to have a ton of entries
    http://www.localharvest.org/csa/[/URL" target="_blank">

    Every year DBF and I say we're gonna enroll in a CSA, but it never happens, mostly because the shares are too big for 2 people.  I just found one that has 1/2 shares (we don't have friends that would really use this, I think) so maybe we'll enroll in it!

  • Ariann092 Rookie 680 posts since
    Jan 4, 2005
    Currently Being Moderated
    11. Apr 29, 2007 1:44 PM (in response to JA Fleming)
    Re: Fresh and local produce?

    quote:


    Originally posted by Ice Cream:

    The local coop here is unbelievably expensive. I get bulk grains there, and that is it. Bulk grains are cheaper than anywhere else.


     



    A coop and a CSA are two entirely different things. If a co-op is expensive, they're either doing something really wrong or they're offering specialty items that are genuinely expensive and near impossible to get in a regular store (like pasture-raised meat, for example). The whole point of a co-op is that it saves money by buying in bulk and selling to a large group of people - the difference between a coop and a grocery store is that coop's are generally non-profit (saves you money) and utilize member volunteers (saves you money). Coops operate both in storefronts or out of people's homes (then it should be really cheap).

    A CSA pays a single small-scale farm for many months of produce.  CSAs support family farms which would otherwise perish because they don't have the bulk to sell to most supermarkets.  Paying up front keeps the farmer in business through the season.  From my math, all the CSAs around here are cheaper than buying grocery store stuff (if you get the same amount of produce), but it would make sense for them to be slightly more expensive because they don't have the economy of scale.

  • vhm1 Rookie 68 posts since
    Jul 23, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    12. Apr 29, 2007 7:48 PM (in response to JA Fleming)
    Re: Fresh and local produce?

    Vegetable plants need a lot of sunshine.   Tomatoes and peppers need at least 6 hours of full sun each day.  If you have front steps or a stoop, that is more than enough room for a couple of pots or buckets.

    As for water, if plants are in pots or large buckets, they need to be watered every day, or at the very least, every other day (assuming it hasn't rained that day).

    Tomatoes and peppers are very easy to grow. These days, you can buy tomato plants in 1 gallon containers at the store (they are so big they are practically flowering when you purchase them), and transplant them to a bigger container or bucket. Use a bagged compost; do NOT use potting soil (it will run out of nutrients within a month or so). If your plant starts to look yellow-ish or droopy, hit it with some miracle gro (foolproof & easy to mix; follow the directions). One tomato plant and one pepper plant would be enough for 1-2 people.

    ----



    "Every passion has its
    destiny." - Billy Mills, Olympic
    Gold Medalist, 10,000 meters,
    1964

  • YogaBug Rookie 99 posts since
    Jan 17, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    13. Apr 30, 2007 8:06 AM (in response to JA Fleming)
    Re: Fresh and local produce?

    Are you sure your CSA really costs an arm and a leg?  It's definitely a big up-front investment, but once you do the math by the week, it tends to work out.  We're only paying about $10 a week for way more produce than I would get at the grocery store for that price.  When melons are in season, we get specialty varieties that cost about 8 bucks a piece in the grocery store, plus the regular produce for the week.  I wish there was a coop near me, we'd probably use that as well.  I go the farmer's market sometimes, but it's known as the "yuppie market" around here because it's so expensive.

  • merigayle Amateur 1,569 posts since
    Aug 15, 2007
    Currently Being Moderated
    14. Apr 30, 2007 8:48 AM (in response to JA Fleming)
    Re: Fresh and local produce?

    I checked those links and most of the CSA's in our area wants minimum $750 for the season. Wowza. I am going to stick with the local produce stands/farm stands. It is dirt cheap and still staying local. We will also plant some veggies this year. We usually do toms, peppers, zuchinni, squash, and cukes.

1 2 Previous Next

More Like This

  • Retrieving data ...