A handful of companies nationwide have taken the community supported agriculture concept a step further and have begun offering home produce delivery subscriptions.
One of those is Farm Fresh to You, a CSA tied into Capay Organic, Capay, Calif.
I learned of Farm Fresh when one of its representatives recently knocked on my door wanting to sell me a produce subscription.
The service is designed for anybody who wants to eat fresh locally grown organic produce and seeks convenience, said Ernest Rodriguez, Sacramento regional sales manager.
Farm Fresh touts that the items are delivered within three days of harvest.
The family owned Capay Organic has about 450 acres in the Capay Valley north of Sacramento and an additional 150 acres in the Imperial Valley. It also works with several small organic producers to fill in items it doesn’t grow.
Farm Fresh began in Sacramento in 1992 and now serves the greater Sacramento region, San Francisco, San Jose; and Orange, Ventura, Los Angeles and San Diego counties, said Barbara Archer, public relations director.
Beginning in early September, Farm Fresh expanded into Modesto — about 90 miles south of Sacramento — where I live.
The Farm Fresh residential service differs from a typical CSA in that your box of produce is delivered directly to your doorstep. With most CSAs, the produce boxes are dropped at a central location, such as a senior center, and you have to go there to pick it up.
Archer said one of the founders — Kathleen Barsotti, a mother — wanted the convenience of home delivery, so Farm Fresh went that route from the start.
And unlike a typical CSA, where you get a box of whatever’s in season without a say, Farm Fresh allows you to go online and customize deliveries. You also can choose all fruits, all veggies, no cooking, office snacks and traditional CSA as well as delivery frequency.
Before signing up, I typically bought bananas and a few other produce items at a retail chain and picked up the remainder at the Saturday morning Modesto Certified Farmers Market.
For me, the market is part social, since I run into people I know, and part business, since I can talk to vendors about trends they’re seeing.
When I brought this up, Rodriguez said the delivery service is complementary.
“Even if customers do go to the farmers market, it’s a nice surprise to have a box of produce arrive on your doorstep,” Rodriguez said.My delivery day arrived and I walked out to find my box. Much like a kid at Christmas, I was excited to see what was inside.
The contents included 1 pound of Russian banana potatoes, one lime, an acorn squash, one pound of what I’d consider undersized sweet potatoes, a gala apple, an asian pear, a small bunch of nantes carrots and a small bag of black grapes.
After weighing the pros and cons, I decided to stop the subscription. For me, $26 for the small box was an expense I couldn’t justify, when I could buy several pounds more organic produce at the farmers market for the same price.
But I could see how produce home delivery might fit busy individuals or families that don’t have time to shop the various outlets but still want to include more fresh organic fruits and vegetables in their diets.
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