CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Finding fresh, local produce doesn't have to mean a trip to the grocery store. From CSA programs to produce delivery, we'll tell you how it works, and what it costs.
It isn't hard to find fresh produce these days - but fresh, local, organic produce? Something called a CSA, or Community Supported Agriculture program, makes that easy to do at a number of Tri-State farms.
Turner Farm in Indian Hill has been around since the 1800's and an organic farm since the early 1990's. Workers here still use some of the methods used by Ohio farmers more than a century ago, like horse-drawn plows and planters.
Cathy Mattingly is a CSA member at the farm and said having access to just-harvested, organic produce changed the way she eats and lives.
"I used to be this person who was like, 'I'm only going to the grocery once a month, and I'm going to get frozen', and I would get all this stuff because I hated going to the grocery, and sort of I've gotten back into the pattern of what am I going to have tonight and tomorrow night," she said.
Here's how Turner Farm's CSA program works: You pay for either a full share, or a half share of produce. The full share, enough veggies and fruit for the average family of four, costs $850, and the half, which feeds two, costs $425. That works out to about $38 a week for the full share, over the 22-week summer growing season from May to October. You choose and pack your fresh produce every week. In May, that box will likely contain salad greens, radishes, and herbs. By August, it's corn, watermelon, cucumbers, tomatoes and much more.
And all of the produce at Turner Farm is organic.
"We don't apply chemical pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers," Crop Production Manager Abby Lundrigan said.
She said a CSA can save you money, and help expand your plate.
"We grow stuff like Kohlrabi, that a lot of our clients have never heard of, or things that aren't widely available in grocery stores," Lundrigan said.
Another option is a delivery service like Green Bean Delivery. Green Bean sources its produce from farms in the Midwest and elsewhere, and some, but not all of it, is certified organic. You build your box, with a minimum order of $20. You'll also pay a $4.99 delivery fee if that box is between $20-$34.99 worth of food, and $2.99 if it's between $35 and $64.99. Green Bean waives the fee on boxes over $65. Green Bean leaves the food packed in chilled, insulated bins right on your doorstep.
So how does this compare with grocery prices? Well, it depends what you buy, and how you eat it. Pull your receipts for the last month or so, and see your average weekly produce spending. Then, look at what a CSA or produce delivery service would cost. Some farms do allow you to work there for a certain number of hours to reduce the cost of your CSA share.
The trick is making sure you use up all of that fresh produce, so none of it goes to waste. A recent study found the average American wastes nearly a pound of food every day, with fruit and vegetables being the likeliest to end up in the trash.