It's been a few years now that I've been talking about joining a CSA. As a typical East Coast liberal yuppie type, I read Omnivore's Dilemma, shook my head over the practices of the industrial farming complex, and promptly went about shopping for my food in exactly the same way I did before. Whole Foods is wonderful, but the place does nothing for my pocketbook except drain it. It was easier (and still is) to pop in a Giant for my bagged salad leaves and a pre-packaged lump of ground meat, and call it a day. Oh sure, I occasionally went to the farmers' market and ooh'ed and ahh'ed over the produce, while critically eyeing the price of it all and coming home with 2 apples. However, I never truly made the effort and commitment to local eating and supporting farmers with practices that treat the Earth and animals better.
It's about time I put my money where my mouth is (quite literally). This year, I joined a CSA and am splitting a full share with a friend. I started at the same place any young tech-savvy person would, and googled "CSA dc." This turned up some useful links to lists printed by the Washington Post every year of local CSAs, and the website, www.localharvest.org. Local Harvest is an excellent resource and I recommend it to anyone as a starting point when looking for a CSA. However, being of the Yelp generation, the reviews at Local Harvest were sorely lacking for me. There were few reviews, some of which were several years old, and there were no pictures. There was even a disconcerting review that appear to be about an extramarital affair and nothing to do with the CSA itself. Titillating, I'm sure, but hardly useful.
Of course, many of the CSAs have their own websites, which describe what they include in each box and what their harvest schedule is. Some even have pictures of their boxes! I could also call the CSA and inquire, but I am generally skeptical of that method. Not that I think they would lie to me, but that any business will sell itself in the best light. In the end, I decided to go with Lancaster Farm Fresh, not only because their price was affordable, but also because I found the most independent reviews of their CSA online, via other blogs and websites who also posted pictures of what they received in their box.
I am starting this website with the hope that I can provide a more comprehensive review of my CSA experience with Lancaster Farm Fresh, so that future CSA seekers will find the information useful. I am also hoping that I can expand upon it to include other people's experiences with their CSAs in the local DC area, so if you're a member of CSA, please send your pictures and your comments. I will give you complete credit and your own entry. I would love for this to be a database of information for everyone to share and use.
While I'm about this, I want to note that farmers and their crops are bound to the weather and other environmental conditions for their success. This highly affects what they're able to provide in their CSA boxes, and where I can, I will note this when I post a review. As with any reviews, mine or anyone else, please take it all with a grain of salt, understanding that different people have different expectations of things.
And with all that said, let us begin! My CSA does not begin delivery until mid May, but I will be posting (though not frequently) and describing my experience with their customer service in terms of communication with their customers in the time leading up to delivery.
I have a good feeling about Lancaster Farm Fresh. I'm excited, I hope you are too.