Rewind, a few years ago I learned about CSA's through the blog Delightfully Tacky. Elizabeth introduced me to the concept while she was researching CSA's and considering signing up. Eventually she did, here's a post about her experience as a whole, but she also posted recipes and talked about how receiving local and seasonal ingredients she wouldn't necessarily buy at the store helped her grow and experiment with cooking! I love that!
Anyway, the idea behind the concept is that you purchase a share of a local farm and have produce or meat delivered on a regular basis in exchange for your funding and sometimes, depending on the program, a set number of hours of work at the farm.
There are a couple of CSA options in Edmonton and Alberta at large, but there were a few things that held me back from moving forward. Firstly, most CSA's require a yearly fee be paid in full which is a pretty large upfront number (although it works out to be a great deal over the year). The produce you receive is not always customizable, and Nick and I are a little picky about certain things (he doesn't like mushrooms and I don't like bell peppers). I don't drive, and many of our local CSA's have a pickup location instead of delivery. And lastly, Nick is not a manual labor kinda guy and the thought of working on a farm, even for one day a year, did not really agree with him, and I'm shy, so I wouldn't do it without him. All of these reasons coupled together meant I never pulled the trigger on joining a CSA.
Bring that to this week when I discovered Canadian company SPUD.ca that works with multiple local farms and other businesses all across Canada to put together a CSA- like delivery service. They not only have produce available, but pretty much everything you might need ever. Dairy, meat, pre-prepared meals, natural cleaning products, beauty products and home goods even baking supplies. All of it is natural and Canadian, most of it's organic, and much of it is local.
The Ethical Deal was $20 for $40 worth of produce (if you're in Vancouver the deal is $30 for $60), I purchased a customizable produce box (I chose customizable because of those preferences I mentioned previously) and I also added a frozen pizza, 'cause why not.
In our first box (after our preferences were adjusted - no grapefruit, no mushrooms, no peppers) we received:
- Sparta Apples
- Delicata Squash
Roasted Squash and Beet Salad by The Roasted Root.
Balsamic and Honey roasted Beets by Rock Recipes.
Parsnip and Pear Soup by Alexandra Cooks.
Crockpot Pear Butter by Tammilee Tips. Homemade spiced Pear Vodka by Boulder Locavore. Or a beautiful Pear Galette like this one on Martha Stewart's website.
For the north end of Edmonton packages are delivered on Thursdays weekly. Ours arrived around five PM so it didn't end up sitting outside long, which was good because it was hella cold! I was extremely impressed with the packaging. The frozen pizza was in a thermal bag with dry ice, and the veggies were in a different cardboard compartment. We got two stalks of celery and about ten small onions so I gave some of those to my sister.
Overall, I'm thrilled with our first experience with Spud, and I am incredibly excited to have them around. For a long time I've been wanting to use only natural, cruelty free products in our home and now I have a resource from which to find them. Walking into a drug store, I was never able to find cruelty free toothpaste of all things. Did you know most major brands test on animals? I'm so happy that this service takes a lot of the guess work out of buying, and I'll sleep better knowing our lifestyle is just a little greener.
If you want to sign up please consider using my referral link!