The following is an article I posted in 2007 about comparison shopping between being in a CSA and shopping for organic food at the supermarket. Because I didn't have time to do this in 2008, I dredged up the figures from the year before because the principles are the same. Our CSA structure changed for 2008 and we included delivery, so the reference to our CSA is out of date, but the gist of this info is basically the same. Check it out.
Good argument for LOCAL FOOD!!!!
New Moon Farm Comparison Shopping for Organic Produce
July 26, 2007
Recently, there was an article on Yahoo! Money (it is a series about how to manage your money) on how to save money on organic produce. Joining a CSA was one of the 5 ways mentioned. After reading the article, I decided to do a little research of my own. Since I rarely buy organic produce in supermarkets (definite perk of being an organic farmer), I took a trip around to my local groceries that stock organic produce to see what it was selling for there. Since I had some errands to run anyway this week over near the Walmart, Target and Bloom stores, I took a quick survey of their prices for what was received in our CSA share this week for a comparison. Keep in mind that NONE of the produce in the store survey was locally grown.
Here is what I found:
Two 4 inch long Zuchinni $3.99 (6 oz)
Two 6 inch long Slicing Cukes $3.99
3 small Tomatoes (Hothouse tomatoes, not homegrown heirlooms) $4.99 I weighed these with the plastic clamshell pkg included and it still weighed less 1 lb -- 12 ounces was the pkg wgt. The label said they were a product of Minnesota, go figure.
10 oz. pkg. Grape Tomatoes $3.49
2 Green Bell Peppers $4.99 (If you got the pack with a red and green one, the price was $5.99) Did not have Eggplant available
2 Med. Yellow Squash $3.99 (not quite 1#)
1 dry pt. Grape Tomatoes $3.49 (The dry pt weighed around 8-10 oz)
2 small Green Peppers $3.99
Did not have Tomatoes, Cukes or Eggplant
Harris Teeter was too far to go to and I don't have many other choices in this area.
Food Lion has some packaged organics on occasion but nothing fresh this week but then Bloom is Food Lion anyway. I went into Walmart but it scared me and I ran away....not really, but their organic produce choice was so limited and looked so bad, I just left the store without recording the price info.
Here is what our Tuesday CSA group received this week, priced using the previous supermarket prices:
24 ounces of Grape Tomatoes $8.28
Two cukes $3.99
3 lbs Heirloom Tomatoes $14.97
1.5 lb Squash/Zuchinni/Patties $5.99 (If I were to use the zuchinni price of $10+/lb i/o the yellow squash price of $3.99/lb, the value is $15 for 1.5# of squash)
1 Green Pepper $2.00
1 Italian Eggplant $2.99 (this is our price and the price at Diamond Organics)
1/2 lb Asian Eggplant $1.50 (ditto on this price)
CSA members paid $20 for this weekly share.
Total value for what they received, using supermarket prices: $39.72 sans 6% sales tax. (that adds $2.38 for a total of $42.10)
Our produce is grown under the exact same USDA standards for certified organic produce as ANY of the produce in stores. In fact, we generally grow ours over and above what is required. CSA member's produce was less than 24 hours from the field when they received it and didn't travel 3000 miles to get to you, so the nutritional value is probably double or triple what the store's produce would be. AND they saved $19.72 over what this produce would have cost at the store before any sales tax was added.