Best Austin CSA?
I'm looking to join a CSA and was wondering what the Austin Chowhounds say about the different farms. I'd also like to hear from anyone that gets greenlings delivery or any of the other veggie delivery services.
I'm a member of the Johnson's Backyard Garden CSA (http://www.johnsonsbackyardgarden.com...) and I love it. I got an immediate response when I called the farm (you have to call before noon) and the vegetables are fresh and beautiful. The site even has some storage tips and recipes in case you've never encountered any of the veggies you're given.
Thirding Johnson's. They only break for vacation twice a year and serve up veggies the rest. There are lean times around August when the summer heat is at its worst, but most of the time the boxes are bursting with produce.
They have a great newsletter and the farm does some open houses/potlucks during the year. Great way to meet the people producing your food and get a lay of the land, plus eat lots and lots of yummy dishes. They offer workshares as well if you would like to earn your veggies instead of paying for them.
we have moved over from Tecolate Farm which delivers during the summer to Johnson since they deliver year round. I enjoyed both of them and would have probably stayed with Tecolate if they had a longer deliver cycle. if you are looking for a summer delivery cycle Tecolate is very good.
although i don't really have any experience with the CSAs, i have a lot to say about greenlings.
i did it for a while, but there were a lot of wrinkles and i was just not willing to keep trying.
the local box is a great concept and a decent price point, given the individual prices of the same items.
however, i live in north austin and my delivery date was friday.
that meant we got the dregs of whatever was left...
at first i thought maybe it was just me, but i talked to 5 co-workers who live in the same area and we were a consensus.
my first order, i literally got less than half of the items that were listed for the local box, as most of the more interesting and/or perishable things were gone.
imagine my disappointment when i received a box of potatoes and onions, with just a few green things, compared to the very long list of local box assortment items that were published.
as a consolation, i told myself that at least i could keep all those onions and potatoes for a while.
sadly, they turned moldy after two weeks and got tossed.
it was absolutely impossible to plan any kind of recipes or meals until your box came, and even then, i would get such small amounts of most things that they were more for garnish than an entire entree or side dish.
there were also quite a few problems where things were subbed despite instructions for no subs (which is something they encourage, so you are not disappointed w/ subs), missing things, broken eggs, things that were not fresh/spoiled, and meat that did not match the description (i got something that was described as a cutlet, and it was cube steak. i would never buy meat with holes punched in it!).
also, once i started adding the artisan option, i learned that those items are not very well described.
there are a few things i can't eat for either preference or sensitivity reasons, and a few of the artisan items had them even though the description didn't mention it.
they were slow to fix things the first few times and i got really tired of talking about my concerns and chasing them for credits-- they even forgot to call me back a few times, and were not very good about returning emails.
don't get me wrong-- love the concept, love to support local business, and love the delivery option compared to having to drive to all these farms.
plus, they have a gluten free option, which is great.
as a single person, i need a smaller local box option compared to what they offer.
and as a consumer, i need more consistency and a higher level of service.
they just didn't have their act together enough for me.
one of the greenling people created farmhouse delivery, which is a similar concept, but i don't know enough about it to say more than that.
I was a member of Johnson and now Farmhouse, which I'm very happy with. I find both to be a step up from Greenling but unfortunately the same issues exist that you had dinaofdoom. For example, I receive more of some items that I did with other services but you are still only receiving a few of each. You should shop around as I'm pretty happy with my service.
i think i am kinda burnt out from greenling...
i wish there were smaller assortment options for us single people who want to cook with local produce!
and yes, i know that i could "share" a larger assortment, but i don't have anyone to do so with and it can be a real PITA.
so for now, it's back to the grocery store.