Balancing Act: Looking for Local, Affordable Produce, Part Two

LauriesPantryGranola.jpg
Laurie's Pantry
Granola from Laurie's Pantry is a recent optional addition to Farm Fresh shares.

Being a farmer isn't easy and it's easy to understand why being a member of a CSA can be expensive. Yet with all the supposed benefits of eating local, there's still no answer to the affordability issue and why a Big Mac is a more cost-effective way to fill a stomach than pricey heirloom tomatoes.

Teena's Pride CSA now allows for bi-weekly payments, but at one time asked for more than $1,000 up front for the season. With many people still pinching pennies and nothing but low wage work for many, it's worth asking how much longer this movement can keep steaming forward with little other than support from those who can afford it.

Read part one of Balancing Act.

Farm Fresh's produce comes from various Redlands farms, who in the summer provide candy-sweet lychees. Rullman said she also uses Central Florida outfit like Lady Moon Farms, which also has acreage in Pennsylvania.

"We'll take whatever we can from down here and we'll supplement it with eastern seaboard produce and move west from there," she said.

The main goal is to not source produce from outside the country.

"In the summer when can get apples from Argentina," she said, because the summer and winter months are opposite in the southern hemisphere, "but I just choose not to so there's a couple months when we don't have apples."

It's not that the 'real' CSA isn't worth the money, yet it's a poor option when it's the only option, besides farmer's markets, for getting local produce.

On top of its recent growth Farm Fresh in 2011 began using Farmigo. an online interface allowing members to set up, pause or discontinue deliveries.

Meanwhile, Rullman said she's began offering add-ons to bi-weekly shares, including loaves from North Miami's Grateful Bread, fruits and vegetables for juicing, locally made granola from South Beach's Laurie's Pantry.

At the moment the business is "slightly profitable."

"Over the summer we drafted a business plan and in order for us to take this to the next level we need an equity partner," Rullman said. "It would be nice to get a couple of trucks, little things like that that we haven't been able to do on our own."

For more follow Zach on Twitter @ZachIsWeird.

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