The Pacific Northwest is privy to achingly delicious cuisine, assembled from unparalleled regional ingredients. Given our fresh and flavorful bounty, it’s easy to understand why so many Northwesterners have an appreciation for programs aimed at supporting local agriculture.
For local foodies, there are a few different ways to engage with regional food producers. The most familiar of these options include farmers markets and CSA programs (community supported agriculture). Also known as farm shares, CSAs allow customers to purchase a percentage of a farm’s yield. As providers of farm fresh, organic produce, we are frequently mistaken for a CSA. While there are similarities between our business and CSAs, there are also distinct differences. Here’s a breakdown of what we have in common and how we differ.
Supporting local farmers.
Like Grocery Getter Organic, CSAs offer a direct platform for consumers to buy seasonal produce from local farmers. When you utilize Grocery Getter Organic’s services or sign up for a Portland CSA, you are directly supporting the work of these independent farmers.
Minimal farm-to-table times.
One of the major draws of eating locally is the reduction in farm-to-table time. More efficient delivery methods means your produce will spend less time travelling, in storage, or on display, allowing more time for produce to reach peak ripeness. As a result, locally-sourced produce can contain more flavor and have higher nutritional value than imported yields.
Introducing new produce varieties.
Another perk shared by Grocery Getter and CSA customers is the opportunity to try out new produce varieties. Both of these options provide organic fruits and vegetables local to the region, giving customers a chance to learn more about their surrounding environment. In addition, these new foods present adventurous cooks with the challenge of creating recipes and learning new cooking styles.
Degree of commitment.
One of the best reasons to participate in farm share programs is that your CSA serves as an investment in the farm. Many farms that participate in CSAs require payment upfront. This system allows farmers to ensure they have the capital to cover their costs during the season. The downside to this format is that is that it requires a year-long commitment from its participants. Grocery Getter Organic allows customers to make single orders or adjust their their delivery frequency to suit their needs.
Opportunities for customization with CSAs.
CSAs operate differently depending on the farm, but in most instances, there are limited ways to tailor your shares, as farms are limited to the produce they’ve harvested. At GGO, we understand our clients have diverse dietary restrictions and preferences, so we work with multiple vendors, allowing more expansive inventories to maximize customization.
Speculation and variety.
Being limited to the yield of a single farm comes with a higher amount of risk, as crop failure can mean less produce for the customer. While farmers strive to grow different varieties to alleviate some of the risk, there is no guarantee of the variety and amount of produce a CSA participant will receive. Working with multiple farms reduces the reliance on any particular farm’s crop. As a result, we benefit from a greater variety in our inventory. There is also less speculation, so we can ensure customers always get a plentiful delivery.
We’ll deliver straight to your door.
Most CSA operations are not optimized as a delivery service; therefore, the vast majority of these services rely on the participants’ ability to receive their delivery at a predetermined place and time. Grocery Getter Organic provides farm-fresh groceries to your doorstep, optimizing our routes to create as little environmental impact as possible.
Farm share programs and Grocery Getter Organic have their differences, but both services provide Pacific Northwesterners an opportunity to connect meaningfully with our rich ecosystem. For more on the similarities and contrasts, check out this helpful guide below.