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Should You Buy Direct Online?

September 28, 2012

So perhaps you’ve decided buying direct is a way you can stock up, save money and empower your food choices. Perhaps you’ve looked over our 8 week challenge. Perhaps you’ve struck up conversations online about food with farmers on #foodchat or #foodD or perhaps you’re reading blogs of farms that interest you.

Should you buy online? Are there risks? Sure there are. There’s risks to everything! There’s a risk that you won’t get what you paid for. There’s a chance it will be different from buying at the store. There’s several things you can do, however, to help ease your nerves.

1. Talk to the farm. Most will ask questions about your expectations and, if honest, will try to meet them or tell you up front if they can’t.

2. Ask about not only how it’s grown but harvesting and processing. How many steps does it take between field and your table, and what are those steps? For those buying meat shares, for example, we’ll have delivery to a small processor to insure your meat is handled safely and packaged according to health and sanitary standards.

3. If you pay up front (many CSAs and Farm Shares require this), be sure to have in writing what it includes and any additional costs. For example, if you’re buying chickens or pigs are they dressed and processed – and are those fees included? If they aren’t, determine what the fees are.

4. Understand that it’s not like ordering from a store – sometimes tomatoes aren’t quite ready on June 15 when it says they should be. Sometimes heirlooms will have small splits or defects in it – otherwise edible and nothing wrong with it! Trim off the piece you don’t like and compost it.

5. Know your farmer – talk to them, not just when paying them and when picking up – touch bases in between. Some farms have a blog you can read or newsletter – you can get a feel for what’s happening and see your food being grown.

You can get some great deals that meet or beat grocery store prices, but there are differences. A big one is payment. For example, we have hogs first come first serve at $400 – that will be approximately a 260-275 pound hog that will yield about 180-200 pounds of pork. You’ll have processing fees on top of that – but still end up with about 180 pounds of pork for $3/pound or a little less. Compare that to the grocery store.

There are food choices – meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts and herbs and so much more! Buying direct helps communities and can bring new views into your family of where and how your food is produced, even if you can’t do it yourself.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 8, 2013 8:51 PM

    Reblogged this on DownTheBackRoad.

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