I'm on a strict budget according to my husband - or a tight leash if you ask me. Since beginning my quest for clean, local, organic food our grocery bill has blossomed considerably - not to mention the added expense of driving to all those farm stands and out of the way markets. I try to leverage this point in making my argument for a chicken coop - fresh eggs everyday for free! "Free?" he says. "I don't think so." After reviewing the costs of construction, buying the hens, feeding the hens, township permit fees and so on I'm beginning to realize why the farm fresh eggs I've been buying recently are $8 a dozen. No amount of health benefits balance out the increased grocery bill in his "numbers guy" mind. Even the gardens I'm planning on yielding bumper crops of fruits and vegetables this summer can carry a hefty price tag. Soil to fill the raised beds, plants to put in them, organic fertilizer etc etc. After all, Grandma Emily always said money doesn't grow on trees - and those chickens will not be laying golden eggs. So what is the cost of a healthy lifestyle? Do we save on doctor bills? Do our insurance premiums go down? How do I eat green and save green too?
Our local grocery chain has it's own line of organic produce and other products which is more expensive than the non-organic or generic brands but less than other organic brands. It helps, but not enough. I find some helpful tips in the book Wildly Affordable Organic - making a plan to eat organic, what to spend on and what to save on. Here we go again with another plan! My dry erase board is beginning to look like an air traffic control schedule. Researching CSA's brought another sticker shock - although fair enough when you spread it out over the whole season, still a good chunk to come up with right now - and the weekly take is usually way more food than we need for the three of us. What to do? Most CSA's are already sold out but maybe I can find a half-share out there....somewhere. Initially, I had no luck so instead I turned to deciding where I am going to source my plants for the vegetable garden. River Crest Farm in Milford, CT has always been my go to place for herb plants and heirloom tomatoes. My gentleman farmer brother even prefers their tomato plants over what he can get in Jersey - and that's nothing to sneeze at when considering that Jersey is famous for its tomatoes. A quick check of their website reveals that they also offer a CSA. I figure it can't hurt to ask at this point so I shoot off an email to the farm. Crossed fingers, toes, eyeballs and legs later I get a response that one of the farmer's close friends is looking to split a share with someone. They don't do half shares as they can't cut or split any of the food items (because that would be considered food processing) but some people buy a full share together and split it themselves. Perfect! I look forward to meeting my new CSA buddy - giving the bank a break before breaking the bank - and maybe making a new friend in the process.