Which are filled with this stuff ...
I'm on an ongoing quest to figure out how to best incorporate local produce into our lives. In a perfect world, I would go to the farmer's market every week and lovingly pick out perfect veggies. So far, that hasn't worked out for me. Mostly because I have a full time job and there are a whole lot of things I would rather do in my limited spare time, like sleep.
I tried a local CSA for a while (posted about it here). My pick up location was pretty conveniently close to my work IN THEORY, but I had to lug the box home on the bus every week, thus taking up an extra seat and spreading ants around, both of which earn you some well deserved glares during rush hour. Also, you get a box of mixed veggies and fruit and the fruit is frequently cantaloupes, which neither of us is overly enthused about. That is an understatement. I hate the smell of cantaloupe so much that I can't have it in the house.
Currently I'm trying a new provider that sources from a couple different local(ish) farms and delivers. Delivery is heaven. The box arrives before 6 am every Wednesday, so we can get stuff put away before leaving for work. They let you pick out the option that suits you best, so we get a veggie only box every week - no more melons. It's pricier ($31.50 per week) but our grocery store trips have gone way down. We buy cheese, bread, eggs, lentils, pasta and beer to supplement the box contents. We eat out less because there is a certain amount of pressure to get through all the veggies each week. So far, so good.
Once the box arrives, I wash everything off and then place it in our muslin veggie bags (purchased here, but you could make your own for less money). You can't see through them, so I also make a list of what we have and we refer to it when deciding on meals and cross stuff off as we use it. Having the list to work with makes our lives easier, because instead of "what should we eat tonight?" we're thinking "we have to eat an eggplant tonight, how shall we cook it?". So much more specific and helpful for the chronically indecisive.
I love the variety we get, but I have a sneaking suspicion that subscribers get the older produce. I know how long produce from our garden lasts in the fridge and these veggies go off MUCH more quickly. We're okay with it, because we're on the weekly plan so nothing is sticking around for too long anyway, but it's something to be aware of.
A CSA box can be great for people who prefer not to spend much time shopping for produce and are pretty flexible with their cooking and eating. Good standby options to use up leftover veggies - chop them up, coat them with a bit of olive oil and salt and roast them in the oven at 425 degrees until tender. Then you can store the roasted veggies in the fridge and toss them into omelets, quesadillas and lentil dishes (these lentils are awesome cooked with fresh tomatoes instead of canned and with the addition of some roasted eggplant and potatoes).