Comparing the cost of our veg with other outlets

I’m always curious to know how the price of a veg share box from The Oak Tree Compares with other ways of buying veg. Indeed I did a comparison back in the hungry gap  which suggested that we’re doing quite well (much of the explanatory wording in this post is taken from that one…)

CSA Members busy at work on The Oak Tree

CSA Members busy at work on The Oak Tree

I should say straight away that being a member of The Oak Tree Farm is a very different experience to shopping at a large supermarket. To give you an idea:

  • Large supermarket: open 7 days a week/choose what you want/you just need cash/big range of produce all year round.
  • The Oak Tree: veg box harvested once a week/ultra fresh local veg/community of friendly people/commitment and work needed/only seasonal veg/parties and other social events thrown in.
Mid-harvest at The Oak Tree - there is still much more to add to the boxes!

Mid-harvest at The Oak Tree – there is still much more to add to the boxes!

…so it is daft, really, to compare the two. We are now in the feast of July, but curiously the discrepancy in price is similar to that in the hungry gap (link above).

Just so as you know… The Oak Tree is not certified organic, and here is why from our website, “All cultivation at The Oak Tree is done without artificial fertilisers, pesticides or other chemicals, and we use only natural non-chemical pest control and fertilisers. Organic certification costs around £500 per year and imposes considerable paperwork overhead, and would sometimes mean we need to transport things further and thus increase our carbon emissions.” But I dare to say our veg is inevitably fresher (we harvest everything except possibly root crops and squash, which are absolutely fine stored, on the day on which veg boxes are made available to members. So I am going to compare with organic produce from other suppliers.

Let’s go through this week’s veg share box step by step, and compare. I looked prices up online today – starting with Tescos, then scouring Riverford and Abel and Cole’s websites if Tescos didn’t offer a vegetable.

Organic cucumber £1 (Tesco)

Organic Beetroot = 1.75 * 400/450 = £1.55 (Tesco)

Organic French beans 400/225 * 1.60 = £2.84 (Tesco)

Organic courgettes £2 (Abel and Cole)

Organic bunch of carrots (weight not specified, but didn’t look bigger than ours) £2.55

Organic potatoes 50p (Tesco)

Organic tomatoes £3 (Tesco)

Organic Swiss chard £1 (Riverford)

Total equivalent price: £14.44 compared to our weekly price of £8. Not too bad, eh?
 

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Veg share box week this week

This week’s veg box is very much the feast of July…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

1 biggish cucucumber or 2 smaller ones

400g French beans (that’s quite a bit!)

500g potatoes

2 courgettes

300g tomatoes

400g beetroot (with leaves on)

500g carrots

150g Swiss chard

This is what went into the veg boxes on Monday. We may, as always, “wildcard in” other veg in place of any of these later in the week if supplies of one crop dwindle while another rises – that way we don’t waste anything

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Annual CSA Members’ Meeting

Thank you to all our lovely members who either joined the annual CSA Member’s meeting last Thursday evening or who sent in their comments to contribute to the meeting.

Oak Tree CSA Meeting, Thursday 3 July 2014

Oak Tree CSA Meeting, Thursday 3 July 2014

Here are the meeting minutes: The Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm CSA Members 2014 Annual Meeting

And Joanne’s presentation shown at the beginning of the meeting: The Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm CSA Members 2014 Annual Meeting Pres

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Flower and Veg share box week beginning 7th July 2014

Oak Tree flower share (you only get this is you've signed up for it)

Oak Tree flower share (you only get this is you’ve signed up for it)

Joanne’s on a factfinding mission into soil carbon and deep technical stuff for a couple of days. So I’m filling in and winging this with just a photo. Starting off with one of the flower shares  – you get this if you have signed up for it in advance.

I’ve just taken a photo of the box

Oak Tree Veg Box 7 July

Oak Tree Veg Box 7 July

whereas Wildlife Gadgetman showed how to do it properly with his photo of  last week’s box on Facebook. What can I say – you just can’t get the staff these days, but at least the flowers are nice ;)

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Summer Farm Party

Oak Tree Farm Party 5 July 2014We had the Oak Tree Summer Party of Saturday – it was a great event, with lots of lovely food, much of which was from Oak Tree produce. The Met office promised us rain, but it held off and thanks to the Sea Scouts’ marquee we were fine anyway.

Oak Tree Farm Party 5 July 2014

Dave and Kirsty setting out the food

Elene supplied the glitter for the girls to try out

Oak Tree Farm Party 5 July 2014

Oak Tree Farm Party 5 July 2014

Oak Tree Farm Party 5 July 2014

 

Oak Tree Farm Party 5 July 2014

Carrying on into the night around the fire

 

the cattle were a hit with the kids, with their fur golden in the setting sun

the cattle were a hit with the kids, with their fur golden in the setting sun

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A week in the life of a low carbon community farm…

It has been quite a week.

The first week when all our flower share members received a bunch of early summer flowers…

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and of course our handsome new boys Forrest and Gump arrived from the Calf at Foot Dairy

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and last, but not least, this little herd of Gloucester Old Spot fun arrived!

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Cattle arrive at The Oak Tree

We wanted to let you know that the cows have arrived! Forrest and Gump – arriving in the evening:

Cows arriving at the Oak Tree Farm

Forrest takes the lead

 

checking out the new grass

checking out the new grass

 

Cows arriving at the Oak Tree Farm

Gump drinking

Forrest is the dark one (very friendly) and Gump is the lighter one (rather shy).

and hello to you too, Gump

and hello to you too, Gump

They arrived yesterday evening from the wonderful Calf at Foot Dairy, and have settled in well. CSA members: feel free to say hello, but please remember that the fence around them is electric and hurts (a lot!) if touched

Cows arriving at the Oak Tree Farm

Cows arriving at the Oak Tree Farm

Cows arriving at the Oak Tree Farm

This cock standing up high and crowing - the cattle were getting too much attention in his view!

This cock standing up high and crowing – the cattle were getting too much attention in his view!

 

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Summer Solstice Working Party

Lovely weather on the longest day of the year for the working party

view across the beanfield

view across the beanfield

 

getting ready for planting out

getting ready for planting out

 

planting out

planting out

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Veg share box week beginning 16th June 2014

We are now officially out of the hungry gap!

16 June 2014

In this week’s veg box share:

  • 750 g broad beans
  • 500g beetroot OR 1 cucumber
  • 4 lettuces
  • 1 courgette
  • 200g French beans OR 300g Swiss chard
  • 300g carrots OR 500g new potatoes
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Veg share box week beginning 2nd June 2014

It’s the first box of the new CSA year which runs from 1st June 2014 to end May 2015!

2 June 2014

one courgette (they’ve only just started in the polytunnel – there will be more!)

2 lettuces

200g Swiss chard

200g spinach

600g broad beans

Spring cabbage or a jar of green tomato chutney

(there wasn’t enough of either for everyone)

We are now pulling out of the hungry gap and the veg box contents should get more generous as the weeks pass (so long as we keep on top of all the work!)

 

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