Comparing Plan B Organic Farms with Cooper’s Farm CSA

After two seasons with Plan B Organic Farms, we've discovered a range of new recipes and learned that we can survive an invasion of beets. This winter, we decided to experiment with a different community-supported agriculture program. We chose Cooper's Farm because they offered delivery, which will be handy when it starts snowing.

Plan B Organic Farms has a depot a block away from our house, and offers a box of organic produce for $25 a week. Cooper's Farm offers delivery for $24.86 (including the delivery fee).

We received our first delivery from Cooper's Farm this morning, neatly packed in a box. In total, the produce weighed 10.19kg, for a cost of $2.44/kg. Here's the breakdown:

carrots1476g
cabbage3494g
onions1380g
potatoes1468g
sweet potatoes651g
tomatoes844g
turnips878g

In comparison, here's today's box from Plan B Organic Farms (total: 5.85kg, $4.27/kg):

lettuce355g
broccoli734g
cabbage1923g
tortillas270g
onions516g
acorn squash989g
blueberries170g
tomatoes393g
apples416g
garlic83g

During the fall season, we received an average of 6.57kg from Plan B Organic Farms (stdev = 1.12kg), composed of 11 different types of produce on average. The fall shares included some imported items (kiwi, avocado, etc.) to add variety.

Plan B Organic Farms produce was generally good, but occasionally of poor quality: squishy tomatoes, apples with soft spots, and so on. Still, it helped us get more vegetables into our diet, so it was worth it. Cooper's Farm CSA has been okay so far (except for one potato that we ended up chucking), although the produce required a lot more scrubbing.

It looks like Cooper's Farm CSA gives us more local produce for our buck, but with less variety. We'll see how the rest of it goes this season!

  • I’d be careful with your comparison methodology. Coopers box was over 50% root crops by weight which are generally low cost per pound items. Plus 35% of the weight was a single item – cabbage (also a low cost per pound item). Finally, a straight up $/pound doesn’t factor in the organic versus conventional difference. The simplest way to put the two boxes on an even comparison would be to compare each box to what you would have paid for the identical items purchased in the grocery store – similar to what you did for your overall season evaluation of the Plan B box.

    I don’t have a dog in this fight as I know both Coopers and the Plan B folks. I just want to make sure that the comparison metric puts both on an even footing. % discount compared to retail would be the easiest metric to evaluate the pricing of the plans. At least from where I’m standing.

  • Titus Sequeira

    Sacha, it is good to get better in the areas of good – Local and Organic is one such area. However, you do not accomplish when you create rift between the choices we have as “the alternatives to Box Stores”. If anything, you should argue how these are better than the likes of Loblaws, Longos, Whole Foods, Sobeys etc. It requires a collective encouragement from us to make folks at Plan B and Coopers to continue to great work of providing us with alternatives. Hope I make sense.