Wednesdays at the CSA: Those Perfect Biodynamic Grapes! They’re Ugly!

October 6th, 2010


Wednesdays are my favorite day of the week, because it’s “CSA Day.”  The day when I pick up our weekly share of biodynamic surprises. We get whatever the farmers were able to harvest, and the abundance and variety is just one of the many special parts of belonging to our CSA.

A special note about the grapes in our share made me realize I was in for a very special treat.

“The special treat this week is GRAPES! They are small, green, Thomson grapes and are the same ones that produce the raisins we have in the CSA.  Members from previous years will remember these grapes from last year at this time. We plan to offer them 3 times all together this year every other week, starting now.


What is special about these grapes? First, they are biodynamic and there is no other biodynamic farm in the country from which to get grapes. (only wineries). These grapes have no growth hormones, no shrinkage, no gibberillic acid which are used even on certified organic grapes and they are picked ripe and fresh to order. They should hold up a week or so refrigerated but
don’t take chances.”

Sure enough, they were out-of-this-world good, like so much of the food at the CSA. I still remember the first time I tried biodynamic produce – I felt like my pores and my bloodstream were literally opening up to receive the food.

I could have eaten them all myself, but being a “good Mother,” I wanted to make sure my boys got their share, so I dutifully gave up some of the grapes and packed them away in their school lunch.

When they returned home, I was disappointed to see that the grapes were largely untouched.

“I can’t eat them,” my 3-year-old told me. “They’re bad. They’re brown!”

It’s true…there were some brown spots.


“Honey,” I explained,  “God made those grapes. They weren’t made by a machine in a factory, so they’re not all going to be the same. Some will have spots, each one will be unique, because each one is a part of nature.”

He wasn’t buying it.

His verbal skills aren’t advanced enough to construct an argument about how the Chilean grapes I purchase at the supermarket are uniformly glossy, round, and perfectly red….while these are…imperfect (at least to the naked eye).


My eight-year-old joined the argument. Forget biodynamics. He was sticking to the “perfect” (albeit less tasty) market grapes.

Have you ever noticed that what appears ugly on the outside can be beautiful on the inside?  Not just a story of nursery rhymes or the human condition, but very much the story of real fruit and farm fresh veggies, straight from the garden – or the CSA.

Today was the last week we’ll be getting these amazing biodynamic grapes from the CSA.  My kids aren’t eating them. But at least I don’t have to share them with anyone other than my husband!

— Lynn

Organic Food Savings: How That Bag of Grapes Became More Expensive

July 20th, 2008


It happened to me so many times, I almost thought I was losing my mind. I’d see a large bag of grapes priced reasonably, and decide to buy some. But when I went through the check-out, invariably I would notice that my “good deal” didn’t seem so good. Sometimes I’d ask to verify the price and hesitate when I heard the reply. Yet when the clerk asked if I wanted to keep them, I’d invariably feel a bit embarrassed and say yes.

Those were back in the days before the stock market meltdown, rise in energy costs, and deflating of the housing bubble. With food prices among our largest recurring purchases, it pays to look a little more closely at what gets put in the shopping cart.

And as my alter ego – OrganicMania – I feel newly emboldened to do so.

So when I saw a bag of organic grapes labeled $3.99 per pound, I almost nabbed them, but then I decided to look more closely to see how much the bag actually weighed. Well, surprise, surprise – no weight label on the bag of grapes. It wasn’t until I put them on the scale that I saw the grapes weighed more than 3 pounds, meaning the bag wasn’t $3.99 – it was more than $12!


Since grapes are on the “Dirty Dozen” list of foods with the highest pesticide residue, they should be eaten in their organic form whenever possible. But for many families, that’s just impractical due to the high cost. So what can you eat instead of organic grapes? Well, as we’ve discussed here, at $2.99 per pound, organic strawberries are a good deal – even if they’re no longer cheaper than conventional strawberries, as they were until recently.

Organic plums are another good value. The Tenleytown DC Whole Foods has organic black plums on sale for $1.99 per pound, a savings of $1.00 per pound. Just how many plums do you get for a pound? As I live-tweeted here, depending on size, you’re looking at four to five organic plums for $1.99. A much better deal than those organic grapes!

Other deals this week? I live blogged about them from my mobile phone via Twitter. Check out my tweets here, here and here. And sign up here to follow OrganicMania on Twitter!

What did you see in the stores this week? Did you find these tips helpful? Please leave a comment and share! You’ll make my day!

— Lynn

Copyright 2008 OrganicMania