CSAs of Yesteryear

19-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Thursday, July 9, 1914: Nothing doing.

Source: Vegetable Gardening (1914)
Source: Vegetable Gardening (1914)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

Since Grandma didn’t write much, I’m going to go off on a tangent. I was surprised to discover that some vegetables were marketed using a method similar to modern CSAs (community support agriculture) a hundred years ago.

H.B. Fullerton, of Long Island, has developed a package which he calls the home hamper. This is filled with a seasonable variety of vegetables and expressed directly to the consumer at stated times as may be agreed on.

This gives the customers the variety of vegetables they may desire and enables them to obtain them fresh. A cut of this hamper is shown in Fig. 58.  A certain priced hamper is usually agreed on for the season or for the year.

Vegetable Gardening (1914) by Samuel B. Green

30 thoughts on “CSAs of Yesteryear

    1. It’s fairly popular here. It’s where farmers sell shares of their vegetable/fruit production for the year–and people who buy a share get a box of produce each week.

  1. Looks a very fine hamper. There really is nothing new……people here are often surprised that I order groceries online but for me it’s just much the same as my grandmother used to do; she ordered everything by phone. And all her orders were delivered to her home. When my grandfather had his store, he always employed a delivery boy to deliver customers’ orders.

    1. Interesting. . . I never really thought before about the long tradition of food delivery. In some ways it’s just the means of ordering that has changed across the years.

      1. Yes, just the means! Perhaps one day we will get to the stage where our fridges or store cupboards will note when our supplies are low and send an order directly to the shop. :)

  2. Interesting how long that idea has been around. We signed up for a CSA for the first time this year. Needless to say, we are ‘eating our greens’ every day.

  3. I would order that hamper. My CSA delivered three heads of cabbage in one week, which was not quite the variety I had in mind. A body can take only so much cabbage, y’know?

    1. I also bet that he was successful. There probably were lots of people who appreciated fresh vegetables in Long Island. I wonder if he also distributed them in New York City.

  4. Hamper is a new concept for me, the small town city girl. We have tried to grow veggies here high on a foothill, but the bunnies have our number. Thank you for sharing, Sheryl.

  5. I am using a local CSA for the first time this year. So far, it has been great! I was surprised to see how this is, again, not so new! “There is nothing new under the sun!”

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