for our family of three, its much more cost effective than "gourmet" or "organic" grocery stores such as trader joes, whole foods, and moms. grass fed beef, free range chicken, and pastured pork can be upwards of $9.99/pound, we simply cannot afford that. when you are buying from a farmer you are cutting out the middle man. we save big in this area and pay about $3.50 per pound for our meat. on a whim we decided to order a pig this spring and I can't wait. it also provides good variety from our usual meat and chicken dinner options.
the biggest incentive for me is having more knowledge of where your food is coming from, what a farmers philosophy is, and the environment the animals are raised in. if you live in md/va and want a recommendation I cannot say enough good things about the farmer we order our meat from.
in terms of dairy and veggies, we have been very happy with south mountain but I am hoping with growing season just around the corner that I will be able to buy more from the farmers markets in our area instead of relying on our weekly delivery. it has been a great experience, but I really appreciate the direct interaction with the farmers themselves. also, this year we hope to grow more ourselves in our backyard. we had some success with tomatoes, jalapenos, and fresh herbs last year. for a great book on how to do that, the backyard homestead is a great resource.
not every week I can get what I need in our delivery, and when I do have to shop in the store, I often refer to this list to guide me in making decisions about what to buy. I find this list helpful when there are times when I do want to buy organic, but need to pinch pennies in our monthly food budget.
to find a local farm, csa, or farmers market in your area, this is a great search engine.
with all of this, here is the reality, not every family is in a season or has a desire to eat this way. take these thoughts with a grain of salt realizing, I am learning as I go too.